The Outsider by Stephen King – After the tepid response to King’s Bill Hodges crime trilogy, you’d expect us to be wary of him releasing yet another thriller, but The Outsider sounds promising. The main suspect in the horrific murder of a child has an airtight alibi, but all evidence points towards him. Can he be in two places at once? Knowing King, the answer is probably yes. A new King book is always something to get excited about, even if the book winds up being more Dreamcatcher than The Stand, so colour us interested.
Census by Jesse Ball – This is Granta’s big spring release. Written by Jesse Ball whom Granta named one of their Best Young American Writers earlier this year, Census is a novel about a father and son road trip, travelling from a town named A to a town called Z, and split into 26 chapters. His son requires constant care, and the novel is explicitly about Ball’s own relationship with his younger brother who has Down Syndrome. Ball’s own love of writing stems from time spent with his brother “Sometimes I’d read. There was the humming of machines, his ventilator. He couldn’t really communicate very much, but he could smile, demonstrate emotion,” he told Chicago Magazine.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado – Critically lauded, this debut collection of weird horror fiction harks back to Kelly Link, Angela Carter, and Karen Russell. Machado’s book has been longlisted for the National Book Award, and was a finalist for one of the world’s most valuable literary prizes, The Kirkus Prize, who described the book as, “An exceptional and pungently inventive first book.” The centrepiece apparently is a novella length adaptation of all 12 seasons of Law and Order.
A Selfie as Big as the Ritz by Lara Williams = We’re cheating here somewhat, as Lara Williams’ debut collection has already been released in the UK. Over in the states, Treats has been retitled and released as A Selfie as Big as the Ritz. However, no matter the title or cover, inside will still be the same scathing, pithy stories about the modern age, and the same story about owning a cat that had everyone on the train look at me funny. A proper gem.
The Hoarder by Jess Kidd – A gothic mystery drenched in caustic wit, The Hoarder promises to be the winking cousin of Du Maurier that you didn’t know you needed. Jess Kidd’s debut novel Himself was a Radio 2 Book Club Choice, and she won the Costa Short Story Prize in 2016 and The Hoarder, about a carer/psychic uncovering secrets inside a stately home, sounds terrific.
The Adulterants by Joe Dunthorne – Joe Dunthorne’s previous two novels, Submarine and Wild Abandon, were two of the finest comedic novels of the past decade. The Adulterants promises to be a state of the nation novel, filtered through Dunthorne’s finely honed skills, focussing on a tech journalist trying to cling on to youth, when he absolutely should not be doing so.
The Risen by Ron Rash – Ron Rash’s 2016 novel about two brothers, their relationship in tatters after the events of a long ago summer, finally reaches paperback in 2018. Rash’s fiction recalls the best of writers such as Annie Proulx; all rugged landscapes and dark pasts, and his books are always worth delving into.
Don’t Skip Out on Me by Willy Vlautin – Willy Vlautin has done no wrong. The songs he has written and performed with Richmond Fontaine are universally perfect, and all of his novels are exceptional. His ongoing series of novels deconstructing American men, and the working class continues with Don’t Skip Out on Me, about a ranch hand turned boxer. It is absolutely one of our most anticipated reads of the year.
Frankenstein in Bagdhad by Ahmed Sadaawi – One wouldn’t normally consider Baghdad in 2005 to be the setting for a gothic novel, but Ahmed Sadaawi’s twist on Mary Shelley’s classic novel works in unexpected ways. Taking the original source material as inspiration, the novel follows Hadi al-Attag who assembles his creation from the scattered remains of bombing victims. Once the creature comes to life, it begins taking its revenge on those behind the bombings. Sadaawi is the first Iraqi in history to win the IPAF (the Arabic equivalent of the Booker) and if the description of the novel above doesn’t make you want to immediately read it, then there’s no hope for you.
There There by Tommy Orange – A debut novel from Native American Tommy Orange, There There looks to be the kind of Great American novel that publishers wish for. Poet Sherman Alexie described being sent the book to read, “When Tommy Orange first sent me a chapter of his novel, There There, I read it and marvelled. I then read it aloud to my wife. And then I emailed and called my closest writer friends. I said, ‘It’s here. That book I’ve been waiting for. It has arrived.’” This could be the breakout debut of 2018.
Brought to you by Daniel Carpenter
Tomorrow: our fifth and final part of this year’s Books We’re Looking Forward To… with new titles from the likes of Bryan Catling, Haruki Murakami, David Peace and Alan Moore…