It’s that time of the year again: books of the year lists have started appearing in the broadsheets causing those of us with extensive TBR lists, let alone piles, to come out in a nervous rash. I’ve scanned The Guardian’s and The Observer’s but the one that really snagged my interest was the Kirkus Best Fiction Books of 2013. I’ve always set a good deal of store by Kirkus’s reviews – concise, considered and well-expressed they can be relied upon for recommendations. They’re an American company primarily reviewing for American readers and while there are a multitude of books on this year’s lists that are either British or already published in the UK (many of which I’ve either read or are working their way up my TBR pile) there are five not yet published here which caught my eye. Given that I’ve sworn off Amazon, and after the BBC’s Panorama exposé of their appalling working practices on Monday evening won’t be returning to them any time soon, it’s my hope that publishers are considering UK editions which would make tempting piles on booksellers’ tables. Failing that, I’ll be visiting Barnes & Noble’s website. In case you’re interested here are the novels with links to Kirkus’s reviews – all words are theirs apart from a few comments from me in italics.
Wilton Barnhardt’s fourth novel is a revelation: witty, savage and bighearted all at once, it is the Southern novel for the 21st century. Read full book review > – a tempting piece of southern Gothic if ever I saw one.
Filled with the kind of wistful longing that characterizes the coming-of-age novel, this latest from the talented Bishop brings stardust and domestic disillusionment to the bayous of Louisiana. Read full book review > – always a sucker for wistful…
A subversively charming debut about a group of happily imperfect New Yorkers from Dublin-based Casey, wife of novelist Joseph O’Connor. Read full book review > …and subversive
This multigenerational story of a privileged family’s vacations on Massachusetts’ Buzzards Bay is as much about the place as the people. Read full book review > – which has holiday reading written all over it.
National Book Award–winning novelist Shacochis (The Immaculate Invasion, 1999, etc.) makes a long-awaited–indeed, much-anticipated–return to fiction with this stunning novel of love, innocence and honor lost. Read full book review > – looks very American but it is by a National Book Award winner.
And if anyone has read any of these it would be great to know what you think.