Books to Look Out for in December 2020

I’m rounding off this very strange year with the briefest of brief previews although it’s probably more varied than any I’ve posted in 2020. I’m beginning with a novel that was all over my Twitter feed around its publication, setting off my hype antennae, then the Booker judges included it on their longlist although, truth be told, it was JacquiWine’s enthusiasm that made me sit up and take notice. Kiley Reid’s Such a Fun Age sees a young black woman arrested in a supermarket, suspected of kidnapping the white child she’s babysitting. When her employer tries to put things right she’s sceptical but ‘a surprising connection emerges between the two women, it sends them on a crash course that will upend everything they think they know – about themselves, each other, and the messy dynamics of privilege’ according to the publishers. Here’s Jacqui’s review if you’d like to know more.

Something about blurb for A. R. Moxon’s The Revisionaries reminded me a little of the charismatic priest in ‘Ride Upon the Storm’, a Swedish series I watched via the excellent Walter Presents. When a mental hospital releases its inmates, the local community turns to their street preacher to help deal with the sudden chaos, apparently unaware of his chequered past. Flitting amongst the hospital’s patients are members of a religious cult, all dressed in red, while off to the side lurks a mysterious smoking figure who seems uncannily knowledgeable about what happens next. ‘The Revisionaries is a wildly imaginative, masterfully rendered, and suspenseful tale that conjures the bold outlandish stylishness of Thomas Pynchon, Margaret Atwood, and Alan Moore—while being unlike anything that’s come before’ say the publishers. Not at all sure about this one but it sounds worth investigating.

I’m finishing with something appropriately wintery: Urs Faes’ Twelve Nights which sees a man walking through a snowy valley on his way to his childhood home in the Black Forest. Manfred and his brother have barely spoken after a row over a woman and the inheritance of the family farm. ‘These nights are a time of tradition and superstition, of tales told around the local innkeeper’s table of marauding spirits, as tangible as the ghosts of Manfred’s past. But the twelfth night, Epiphany, promises new beginnings, and a hope of reconciliation at last. Twelve Nights is a hymn to the winter landscape and the power of storytelling, a beautiful novella of the natural world and our place in it’ say the publishers which sounds rather lovely.

That’s it for December and for 2020’s previews. As ever, a click on any of the three titles will take you to a more detailed synopsis. My next preview post will be for January 2021 when I’m sure we’ll still be looking for distraction but perhaps with the hope that better times are on all our horizons.

20 thoughts on “Books to Look Out for in December 2020”

  1. Your mention of Such a Fun Age had me checking out JacquiWine’s review of it which is excellent and I’m now following her, thank you for pointing her out.

    And how tempting does Twelve Nights sound? It wasn’t on my radar at all but I am off to check it out. Thanks Susan for all your previews and reviews this year. They’ve been among the bright spots and something I look forward to reading.

  2. I vwas also persuaded by Jacqui to try Such a Fun Age, and suggested it to my book group. It was a really successful book group read, and gave us a lot to talk about. It’s also a really compelling read.

  3. Ooh, I like the sound of Twelve Nights. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

    I was very sceptical of Such a Fun Age and had a false start with it earlier in the year, but ended up enjoying it very much. Addictive and thought-provoking — a rare combination.

  4. Many thanks for the link, Susan – that’s very kind of you! That book really took me by surprise as I hadn’t expected to enjoy it so much; but it shows the value of reading outside of one’s usual stomping ground every now and again, just to experience something ‘different’. I’ll be interested to hear what you think if you decide to read it…

    Twelve Nights sounds wonderfully atmospheric and compelling. Beautiful cover, too – just right for this time of year.

    1. You’re welcome, Jacqui. Your review convinced me followed by Ali’s which had slipped my mind when writing this post.

      I suspect Twelve Nights is one of those books planned as a last minute stocking filler, to be strategically placed next to the till!

  5. Twelve Nights does indeed sound very lovely. And a big thank you, Susan, for a year of great previews (and a painfully large number of additions to the TBR!! ). I look forward to doing it all again next year

  6. I have 2 of these on hold at the library! I’m curious about Such A Fun Age – could be one of those contemporary novels that turns out to be better than I imagine. As you know I’m loving novellas so Twelve Nights sounds right up my street

    1. Jacqui was very convincing about Such a Fun Age as was Heaven Ali. I’ve read Twelve Nights since posting this. It’s an enjoyably wintery read, the briefest of brief novellas! Hope you enjoy them both, Karen.

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