Books to Look Out for in December 2017

Cover image As ever, there’s very little in the way of new titles to trouble your credit card with in December. Probably a relief given the wear and tear of Christmas shopping. Elisa Lodato’s An Unremarkable Body sounds intriguing, though. It’s about a daughter’s attempts to understand her mother’s life after she’s found dead at the foot of her stairs, and it’s structured along the lines of a medical report. ‘What emerges is a picture of life lived in the shadows, as well as an attempt to discover how and why her mother died. To make sense of her own grief Laura must piece her mother’s body back together and in doing so, she is forced to confront a woman silenced by her own mother and wronged by her husband’ according to the blurb.

Lily Tuck’s Sisters explores a second wife’s obsession with her husband’s first marriage. ‘Will the narrator ever equal the first wife intellectually and sexually, or ever forget the betrayal that lies between them? And what of the secrets between her husband and the first wife, from which the second wife is excluded? The daring and precise build-up to an eerily wonderful denouement is a triumph of subtlety and surprise’ say the publishers enticingly. Shades of Rebecca here, maybe.

In January I read Our Magic Hour, an extraordinarily impressive novel by an Australian author called Jennifer Down. It’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. Pulse Points is Down’s collection of short stories about people who ‘live in small dusty towns, glittering exotic cities and slow droll suburbs; they are mourners, survivors and perpetrators’ according to the publishers. Naturally, I’d have preferred a novel but if her short stories are only half as good as Our Magic Hour they’ll be a treat to savour. Cover image

Just one paperback to look out for – Roy Jacobsen’s The Unseen, shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize earlier in the year. It’s the story of Ingrid Barroy, born into the only family who live on a tiny Norwegian island. When she grows up, Ingrid is sent to the mainland amidst great change for her country then tragedy strikes and she must do what she can to protect her remote home. ‘In detailed, quietly gripping prose, writer Roy Jacobsen and translators Don Bartlett and Don Shaw use a small canvas to tell a great, universal story’ say the Man Booker judges which sounds right up my street and all the more intriguing given that two translators worked on the novel.

That’s it for December, and for 2017 previews. A click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you be interested. Already looking forward to what 2018 has to offer…

23 thoughts on “Books to Look Out for in December 2017”

  1. I’m interested in Lodato’s book as well. I’ve seen it around a lot on Twitter and Instagram. The only other December book I’d heard about and was considering was One Station Away by Olaf Olafsson (possibly US-only at this point? I have it on my Kindle from Edelweiss).

    I’ve been stuck partway through The Unseen since September but plan to pick it back up and finish it before the end of the year.

      1. I started it on holiday in the Netherlands and was enjoying it — the seaside setting seemed appropriate, especially when we visited Marken — but then when I got back I got distracted by review books.

  2. I always find it so depressing that there are few new books at this time of the year. Decmeber is the one month when my commitments run to a stand still and I am desperately looking for new novels. I feel short changed!

    1. I think publishers are heading full tilt towards Christmas at that stage but are clearly missing a marketing opportunity! Some new titles sneak out in the final week but none that have taken my fancy this year.

  3. Thank you for the list, Susan. They all seemed to be charged with emotions and love such books. I am currently chasing Goodreads’s Award Nominees. I hope to get to the new releases soon.

  4. An Unremarkable Body sounds like something I’d like. Although, it makes me wonder what my kids will find out about my own life when I’m gone… Not that I have any dark secrets in my past! Just maybe embarrassing ones. 🙂

  5. Just as well that there’s not much to tempt me. Although I just heard that the paperback of the Shirley Jackson biography (A Rather Haunted Life) is out, so that’s my Christmas present to myself sorted.

  6. They all sound kinda interesting. Maybe I’m just preoccupied with my backlisted projects just now. In that sense, I’m already thinking about 2018. But in terms of what’s new, I’m simply enjoying your brief mentions and then toddling back into older publications.

    1. I’m sure you have more success than I do. If a book’s still in print after decades or centuries it’s been thoroughly tried and tested as opposed to the many shiny new ones that soar then plummet into remaindered obscurity.

  7. An Unremarkable Body sounds fantastic! You’re right that not alot comes out in December, other than kids-themed Christmas books…which I seem to be collecting lots of lately 🙂

  8. I thought Sisters was excellent (let’s hope there aren’t too many spoilers out there because the twist was fab).

    I just got hold of Pulse Points – like you, I would have preferred a novel but I’m looking forward to this collection nonetheless.

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