Books to Look Out For in April 2015

Cover image Spring’s on the horizon at last here in the UK and with it comes a fair few temptations in the publishing schedules, several of which stand out for me. Melissa Harrison’s debut, Clay, was much praised for her lyrical descriptions of nature when it was published in 2012. I didn’t get around to it until recently but the writing is very beautiful, all wrapped up in a poignant story. I’m hoping for more of the same with At Hawthorn Time which follows four villagers through one spring month in which their lives intersect. Ali Smith picked Clay as one of her books of the year, apparently, should you need more encouragement.

Also eagerly anticipated is Liza Klaussman’s second novel Villa America. Her debut, Tigers in Red Weather, was one of those books about which there was a great deal of pre-publication brouhaha, justified in this case. It was set in a slightly Gatsbyesque world – although at the end of the Second World War – and this new novel actually features the Fitzgeralds entertained, alongside the likes of Picasso, dos Passos and Hemingway, by Gerald and Sara Murphy in their villa on the French Riviera until a stranger arrives and the dream shatters.

Christine Dwyer Hickey’s writing inhabits a much more work-a-day world. She’s one of those quietly accomplished writers whose books are to be savoured. In her last novel, The Cold Eye of Heaven, an old man looks back over his life as he lies dying. Memory is also a strong theme in The Lives of Women as Elaine, home from New York to live with her invalid father, watches his neighbours move out remembering the way in which an American divorcee shattered the dynamics of this small estate back in the ‘70s, teaching the women to drink Martinis and loosen their grip on their wifely duties. It sounds excellent.

Set in another small community but entirely different by the sound of it, Christopher Bollen’s Orient is compared to both A. M. Homes and Lionel Shriver in the publisher’s blurb – no pressure, there then. Set on Long Island in the eponymous small town much visited by artists and rich New Yorkers fleeing the city heat, it sounds like a thriller. When a local takes in an orphaned drifter, strange things begin to happen arousing the town’s suspicions. Thrillers aren’t usually my cup of tea but I’m a sucker for smalltown American novels.

There may well be a touch of the thriller about Mark Henshaw’s The Snow Kimono. On the same day a retired Parisian police inspector receives a letter from a woman who claims to be his daughter he finds a stranger waiting for him at his apartment. Professor Tadashi Omura tells Inspector Jovert his extraordinary life story which has surprising parallels with Jovert’s own. It sounds intriguing and comes from Tinder Press who seem to have developed a sharp eye for talent. Cover image

I wonder if Watertones will be piling up copies of Vesna Goldsworthy’s Gorsky featuring as it does a bibliophile Russian oligarch. Said oligarch is planning to woo the already-married Natalia with a spanking new mansion in ‘Chelski’. At the heart of the house is to be a large library stocked with first editions from the Russian literary canon. It’s narrated by the Serbian immigrant bookseller commissioned to track down these treasures, no matter how expensive they might be. The impoverished bookseller – is there any other kind? – finds himself in a glittering yet dangerous world.

That’s it for April. A click on a title will take you to Waterstones website where a more detailed synopsis will be revealed. Happy reading!

10 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For in April 2015”

    1. I know, can’t seem break that old bookseller/editor habit of looking ahead for yet more goodies!

    2. YES! I feel the same way Tanya! Loved Tigers and am hoping very much that Villa America does not go the route of Z, Hemingway’s Wife, etc. I did not enjoy those takes on their lives at all. But, I think in this author’s hands, it may be a great read! I also added every single book on this list! April is shaping up to be a fantastic month! Thanks for the list!

      1. Delighted to hear that this lot seems to have hit the spot for you, Penny. Fingers crossed that Villa America matches up to Tigers.

  1. I really enjoyed Tigers in Red Weather (and it’s one of my favourite book covers) so I’m looking forward to Villa America.
    P.S. Thanks for the blog post RT – much appreciated. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome, Helen. It sounded like a very enjoyable event. I was convinced that Tigers would be a let down after all the hype surrounding it but it wasn’t the case at all.

  2. I’ll be interested to hear more about At Hawthorn Time. I’m with you on your description of Melissa Harrison’s writing – her style seems to suit the focus on nature and human relationships.

    1. I particularly liked the way that Harrison followed the park through the seasons in Clay and the way that TC responded to that. She has a fine eye.

    1. It’s a particularly good month, but then I seem to think that every time I scan the schedules!

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