Books to Look Out for in June 2018: Part Two

Cover imageWhereas there was no contest for my first June selection’s lead title, two novels jostle for that position in the second. Tim Winton wins by a whisker with The Shepherd’s Hut. Jaxie Clackton has long since put home behind him when a dramatic event leaves him with nothing, catapulting him into a journey across the arid Western Australian wilderness. ‘Fierce and lyrical, The Shepherd’s Hut is a story of survival, solitude and unlikely friendship. Most of all it is about what it takes to keep hope alive in a parched and brutal world’ say the publishers. A new book from Winton is always something to look forward to for me.

Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City met with tidal waves of critical acclaim in 2016 and deservedly so. Crudo is her much-tweeted-about first novel. Just turned forty, Kathy is coming to terms with the idea of a lifelong commitment against a backdrop of mad Trump tweets and post-referendum Britain, wondering if it’s worth the effort. ‘A Goodbye to Berlin for the 21st century, Crudo charts in real time what it was like to live and love in the horrifying summer of 2017, from the perspective of a commitment-phobic peripatetic artist who may or may not be Kathy Acker . . .’ say the publishers somewhat intriguingly given that Acker died in 1997.Cover image

The protagonist of Caoilinn Hughes’ debut Orchid and the Wasp also seems to be dealing with personal and global crises. The daughter of a wealthy dysfunctional family, Gael is finding her way around the London club scene and New York’s art world as the Occupy movement gains momentum. ‘Written in heart-stoppingly vivid prose, Orchid & the Wasp is a modern-day Bildungsroman that chews through sexuality, class and contemporary politics and crackles with joyful fury and anarchic gall’ say the publishers which sounds a little frenetic. Hughes is an award-winning poet which is always a lure for me.

Winding back to the scorching Los Angeles summer of 1965, A. G. Lombardo’s Graffiti Palace follows African-American graffiti artist Americo Monk as he tries to make his way home through the race riots sparked by the arrest of Marquette Frye. Monk maps his route using the intricately depicted identity tags on the streets, recorded in a notebook that both cops and gangs are eager to get their hands on. ‘Bursting at the seams with memorable characters – including Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, sewer-dwelling crack dealers and a legendary Mexican graffiti artist no-one’s even sure exists – Graffiti Palace conjures into being a fantastical, living, breathing portrait of Los Angeles in 1965’ say the publishers a little dramatically but perhaps justifiably so.

Cover imageI’m rounding off this selection of June titles as it began with another author whose books I’ve enjoyed. Rupert Thomson’s Never Anyone but You is based on the true story of Claude Cahun and Marcel Moore who meet and fall in love in early twentieth-century small town France. Moving to Paris, they immerse themselves in the world of Hemingway and Dali, producing a series of avant-garde photographs. On the eve of war, they flee to Jersey where their anti-Nazi propaganda puts their lives in danger. ‘Never Anyone but You explores the gripping true story of two extraordinary women who challenged gender boundaries, redefining what it means to be a woman, and ultimately risked their lives in the fight against oppression. Theirs is a story that has been hidden in the margins of history’ according to the publishers which sounds fascinating.

That’s it for June’s new titles. A click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you want to know more and if you missed the first instalment it’s here. Paperbacks soon…


22 thoughts on “Books to Look Out for in June 2018: Part Two”

  1. I just finished my first book by Winton the other day, Island Home, and it was so gorgeously written that his novels can’t fail to be wonderful! I’ve heard the most about Cloudstreet and Breath. What can you recommend?

    I have a proof copy of the Hughes and was thinking of starting it today.

    1. Cloudstreet would be a good place to start or Dirt Music, a favourite for me, and if you want a little more non-fiction Breath is even more gorgeous than Island Home.

      I’ll be interested to see how you get on with the Hughes.

  2. I’ve not got around to reading Winton. The book that appeals most from this little group however is Never Anyone But You mainly because I enjoy reading about that period in history

  3. I’ve just finished The Shepherds Hut (I picked up a signed copy when I was in Australia in March) and it was brilliant. It took me on an amazing ride and I’m still thinking about it; not sure a review will do it justice.

  4. The Shepherd’s Hut is wonderful. I was lucky enough to meet Tim Winton when he spoke in South Australia recently and I completely embarrassed myself. I’m such a fangirl.

  5. It’ll be fascinating to see how Olivia Laing turns her hand to fiction. All of her non-fiction is stunning, so I’d have high expectations of that one. The Winton sounds good too. Bad timing for me as I’ve committed to both a buying and borrowing ban to finally work on that huge TBR. Maybe next year…or the one after!

    1. I agree about the Laing. Feeling a little apprehensive about it as brilliant non-fiction writing doesn’t necessarily translate to brilliant fiction. Good luck with the buying/borrowing ban – I’m sure both books will still be around by the time you get to the end of that.

      1. More crucially, I had forgotten Helen DeWitt had a collection coming out in June. I may balk and break the ban for that, or not. Like you say, it will still be there in 2 years (but she’s so brilliant, and so rarely published). Sigh.

  6. I was thinking, like a few others, that I should really read something by Tim Winton – I picked up his novel “Breath” at a book sale not long ago – and after seeing Kim’s comment, I’m convinced. Except now I want to read The Shepherd’s Hut instead!

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