Will the next book from The Girl on the Train writer Paula Hawkins be the hottest read of 2017 in Suffolk?
- Credit: PA
Who doesn’t savour the anticipation when you know a book you’d like is about to come out? Try these, suggests Steven Russell
Into the Water, May - Expect a massive hullabaloo as late spring approaches. Paula Hawkins wrote The Girl on the Train, which was a major success both as a novel and then as a film last year.
Into the Water is bound to grip us in much the same way, with the author’s editor calling it a “menacing, moving, deeply satisfying” read. It features two sisters and is described as “an addictive novel of psychological suspense about the slipperiness of the truth, and a family drowning in secrets”.
Another one, then, to read only in the cold light of day. It’s due out in very early May.
4 3 2 1, by Paul Auster, Faber & Faber, February - There’s something that was meant to be about American writer Paul Auster’s first novel in seven years. He was first published by Faber & Faber in 1987 (The New York Trilogy) and will be again in February – the month he turns 70.
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Coming from the author of Sunset Park and The Brooklyn Follies is the oddly-titled 4 3 2 1. The story is about Archibald Isaac Ferguson, born in a New Jersey maternity ward early in 1947.
And then: his life takes four parallel but separate fictional paths. Four Fergusons: made of the same genetic material but leading different lives.
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Sirens, by Joseph Knox, Doubleday, January - Well, here’s a thing. Joseph Knox, Waterstones’ crime and thriller buyer, finds himself on the other side of the desk after securing a deal for a series of crime novels he’s written. Apparently, 10 prospective publishers were involved in an auction for his signature.
The first story introduces disgraced young detective Aidan Waits, who’s been caught stealing seized drugs and is then coerced into going undercover. His first key tasking is finding the runaway daughter of an MP, a job that has him dealing with the murky worlds of drug barons, politicians and the police.
Knox has said the genesis of the book lay in night-time walks around Manchester and discovering a side to the city he didn’t know.
Norse Mythology, by Neil Gaiman, Bloomsbury, February - Is Gaiman as mighty as the Norse gods? It seems that way. The man who grew up in libraries has written for Dr Who and scooped a long, long list of awards for this work for both children and adults, including the Carnegie and Newbery Medals for The Graveyard Book. Amazing to think his first title was a biography of Duran Duran…
Norse mythology inspires much of Gaiman’s writing, as well as the imaginative output of Marvel Comics and Game of Thrones, among others. In his new book, he goers back to the original source stories to retell the great Norse tales.
The publisher reckons this “crackling, brilliant writing demands to be read aloud around an open fire on a freezing, starlit night”. Could have done with it this week, really…
Birdcage Walk, by Helen Dunmore, Hutchinson, March - Intrigue, secrets and peril are Helen Dunmore’s stock in trade, and there’s plenty of the same in her new offering. The tense Birdcage Walk is set in 1792, with Europe gripped by political turmoil and violence. The events of the French Revolution are watched from afar by idealist Lizzie Fawkes, who has grown up in radical circles.
She’s the newish bride of property developer John Diner Tredevant, who has invested heavily in Bristol’s housing boom. The last thing he needs is the creeping across the English Channel of social upheaval or the prospect of war.
But, soon, his dream of a magnificent terrace above a 200ft gorge come under threat. His wife’s independent and questioning spirit is a natural scapegoat that, in his eyes, has to be quelled.
Carnivalesque, by Neil Jordan, Bloomsbury Circus, February - Like Neil Gaiman, this Neil is powered by a vivid and often dark imagination that (as befits a film-maker) is also very “visual”.
Carnivalesque takes us to a carnival that’s got its circus performers and creaky rollercoaster, but there’s very much more than that among its own little backstreets, alleyways of hanging bulbs and Punch and Judy booths.
Young Andy comes across Burleigh’s Amazing Hall of Mirror. He goes in, and finds himself trapped inside the glass… while one of his reflections leaves to go back home to suburbia with his parents and live the life Andy was meant to have.
House of Names, by Colm Toibin, Viking, May - From the writer of book-turned-film Brooklyn comes a tough tale of longing and betrayal – the kind of thing Toibin does best.
On the day of his daughter’s nuptials, Agamemnon orders her sacrifice. And then he leads his army into battle, and wins.
He comes home three years later to find his murderous decision about his daughter has set his family on a violent trajectory. His wife is after his blood and his son is sent into exile and jeopardy.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies, by John Boyne, Doubleday, February - It’s from the writer of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.
We probably don’t need to read much more than the synopsis to know it will be a good one.
It says: “Long before we discovered he had fathered two children by two different women, Father James Monroe stood on the altar of the Church of Our Lady, Star of the Sea, in the parish of Goleen, West Cork, and denounced my mother as a whore…”
In the Name of the Family, by Sarah Dunant, Little, Brown, March - More churchy malpractice, this time from cultural commentator Dunant.
She deposits us in 1502. Renaissance Italy is in turmoil. Cesare Borgia, buoyed by the money and power of his father – who happened to be Pope Alexander VI – he’s carving out a state for his dynasty. Enter, from Florence, a young diplomat sent to shadow Borgia and watch for trouble.
Dunant dramatises the rise of one of history’s most intruiging characters – Niccolo Machiavelli, that young diplomat – during the formative years of his life and breathes fresh life on a family whose name is a byword for corruption.
The Thirst, by Jo Nesbo and Don Bartlett, Harvill Secker, April
A new Harry Hole thriller from the man who graduated from the Norwegian School of Economics and is the lead singer and songwriter for Norwegian rock band di Derre. But we know Jo Nesbo better as a bestselling Scandinavian crime writer.
Two decades after the first Harry Hole crime novel was published in Norway comes The Thirst. A woman is found murdered after an internet date. The marks left on her body show the police they are dealing with a particularly vicious killer. Under pressure to get a result, they realise there’s only one man who can help – they need a reluctant Hole to return.
He does – and begins to suspect there’s a connection between this death and his single failed case.
A memoir from Andy Murray’s mum and the biography of spymaster “M” are on the list of Mary James, who owns The Aldeburgh Bookshop with husband John.
Here’s her list of non-fiction titles well worth checking out.
Theft by Finding, by David Sedaris, LittleBrown, June, £18.99
One of the funniest writers alive, David Sedaris has been keeping a diary for nearly four decades, now open to readers for the first time. Any new Sedaris is something to look forward to.
How the Hell did this Happen? by PJ O’Rourke, Atlantic, March, £12.99
American satirist and journalist PJ O’Rourke examines the US election of 2016. We will know more about what we are dealing with after the inauguration in January.
Molly Keane, a Life, by Sally Phipps, LittleBrown, January, £20
A biography of this complex Anglo-Irish author by her daughter. Good Behaviour is one of the most poignant classic novels.
Knowing the Score (provisional title), by Judy Murray, Chatto, June, £18.99
Memoir by the inspirational and charismatic sportswoman and mother of two boys who both play tennis. Judy has done much to encourage girls in sport too.
Balancing Acts: Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre, by Nicholas Hytner, Vintage, May, £20
This autobiography of the former director of the National Theatre is going to be a major title.
As Kingfishers Catch Fire: Birds and Books, by Alex Preston (editor) and Neil Gower (illustrator), Corsair, July. £20
I always trust the reading recommendations of the extremely well-read Alex Preston ? novelist, reviewer and teacher of creative writing ? so I am looking forward to this illustrated literary ornithological anthology.
M. The True Story of Maxwell Knight, MI5’s greatest Spymaster, by Henry Hemming, Preface, May. £25
A biography of the great spymaster – the naturalist and jazz-obsessive who helped to inspire the James Bond character “M”.
The Disappearance of Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case, by Michael Rosen, Faber, January, £16.99
It’s 1898: forced to leave Paris, with nothing but the clothes he is standing in and a nightshirt wrapped in newspaper, Zola, author of J’accuse, flees to England with no idea when he will return. Michael Rosen covers a little-known episode of Zola’s life.
Being Wagner: the Triumph of the Will, by Simon Callow, HarperCollins, January, £14.99
Simon Callow plunges headlong into Wagner’s world to discover what it was like to be Wagner.
Victorians Undone: Tales of the Flesh in the Age of Decorum, by Kathryn Hughes, HarperCollins, January, £20
What was it like to live in a Victorian body? Kathryn Hughes, head of Life Writing at UEA and acclaimed biographer of George Eliot and Mrs Beeton, finds out. This sounds like fascinating social history. For readers of Bill Bryson’s At Home.
The Last of the Tsars: Nicholas II and the Russian Revolution, by Robert Service, Macmillan, February, £25
This is a major title by the biographer of Lenin and a history of the end of the Cold War.
Best of the rest
• Russell Brand is writing a new book on addiction, which is due to be published in September by Macmillan
• Mary Berry’s Everyday, Ebury, January, £26
• Thomasina Miers’ Home Cook: over 300 Fuss-Free Recipes, Guardian, March, £25
• French writer Louis Edouard’s The End of Eddy, Vintage, February, £12.99, This is his first novel, but it is clearly autobiographical, relating Edouard’s experiences growing up gay and clever in a working class town in the north of France where most of his family and neighbours vote for Le Pen, and where violence and homophobia are the norm.