50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 (Part 4)

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  1. If you ever read Hardcore Troubadour: The Life & Near Death of Steve Earle and thought, damn, this book is good but I can’t help but wonder what the real story is – then wonder no more. Steve Earle, the man responsible for some excellent music and some equally excellent books (read what we had to say about his I’ll Never Get Out of this World Alive if you don’t believe us), has written a memoir: I Can’t Remember if We Said Goodbye. We’ll be at the front of the queue come next June.
  2. Anatomy of a Soldier by Harry Parker is Faber’s lead title for the spring and comes emblazoned with quotes such as this from Edna O’Brien: “This is a brilliant book, direct from the battle zone, where all the paraphernalia of slaughter is deployed to tell its particular and savage story.” The Amazon blurb reads:  A stunning debut — of patriotism, heroism, and profound humanism — that will immediately take its place on the short shelf of classics about men at war and what all that truly means.” We’re intrigued enough to dip a toe in the water…
  3. And speaking of water… Island Home is the latest Tim Winton memoir (you may remember Land’s Edge a wee while back). We’ve always got time for Tim Winton, even when the books themselves don’t live up to his best work (Eyrie, we’re looking at you).
  4. The author of seven novels, Louise Doughty is one of those writers who doesn’t seem to get much in the way of fanfare even as her books go on to sell lots and lots of copies and win lowkey prizes here and there. Her latest, Black Water, centres on the 1965 Indonesian massacres but takes place in Indonesia, the Netherlands and California, from the 1960s to the 1990s. It feels ambitious and we have to say our interest is piqued…
  5. “Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England, blending true noir and the the eerie, unforgettable books of Shirley Jackson and Flannery O’Connor, this mesmeric, terrifying, sublimely funny debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.” This is a short description of Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh. This strikes us as enough to warrant a place on the list of exciting 2016 debuts.
  6. Tracy Chevalier’s latest, At the Edge of the Orchard, is set once more in that olde-worlde America familiar to readers of her last book, The Last Runaway, and concerns an apple orchard, a husband and wife doing battle with frontier life and “a long battle”. Will this be Chevalier’s historical version of Revolutionary Road? Too soon to say but early word is positive.
  7. It may be that there have been too many Bolano reissues to genuinely thrill as much as those first post-2666 books did, but A Little Lumpen Novelita appears after what feels like a bit of a gap, and is apparently “tense with foreboding, with its jagged, propulsive short chapters beautifully translated by Natasha Wimmer.” It’s also being described as “a surprising, fractured fairy tale of taking control of one’s fate.” Tentatively, nervously, having been burned once or twice already, we’ll take a look…
  8. We know that our reviewer Daniel Carpenter will be up for getting his hands on this one (you can read what he had to say about the most recent Mieville book here). This Census Taker is a novella concerns “a remote house on a hilltop”, “a lonely boy [who] witnesses a profoundly traumatic event”, “an increasingly deranged parent” and a stranger who keeps “meticulous records”.
  9. Lover by Anne Raverat popped up on our radar after being compared to Jenny Offil’s Dept of Speculation. In terms of plot: “When Kate discovers emails from her husband Adam – aka ‘Prince Charming’ – to another woman, she takes a long look at her long marriage. And once she starts, she finds all kinds of things she had been doing her level best not to see.”
  10. Our final offering today comes from the pen of Helen Oyeyemi. What is Yours is Not Yours is a collection of intertwined short stories, which “span multiple times and landscapes as they tease boundaries between coexisting realities”, from the author of Boy, Snow, Bird. Given that we thought her last book was ‘a stonker’ (blame Fran for that one), we’re sure this one will be one to look forward to.

Look out for Part 5 of our 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2016 list tomorrow, which includes Don DeLillo, Daniel Clowes, Bryan & Mary Talbot and TC Boyle. Or you can reads Parts 1 and 2 and 3 instead. If you’re a glutton for punishment or something.


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