Paperbacks to Look Out For Out for in October 2022 

Cover image for The Fell by Sarah MossBoth eye-catching new fiction and paperbacks are a bit thin on the ground for me this October although there are some gems to be found not least Sarah Moss’ The Fell which takes place over a single night during 2020’s November lockdown. Desperate to escape her constant money worries and the rehearsals of her many mistakes, Kate breaks quarantine, leaving the house without telling her son or taking her phone, intending to return before long. When she falls a long night of worry, regret and fear begins. The Fell’s narrative flits in and out of its characters’ heads as the night unfolds, the perfect device for a novel set during lockdown when many of us spent so much time with our preoccupations. Cover image for The Woman From Uruguay by Pedro Mairal

Pedro Mairal’s, The Woman from Uruguay, reads almost like a confessional as Lucas looks back over the day he left his Argentinean home for Uruguay, planning to pick up the advances for his next books and visit his lover, a day that changed his life in entirely unexpected ways. A year later, Lucas tells his wife what really happened that day. I enjoyed this novella, full of atmospheric descriptions that summon up its backdrop in clean, elegant prose, expertly translated by Jennifer Croft. Mairal is a writer new to me and I’m hoping that more of his backlist will become available here in the UK. 

Cover image for The Selfless Act of Breathing by J J BolaI suspect J J Bola’s The Selfless Act of Breathing is one of those books that could go either way for me. It’s about a millennial Londoner who’s taken himself off to America having decided to end his life once his money runs out despite the promising future that appears to lie ahead for him. ‘As he grapples with issues bigger than him – political conflict, environmental desecration, police brutality – Michael seeks to find his place within a world that is complicated and unwelcoming’ say the publishers. Interesting premise but I’m prepared for disappointment.  Cover image for Hex by Jenni Fagan

I loved Jenni Fagan’s Luckenbooth which should have won all the prizes as far as I’m concerned. Her new one, Hex, sees a convicted witch facing execution visited by a woman claiming to come from a future where misogyny is still rife. Over the night, Geillis recounts the events that have led up to her imprisonment while Iris consoles her. ‘Hex is a visceral depiction of what happens when a society is consumed by fear and superstition, exploring how the terrible force of a king’s violent crusade against ordinary women can still be felt, right up to the present day’ according to the blurb. 

Cover image for Pity the Beast by Robin McLeanI’m slightly put off Robin McLean’s Pity the Beast by the mention of ‘philosophical mules’ in the blurb but the rest of it is promising enough to overlook that. Ginny is the talk of her local community having slept with the man who lives next door to the family ranch she and her husband run. There’s no contrition or regret, outraging those who think women like Ginny should know their place. ‘It is a novel that turns our assumptions about the West, masculinity, good and evil, and the very nature of storytelling onto their heads, with an eye to the cosmic as well as the comic. It urges us to write our stories anew-if we want to avoid becoming beasts ourselves’ say the publishers, making me want to read it.  

That’s it for October’s paperbacks. As ever, a click on a title will take you either to my review or to a more detailed synopsis should you want to know more, and if you’d like to catch up with the month’s new fiction, it’s here

15 thoughts on “Paperbacks to Look Out For Out for in October 2022 ”

  1. I didn’t get on with The Fell at all, and found it the least enjoyable (wrong word here, I know!) of her books. From this selection, I’m most likely to look for the Pedro Mairal I think..

  2. I wonder how The Fell will do now, especially as we have moved on from lockdowns. Will people want to be reminded of that time? I’m not sure they will… In some ways, the timing feels a little unfortunate – too late to feel ‘current’ and in the moment, yet too soon to look back with interest? I’d be interested in your views…

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