50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2017 (Part 1)

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  1. So. We all know that with Familiar J Robert Lennon wrote one of – if not the – best books of his career so far. Broken River is set to be his next and hopes are high, especially as it sounds a little bit like his take on The Amityville Horror (all you need to know is: atrocity takes place in a house, years pass, new troubled family moves in, “gradually awakening narrative conscience” asserts itself…). We. Are. Very. Excited. About. This. One.
  2. Heinz Helle does not yet have the pedigree of your man J Robert Lennon but we did like his debut Superabundance a lot a lot a lot. A good debut hooks your brain like a fish on a hook and means that we look forward to his second, Euphoria (which concerns a group of men in their thirties, somewhere in the Austrian Alps, who have gathered for a weekend away, only to find, when they come down from their cabin, the world has ended”), with a certain amount of trepidation and giddiness.
  3. We’ve been waiting for a Paul Auster novel of more than 500 pages in length for the better part of 20 years and 2017 gifts us with a Paul Auster novel that is not 500 pages, not 600 pages, not 700 pages but – blimey O’Reilly – a whopping 800 plus pages. 4321 may sound a little bit Kate Atkinson (fictional character’s life takes four simultaneous and independent paths) but by golly we are champing at the bit to get our hands on a copy…
  4. The Park Bench by Chaboute (whose most recent work was a graphic adaptation of Moby Dick) is the first of several graphic novels on our list but it may be the most beautiful. It’s the story of a park bench (obvs) and the many lives whose bottoms it supports. It’s also being published by Faber and Faber which remains a badge of quality.
  5. So first we had The Wake, one of those sit up and slap you in the face debuts that has everyone clucking (and earns a place on the Booker longlist that year, won the Gordon Burn Prize etc). Then we had Beast which blew our proverbial socks off this year. And now in 2017 we are going to get Paul Kingsnorth’s first foray into nonfiction with the self-explanatory, Confessions of a Recovering Environmentalist. We want.
  6. Someone else ploughing their own particular furrow is Scarlett Thomas and she returns with Dragon’s Green, which as you can see from the cover looks all standard fantasy-like and comes subtitled with: Worldquake Sequence Book 1. So I think we can say it’s a little bit of something new for Scarlett Thomas who says, “I’m really delighted to be publishing my first children’s book. I started writing it in secret, never thinking it would see the light of day. But soon it turned into the most fun and compelling project I have ever worked on. I was really nervous when I first showed it to Canongate. Luckily, they loved the world of Dragon’s Green as much as I did.”
  7. All you need to know about Virgin and Other Stories, a collection of Granta published short stories by April Ayers Lawson (if the fact that it’s short stories published by Granta isn’t enough for you) is that when it came out in the US, it was one of New York Magazine’s ’45 books to read this Fall’, one of The Millions ‘Most Anticipated’, one of the Huffington Post’s 20 New Books You’ll Need for Your Shelf…”. You get the picture.
  8. It’s highly likely that you’ve already checked out Oliver Langmead’s last book, the 200 page “science poem” that was Dark Star (and if you did you probably liked it as much as our Daniel did). Superficially, Metronome sounds a little more conventional. It concerns an elderly musician called William Manderlay, eking out his final days in a rest home, suffering bad dreams, as we all do. Ah but then here are the sleepwalkers, the creatures who guard the transition between waking and dreaming. One of them has gone rogue and only Manderlay can stop her… Where do we sign up?
  9. Moonglow is set to be the latest book we get from Kavalier and Clay GOD Michael Chabon. Here’s he blurb:  “The deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as my grandfather. It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact and the creative power of keeping secrets and telling lies.”
  10. And finally for our first set of 10, we have a newbie from your man Jonathan Lethem. A Gambler’s Anatomy has been greeted with terrific reviews on the other side of the pond and that is enough to whet our appetite for a good time. The last Lethem fiction we loved was Chronic City (although we thought The Ecstasy of Influence was pretty damn great too) but this tale of a psychic international backgammon player sounds a treat…

Join us again tomorrow for new books from the likes of  Neil Gaiman, Claire Fuller, Haruki Murakami and Otessa Moshfegh…

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