50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2017 (Part 4)

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  1. The latest in the Hogarth Shakespeare series sees Tracy Chevalier try her hand at Othello in the shape of New Boy: “transposed to a 1970s suburban Washington schoolyard, where kids fall in and out of love with each other before lunchtime, and practice a casual racism picked up from their parents and teachers”, let’s just hope we like it more than Hag-Seed
  2. Annalee McAfee’s epic second novel Hame unravels “In the wake of the breakdown of her relationship, [when] Mhairi McPhail dismantles her life in New York and moves with her 9-year-old daughter, Agnes, to the remote Scottish island of Fascaray. Mhairi has been commissioned to write a biography of the late Bard of Fascaray, Grigor McWatt, a cantankerous poet with an international reputation.”
  3. Highly anticipated is not the word when it comes to the long-gestated debut novel from the mighty so mighty we have to say mighty three times George Saunders. Lincoln in the Bardo concerns the soul of Abraham Lincoln’s dead son Willy and one impossible night during which “ghosts mingle, squabble, gripe and commiserate, and stony tendrils creep towards the boy…” This sounds wild to us.
  4. We love love loved Alison Macleod’s last book, Unexploded, and we expect to feel the same way (only perhaps more so) about her newbie, All the Beloved Ghosts. What do we know? It’s a collection of short stories for one thing (and you know how we like those). Here’s a wee glimpse: “In 1920s Nova Scotia, as winter begins to thaw, a woman wears a new fur coat to a dance that will change everything. A teenager searches for his lover on a charged summer evening in 2011, as around him London erupts in anger. A cardiac specialist lingers on the cusp of consciousness as he awaits a new heart – and is transported into the past. And at Charleston, Angelica Garnett, child of the Bloomsbury Group, is overcome by all the beloved ghosts that spring to life before her eyes.”
  5. Ah Magnus Mills how we love thee. Let us count the ways. Alright we don’t have to count the ways (we’d be here all week). Instead let’s wax lyrical about his new novel, The Forensic Records Society, which concerns “Two men with a passion for vinyl create a society for the appreciation of records… However, as the club gains popularity, its founder’s uncompromising dogma results in a schism within the movement and soon a counter group forms. Then the arrival of a young woman called Alice further fractures the unity of the vulnerable society.” New Mills makes our mouths water.
  6. We’ve been raving about Jon McGregor for quite a while now. You can see it in our review of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things. You can see it in our review of Even the Dogs. You can see it in our review of This Isn’t The Sort of Thing That Happens to Someone Like You. We kind of expect to be raving about Reservoir 13 too, the story of a missing girl, the community she leaves behind, the passing of the seasons… We’ve already got half a foot in the book…
  7. Kingdom of Olives and Ash ed. by Michael Chabon & Ayelet Waldron: “Published to coincide the with 50th anniversary of the Israel occupation of the West Bank, an anthology that explores the human cost of the conflict there as witnessed by such notable writers as Colum McCann, Colm Toibin, Dave Eggers, Madeleine Thien, Eimear McBride, Taiye Selasi and editors Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman.” Nuff said.
  8. The blurb for Borne, the new book from Jeff Vandermeer absolutely does the job: “In a ruined, nameless city of the future, Rachel makes her living as a scavenger. She finds a creature she names Borne entangled in the fur of Mord, a gigantic despotic bear that once prowled the corridors of a biotech firm, the Company, until he was experimented on, grew large, learned to fly, and broke free. Made insane by the company’s torture of him, Mord terrorises the city even as he provides sustenance for scavengers…”
  9. Chibundu Onuzo’s first novel, The Spider King’s Daughter, won a Betty Trask Award, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize and the Commonwealth Book Prize, and was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and the Etisalat Prize for Literature. Her second book, which concerns “army officer Chike Ameobi [who] is ordered to kill innocent civilians, [and] knows that it is time to leave. As he travels towards Lagos, he becomes the leader of a new platoon, a band of runaways who share his desire for a better life…” We think her second book might win her a clutch more awards too…
  10. Fatal Tree sees Jake Arnott ploughs a more historical furrow than previously, taking us to London in 1720 and telling the tale of “Jonathan Wild, self-styled ‘Thief-taker General’ who purports to keep the peace while brutally controlling organised crime. Only two people truly defy him: Jack Sheppard, apprentice turned house-breaker, and his lover, the notorious whore and pickpocket Edgworth Bess…” We’ve always got time for Jake Arnott and if this is even half as good as The House of Rumour, a good time will be had by all.

 

Join us tomorrow for our fifth and final slice of 50 Books We’re Looking Forward to in 2017, which means CJ Box, Monique Roffey, TC Boyle and Jillian Tamaki among others…


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