Paperbacks to Look Out For in April 2015: Part 2

Cover image My second April paperback selection begins with a book whose jacket which will either charm you or make you feel as if you’ve stumbled into a Barbie nightmare. You might also be forgiven for thinking that there’s nothing new or original to say about the Kennedy assassination but having already read and enjoyed Nicole Mary Kelby’s The Pink Suit in its more restrained hardback incarnation, I’m happy to recommend it. By telling her fictionalised story of the infamous suit through Kate, a back room girl at Chez Ninon, Kelby niftily avoids the well-trodden Kennedy path with its apparently endless power to fascinate.

Louise Levene’s The Following Girls is a satire on  schoolgirl life in the 1970s, stuffed full of pitch-perfect period detail. It’s a novel which will have women of a certain age and education both squirming and cackling in recognition. Levene’s sharpest skill is her ability to signal the pain beneath her narrator’s witty rejoinders.  I’m already looking forward to rereading this one.

Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists was one of those novels that caught the affections of many readers including me. His second, The Rise and Fall of Great Powers, begins in a Welsh bookshop run by Tooly Zylberberg who finds a message on her Facebook page – her father is in trouble, can she come and help? As far as Tooly’s concerned she hasn’t seen her father since she was eleven, abducted in Bangkok by a women called Sarah who promptly disappeared leaving her with Humphrey, the Russian chess-playing bibliophile who brought her up – and it’s Humphrey who’s in trouble. Rachman’s second novel is as absorbing and entertaining as his first. Cover image

Joseph O’Neill made a similar splash with his first novel, Netherland. HarperCollins must have hardly believed their luck when Barack Obama announced he was taking it on holiday with him. The Dog didn’t meet with quite the same brouhaha but I still plan to read it. Needing a fresh start, a New York attorney accepts his old friend’s offer of a job in Dubai but begins to wonder if it’s quite the gift horse he’d thought.

Edan Lepucki’s California also had a little celebrity stardust sprinkled on it when US comedian Stephen Colbert suggested his viewers buy it from their local indie during the Hatchette/Amazon debacle. Set in the near future, it’s one of those post-apocalyptic novels that have sprung up since 2008 in which Cal and Frida have fled a ruined Los Angeles when they find that Frida is pregnant. They’re faced with a choice – fend for themselves or seek out the help of a paranoid community which may not be worthy of their trust. I’m not usually a fan of this kind of novel but there’s something about the synopsis that attracts me.

Cover image I’ve been looking forward to Tim Winton’s Eyrie for some time. I first came across Winton through Cloudstreet, an odd, vaguely mystical novel about a family living in a ramshackle house in the ’30s – hard to characterise but this Time Out quote may give you an idea: ‘Imagine Neighbours being taken over by the writing team of John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and you’ll be close to the heart of Winton’s impressive tale’. In Eyrie, Tom Keely, living in self-imposed isolation in a high-rise, allows his solitude to be penetrated by a woman he once knew leading him into a dangerous, destructive world

That’s it for April paperbacks. If you missed the first part but would like to catch up here it is, and if you’d like to check out my hardback choices they’re here.

8 thoughts on “Paperbacks to Look Out For in April 2015: Part 2”

  1. Interesting. For once, I only have one of these in HB and I’ve read it – hurrah! It was California though and I didn’t rate it but couldn’t articulate why it didn’t work for me (which is why I didn’t review it). I’m interested in the first two you mention. Always fascinated by anything to do with powerful women. The Following Girls sounds like good fun (although I partly think I just like to torture myself with books set in education).

    1. I’m so glad The Pink Suit’s proof didn’t arrive adorned in Barbie pink. I’m not sure I could have stomached it and would have missed a treat. The Following girls brought back memories, not all of them good, but you’re younger than me!

  2. I own a cheap hardback of The Following Girls (following on from your recommendation) and am really looking forward to that. I’ll definitely be reading The Pink Suit and the Tom Rachman too. I loved that description of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet, which I’m sorry to say I own but have never read. I really must pick it up! Love these posts, Susan, thank you!

    1. I’m grateful to Time Out for that quote. It’s the kind of book I find indescribable. Glad you like the posts, Victoria. Great fun to write!

    1. I’ll read just about anything by Tim Winton – his coastal memoir, Land’s Edge, was beautiful.

  3. Pingback: Books to Look Out For in May 2015 | A life in books

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