Books to Look Out for in January 2021: Part Two

Cover image for Memorial by Bryan WashingtonI’m kicking off this second instalment of January’s potential goodies with one I can confidently recommend having already read it. Bryan Washington’s Lot, was a favourite from 2019 for me, and I’m pleased to say Memorial is even better. Mike is about to fly to Japan to track down his estranged father when his mother announces her arrival in Washington. His partner finds himself playing host to this woman who is a stranger to him when Mike refuses to delay his plans. Following both Mike and Benson, this empathetic novel explores all the messiness of relationships and family offering hopes of reconciliation and redemption by its end. Review to follow soon…

An estranged father crops up in Vanessa Veselka’s The Great Offshore Grounds, this time reuniting two sisters determined to claim their inheritance when he remarries. Rather than money, he gives them a name revealing a family secret that sets them off on a journey.  ‘Moving from Seattle’s underground to the docks of the Far North, from the hideaways of the southern swamps to the storied reaches of the Great Offshore Grounds, this is an epic tale told with boundless verve, linguistic vitality and undeniable tenderness’ say the publishers whetting my appetite nicely.Cover image for Bolt From the Blue by Jeremy Cooper

Jeremy Cooper’s Bolt From the Blue follows the relationship between a mother and daughter over the course of more than  thirty years beginning in 1985 when Lyn leaves her mother in Birmingham to study at Saint Martin’s School of Art, their only contact through letters, postcards and emails. ‘A novel in epistolary form, Bolt From the Blue, captures the waxing and waning of the mother-daughter relationship over time, achieving a rare depth of feeling with a deceptively simple literary form’. Very much like the sound of that.

Mothers and daughters seem to feature a little in Charlotte McConnaghy’s The Last Migration which sees a young woman following what may be the last of the Arctic terns on their way to Antarctica. As Franny witnesses the consequences of environmental exploitation her own life begins to unravel. ‘From the west coast of Ireland to Australia and remote Greenland, through crashing Atlantic swells to the bottom of the world, this is an ode to the wild places and creatures now threatened, and an epic story of the possibility of hope against all odds’ say the publishers of a novel much praised by Emily St. John Cover image for Outlawed by Anna NorthMandel.

I enjoyed Anna North’s The Life and Death of Sophie Stark back in 2015 but hadn’t spotted anything else by her in the publishing schedules since. Outlawed, sounds very different, beginning in 1894 when seventeen-year-old Ada joins Billy the Kid’s Hole in the Wall gang to escape the opprobrium of the town after a year of marriage and no pregnancy.  ‘Charismatic, grandiose, and mercurial, the Kid is determined to create a safe haven for outcast women. But to make this dream a reality, the Gang hatches a treacherous plan that may get them all killed’ says the blurb intriguingly.

That’s it for January’s new fiction. As ever a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis for any that takes your fancy, and if you missed the first part it’s here. Paperbacks soon…

21 thoughts on “Books to Look Out for in January 2021: Part Two”

  1. I’m intrigued by Bolt from the Blue given its a male author writing about a mother daughter relationship, shall reserve judgement.

    I’ve read The Last Migration after seeing a few reviews and while I enjoyed it, I found myself having to often suspend belief in the ability if the protagonist to influence events. I think it may be of more appeal to readers of mystery. Interestingly, in the US its title is ‘Migrations’ and one US reader was surprised by the alternate title suggesting it was a spoiler.

    1. I like the sound of the Bolt of Blue’s structure but suspect I won’t review it.

      I’m not a mystery reader so I’m glad to be forewarned about The Last Migration. I wonder why they changed the title. I’d assumed there was a climate change message hence the ‘last’.

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