Books to Look Out For in August 2013

Given that we’re nearly at the end of the month and I’ve nothing ready to review I thought I’d see what publishing goodies August has in store. Starting with completely new novels, there are four enticing ones I’ve added to the ever lengthening TBR list, discrete from the groaning TBR shelves I’m sorry to say. Sadly, for those of us who still read the old fashioned way, they’re all hardbacks but there are three juicy paperbacks to look forward to as well.

You may remember Marisha Pessl’s much talked about debut Special Topics in Calamity Physics published back in 2006. Difficult to pigeonhole but if you’re after a genre to cram it into literary thriller would probably cover it. Night Film looks as if it’s in the same territory as a journalist investigates the disappearance of a cult horror movie director when his daughter is found dead in a Manhattan warehouse. Those who’ve read it have described it as ‘magnificently layered and suspenseful’ which whets my appetite nicely. Nicola Solomons’s The Gallery of Vanished Husbands is also about a disappearance, one that transforms the life of Juliet Montague the wife of a vanished husband. The novel follows Juliet’s quest to find her missing spouse and her transformation from conformity to habitué of the art world. It sounds delightful. Meg Wolitzer’s novels are always a treat and The Interestings sounds right up my alley. It follows six friends from Nixon to Obama and sounds like the kind of novel you can sink comfortably into. Set in London in the Second World War, Sophie Hardach’s Of Love and Other Wars explores war and conscience through two families, the Quaker Lambs and the Morningstars, a Jewish family. Hardach’s debut The Registrar’s Manual for Detecting Forced Marriages was a delight, tackling a difficult issue in an original and confident manner, and this one looks set to do the same.

As for those paperback recommendations – they read like an advert for Tinder Press: Maggie O’Farrell’s Instructions for a Heatwave, Peggy Riley’s Amity and Sorrow and Brian Kimberling’s Snapper. The brilliant Maggie O’Farrell needs no introduction – she’s a literary star, and deservedly so. This one’s set in the 1976 heatwave with yet another disappearance as Robert Riordan goes out to buy a newspaper and fails to return. Amity and Sorrow is an entirely different kettle of fish. Amaranth flees a cult with her daughters, wrecks the car and finds sanctuary with a farmer. Amity takes to her new life but Sorrow is desperate to return. Finally, Brian Kimberling’s Snapper is billed as a book about ‘bird watching, a woman who won’t stay true, and a pick-up truck that won’t start. Here turtles eat alligators for breakfast, Klansmen skulk in the undergrowth, and truckers drop into the diner of a town named Santa Claus to ensure that no child’s Christmas letter goes unanswered.’ After many years in the book trade I’m fairly sceptical about publishers’ blurbs but this one sounds irresistible.

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