Earlier this year (that’s 2013) Sarah Moss took me on one of several visits to Iceland with her lovely memoir of her time there as a visiting academic, Names for the Sea. I’d already read and enjoyed her novel Cold Earth and am looking forward to her new one Bodies of Light which seems very different. Apparently it shares a character with her second novel Night Waking which I haven’t got around to yet. It’s set in the ‘world of Pre-Raphaelitism and the early suffrage movement’ according to the publishers and is the first of a two-part series. The third of my world war one novels – the first two of which are published in January – is Kamila Shamsie’s A God in Every Stone which begins in 1914 with Vivian Rose Spencer in Greece and Qayyum Gul fighting in the British Indian Army. They meet on a train to Peshawar in 1915 and fifteen years later are brought together again. I came late to Shamsie’s very fine Burnt Shadows so have a nice bit of back list catching up to do. Rachel Sieffert’s The Dark Room was one of those rare things – an excellent novel whose film adaptation, Lore, did justice to it. The Dark Room made quite an impression on me as did her short story collection Field Study so I have hopes for The Walk Home, about a Glasgow family who seem to have made a habit of running away. I’m a great admirer of Sebastian Barry’s elegant writing style so I’m looking forward to The Temporary Gentleman in which Jack McNulty, an Irishman whose second world war commission with the British Army has never been made permanent, tells his story from his lodgings in Accra in 1957. Lisa Moore, whose understated novel February I much admired, publishes Caught, about an escaped con who sets up a dope-smuggling racket, in the UK. Goodreads reviews seem a little mixed and it’s been described as ‘utterly unique’ which is enough to put anyone off but I’ll be adding it to my list. TaraShea Nesbit’s The Wives of Los Alamos about life on the edges of the Manhattan project looks promising and I’m a sucker for anything set in New Mexico even if it is in the soulless looking Los Alamos. Not so keen on this jacket, I’m afraid, but I’m not letting that put me off. And finally, you’ll be pleased to hear, Gabrielle Zevin’s The Collected Works of A. J. Fikry which may turn out to be a tad too whimsical for me but as it’s about a bookshop, a bookseller and a publisher’s rep I’m unable to resist. Can’t leave you without mentioning the promise of a new David Mitchell in September and a new Colm Tóibín in October.
That’s it from looking forward land. I’ve enjoyed writing these posts and I hope you’ve enjoyed reading them. Let me know what you’re looking forward to reading, or perhaps just adding to your list for 2014. It’s also my last post before Christmas – H and I are off to Amsterdam. A very happy Christmas to all, particularly to booksellers and anyone else working in retail or the food and drink industry who might be reading this. I haven’t forgotten what it’s like.