Books to Look Out For Out for in October 2022

Ciover image for Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth StroutOctober’s a little light on eye-catching titles for me although for the second year running we’re being treated to a new Elizabeth Strout featuring Lucy Barton which came as a surprise. Lucy by the Sea sees her leaving New York City for lockdown life in Maine with the ex-husband she was reunited with in last year’s Oh William!. ‘Strout’s new novel is a miraculous work of fiction. A brilliantly sharp evocation of the period we have just lived through, it is a novel that both resonates deeply and consoles us too’ say the publishers promisingly. With many other writers, I’d have wondered if Lucy was being wheeled out one too many times but if anyone can carry it off, it’s Ms Strout. Review shortly…Cover image for Jackdaw by Tade Thompson

Tade Thompson’s Jackdaw sounds fascinating. A psychiatrist commissioned to write a short piece on the artist Francis Bacon becomes obsessed with his subject to the extent that he begins to loose his grip on reality. ‘This short, bold piece of fiction, explores how the passion needed to create art can also destroy the artist’ say the publishers of a novel which sounds both unusual and intriguing.

Cover image for Everything Callss for Salvation by Daniele MencarelliIn Daniele Mencarelli’s Everything Calls for Salvation, twenty-year-old Daniele wakes up in hospital after suffering a violent breakdown the night before, faced with a week of mandatory treatment on a psychiatric ward. What sounds like an affecting piece of autofiction charts a week in which Daniele finds common ground with his fellow patients, men much like himself. ‘By focusing on some of the most marginalized people in our society, Mencarelli has written a heart-breaking and unforgettable novel that challenges our notion of normality and celebrates the salvific power of solidarity and vulnerability’ say the publishers.

Vigdis Hjorth’s Is Mother Dead sees a recently widowed woman return to Oslo for a retrospective of her work the subject ofCover image for Is Mother Dead by Vigdis Hjorth which is motherhood. Johanna’s already strained relationship with her mother has been made all the more difficult by her more controversial paintings. She finds herself unable to get her estranged mother out of her thoughts then lurking outside her house when her mother refuses to reply to any attempt at contact. I’ve yet to read anything by Hjorth but this sounds excellent.

Cover image for Body Kintsugi by Senka MaricI’ve come across the idea of kintsugi in several novels over the past few years, most notably in Andrés Neuman’s Fracture. It’s the Japanese custom of celebrating a ceramic artefact’s history by repairing its cracks with liquid gold. Senka Marić’s Body Kintsugi applies it to the story of a woman who discovers a cancerous tumour shortly after her husband leaves her, exploring both her past and her present. Described by the publishers as ‘an intimate, insightful account of the difficulties of adolescence, ongoing patriarchal attitudes in Bosnian society, motherhood, illness and the relationship of a woman to her body, as it changes into something new – and yet, is still hers’ it sounds unmissable.Cover image for Liberation Day by George Saunders

I couldn’t get on with George Saunders’ Man Booker Prize-winning Lincoln in the Bardo but made a mental note to try his short stories which were much lauded in the novel’s publicity material. Unsurprisingly, I didn’t get around to it until Liberation Day popped through my letterbox. Written with a pleasing economy of expression, Saunders’ collection explores themes of wealth, poverty and exploitation in stories that are sometimes surreal and often very funny although their message is always sober. An excellent collection which left me keen to explore more of Saunders’ short fiction. Review to come…

That’s it for October’s new fiction. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you want to know more. Paperbacks soon…

34 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in October 2022”

  1. Slightly to my surprise, I loved Lincoln in the Bardo, so I’ll look out for this new collection. And indeed every book you mention seems worth a look. Maybe October won’t be so thin after all.

  2. I’m sure the new Strout will be a big hit as the series has been so popular with readers…
    It sounds as if you need to read Oh William before Lucy by the Sea to follow the right timeline. How about the first book and the sequel, My Name is Lucy Barton and Anything is Possible? Where do they fit in Lucy’s timeline / character development?

    1. My Name… introduces Lucy although Strout is so clever at subtly sketching in backstories (a useful reminder for those of us with fading memories) that they can be enjoyed even if read out of order.

  3. I’ve just discovered Lucy Barton, so I’ll work my way through – this sounds good though, I like the idea of lockdown through Lucy’s eyes!

  4. Is Mother Dead is very tempting although I don’t know the author at all. The premise sounds excellent! I also couldn’t get on with Lincoln in the Bardo but I might give Saunders another go…

  5. I have read one by Vigdis Hjorth – Will and Testament which was very good so I am looking forward to Is Mother Dead.

  6. Lucy by the Sea sounds great. I must get back to Elizabeth Strout, I have several of her novels tbr. I am trying to remember the book I read by Vigdis Hjorth, Will and Testament it might have been called. I liked it but it did leave me rather cold.

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