Books to Look Out For in May 2015

Cover image Back from sunny Spain on Saturday to a UK where spring has most definitely sprung. More of that later in the week but here’s a taster of things to come next month to be going on with and there are three absolute corkers to look forward to in May’s list. Let’s start with the jewel in the crown which you may well know about already given how much pre-publicity there’s been for it: Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins, a companion volume to the wonderful Life After Life. I’m still mystified as to why that hasn’t been garlanded with prizes, but then, what do I know. A God in Ruins, interweaves Ursula Todd’s younger brother Teddy’s experiences as a bomber pilot with his life lived into the twenty-first century. To an extent it sounds a little like a state of the nation novel but don’t expect a straightforward linear narrative.

An exponent of that elegant, pared-back writing that the Irish seem to excel at, Anne Enright has a new novel out in May. The Green Road is about the Madigan family of County Clare. When their mother decides it’s time to sell the family home and divvy up the proceeds between her four children they return from all over the world to spend one last Christmas in the house they grew up in.

Jane Smiley’s Early Warning is set in similar territory, picking up the story of the Langdons Cover image in the second in her Last Hundred Years trilogy. It opens in 1953 at a funeral attended by Rosanna and Walter’s sons and daughters, all grown up with children of their own. Some Luck was among the best books I read last year so I’m looking forward to this middle volume which takes the family into the 1980s. I gather that the third will be appearing not long after this one.

Still in North America but moving on to Canada, Sarah Leipciger’s The Mountain Can Wait has been compared to Margaret Atwood by no less than Nickolas Butler, author of the sublime Shotgun Lovesongs. I imagine that’s a mixed blessing when you’ve only just published your first novel. It’s about a father trying to track down his son in the Canadian Wilderness after a terrible accident, and so enamoured am I with Mr Butler’s writing that a claim extravagant enough to bring out the old cynic in me has still made me want to read it.

The Gracekeepers And finally, my last choice for May is actually an April title: Kirsty Logan’s The Gracekeepers which was brought forward a little in the publishing schedules. Her short stories are so highly rated by several people whose opinions I trust that I didn’t want to miss it out. It’s set in a flooded world in which sails a circus boat, home to North who dances with her bear in return for food. Callanish is a gracekeeper, tending the graves on an island in the middle of the sea. When these two are thrown together by a storm they are irresistibly drawn to each other but find may obstacles in their way. Perhaps a little fantastical for my usual taste but I’ve been promised some very fine writing and what a wonderfully eye-catching jacket.

That’s it for May. As ever, a click will take you to Waterstones website for a fuller synopsis. Here are my April hardback choices if you’d like to catch up with those. Such were the splendours of April paperback offerings that I’ve posted on them twice – here and here.

21 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For in May 2015”

  1. The Gracekeepers sounds fabulous, I love this kind of story, I’m looking forward to reading it too.

    Good to hear its still sunny in Spain, heading down that way in a weeks time for a much needed break.

  2. And (almost?) all these books are published on the 7th May. Why?!! *shakes fist at publishing gods* The Logan is superb. I started the Atkinson last night and had no idea it wasn’t linear but am loving that it’s not, it’s very cleverly constructed, I think. Also looking forward to the Enright, saw some sentences quoted from the book on Twitter a couple of days ago and they were so very good.

    1. I know what you mean about pub. dates. Publishers still seem to confine themselves to Mondays and mostly Thursdays which means two days a month. There were moves afoot to change this some time ago, I believe, but nothing seems to have happened.

      I have the Logan and Atkinson sitting on my shelves to look forward to. Hoping for the usual spare elegance from Ms Enright!

        1. Traditionally, pub dates have always been Mondays and Thursdays with more towards the end of the week to catch the weekend trade, I assume. At least that would have been the case back in the days when booksellers put books out the day they were published – long, long ago! Perhaps publishers like to publish early when the month feels fresh but who knows…

  3. Two of these – the Enright and the Atkinson, will be on my birthday pressie list so that I don’t break my ban! Shame I won’t get to read them until November though 🙂

  4. Well that has decided me on what to spend my Waterstone’s points on – Kate Atkinson it has to be – loved Life After Life.

  5. I’ve got my Atkinson – stashed, to avoid temptation! Just hope I remember where it is! I’ve never read Jane Smiley, tbh. I do hope Kirsty Logan does well, she’s lovely, and a fellow Scot, and although it’s not “my thing” I’m mentioning her to anyone who’d like her. And you’re right – luscious cover! April 9th was the date in my diary (SO old fashioned, I know!) PACKED with books I’d all meant to have read – I’ve managed a couple, the rest are in progress. Do enjoy this monthly news bulletin. And totally agree with you re LAL/prizes. Think it got a couple of inconsequential ones, and that’s it.

  6. I’m looking forward to Kate Atkinson’s new novel because I enjoyed Life after Life. I remember thinking that I’d have liked to learn more about Ursula’s family so I’m sure this one will be really interesting!

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