Books to Look Out For in December 2015

Cover image Slim publishing pickings in December – a bit of famine after the autumn feast. Not a great month if you’re looking for anything cheerful, either, but an excellent one for fans of fiction in translation beginning with Andrea Canobbio’s Three Light-Years. Cecilia and Claudio share lunch most days in the hospital where they work. Both are embroiled in difficult domestic situations: she’s a single parent, newly separated – he lives in the same apartment building as his senile mother, ex-wife and her new family. Despite their powerful attraction both are wary of their friendship becoming something more until a chance meeting changes everything. Canobbio’s novel comes from Maclehose Press who have quite an eye for fiction in translation.

As do World Editions, a new publisher on the UK block who have published several interesting titles this year including Esther Gerritsen’s Craving. December sees the publication of You Have Me to Love the first adult title from Dutch children’s writer Jaap Robben. Mikael lives on an island between Scotland and Norway. When his father disappears into the sea one day Mikael refuses to talk about it and his mother becomes mad with grief. Not exactly cheery, I know, but given World Editions’ track record it seems worth a look.

The next title is by Japanese Nobel laureate Kenzaburo Ōe, reported to have been working on a novel featuring a character based on his father by the New York Times a little while ago, apparently. Death by Water sees an ageing Nobel Prize-winning writer – struck by writer’s block and struggling to find the words to write about his drowned father – returning to his village in search of a cache of documents which may offer the solution to his predicament.Cover image

Serpent’s Tail is reissuing another Nobel Prize-winning author’s novel, Herta Müller’s The Passport, this month. I’ve read just one novel by Müller which I enjoyed immensely but have somehow not got around to reading more. This one interweaves stories from the present and past, centring on a village in Ceaucescu’s Romania whose miller wants to migrate to West Germany. Beautiful writing, apparently, which I remember from The Land of Green Plums.

That’s it for December. I’m hoping for some cheerier novels in January. In the meantime a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you be interested. And if you’d like to catch up with November’s embarrassment of riches they’re here, here and here.

12 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For in December 2015”

  1. Always a pleasure to hear of more great titles coming of translated fiction, it’s been a good year as far I’m concerned for that, though enjoying a rather spontaneous reading patch currently, reading on a whim from my own shelves or the libraries!

    Thanks for letting us know of these interesting new titles Susan.

    1. Ah, I suspected you’d read that, Marina. I thought we had a copy on the shelf – one of H’s purchases – but it turns out to be The Hunger Angel.

    1. I know what you mean, Poppy. Normal service will be resumed for January. I’ll leave you to decide whather that’s a good thing or a bad thing!

  2. It’s interesting to hear about these titles, Susan – thanks for the preview. A little like Claire, I’ve been trying to read from my own shelves of late…well, as far as possible. It’s hard to avoid the temptation of something ‘new’ every now and again! I like the cover of the Cannabio – it seems to fit your outline of the story.

    1. I hope this doesn’t offer too much temptation, Jacqui! I’m about 80 pages into the Cannabio which is shaping up nicely. So far, I’d say, that cover works very well.

  3. I’m quite glad this is quite a depressing batch as it coincides with my determination to read at least some more cheerful books – thanks for seeking them out for us though and I’m probably going to add Passport despite my declaration!

    1. You’re welcome, Cleo. Always enjoyable posts to put together. The Passport seems to be the title that’s caught most people’s eye. I’m quite some way into Three Light-Years and should report that it’s not a depressing as I’d expected. Yet!

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