Books to Look Out For Out for in November 2022: Part One

Cover image for Bourneville by Jonathan Coe Enough juicy novels due in November to more than make up for a thin October beginning with Jonathan Coe’s new one which sees him back on home ground giving me hope for a return to form after the major disappointment of the Costa-winning Middle England, at least for me. Bournville follows a family living in the town made famous by chocolate from VE Day in 1945 through seventy five years of social change. ‘From one of Britain’s best-loved novelists comes a story for our times, a story that is by turns unsettling and profoundly moving, brutally funny and brilliantly true’ promise the publishers. Cover image for The Peckham Experiment by Guy Ware

Continuing the social history theme, Guy Ware’s The Peckham Experiment follows two brothers, identical twins orphaned by the Blitz, who grew up taking part in the Peckham Experiment, emerging from it keen to build a new world. As eighty-five-year-old Charlie gets ready for his brother’s funeral, he has many memories to relive. ‘It’s a story of how we got to where we are today told in a voice – opinionated, witty, garrulous, indignant, guilty, deluded and, as the night wears on, increasingly drunken – that sucks us in to both the idealism and the corruption it depicts, leaving us wondering just where we stand’ say the publishers. Very much like the sound of that.

Cover image for Limberlost by Robbie Arnott The rest of November’s new fiction travels around the world beginning with Tasmanian author Robbie Arnott’s coming-of-age story set in the 1940s with the Second World War a distant hum. Limberlost follows fifteen-year-old Ned through a summer spent hunting rabbits in the hopes of saving enough money to buy a boat, coming within sight of fulfilling his dream only to have it shattered. By the time school begins again the war is at an end, and Ned has begun to grow into the man he will later become. I loved this novel even more than Arnott’s debut, Flames of which I was a huge fan. Review shortly…

David Cameron’s (no, not that one) Femke is set in Amsterdam where Femke lives with her loyal dog, Bibi. After an affair with a Cover image for Femke by David Cameron filmmaker, Femke befriends Michel de Koning, an ageing poet whose intriguing past sets her on a path to discover the truth. What she finds reveals as much about herself and her own uncertain world as it does about de Koning and his beloved ‘M’, the source of his inspiration. ‘Written with a clear poetic sensibility and strong echoes of European Modernism, Femke is a celebration of the stories we tell ourselves and one another, the elusiveness of our fleeting connections, and the complex power dynamics between poet and muse’ according to the publishers. Always a sucker for an Amsterdam setting and that premise sounds very promising.

Cover image for A Sabbatical in Leipzig by Adrian Duncan I loved Adrian Duncan’s beautifully crafted Notes From a German Building Site back in 2019 which makes me keen to read A Sabbatical in Leipzig. Now living in Bilbao where he makes daily visits to celebrated sculptor Richard Serra’s The Matter of Time at the Guggenheim, an engineer remembers the five years he spent in Germany with his late girlfriend, a ‘sabbatical’ triggered by a period of work stress and the suicide of a colleague. ‘Intensely realistic, mapped out like Michael’s intricate drawings, this is a novel of precision and beguiling intelligence’ says the blurb. It was Duncan’s elegant use of language that stood out for me in his previous novel and I’m hoping for more of the same. Cover image for 1,000 Coils of Fear by Olivia Wenzel

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Olivia Wenzel’s 1,000 Coils of Fear. Wenzel is a mixed-race German who grew up in the old East, a dramatist, musician and performer who’s turned her hand to fiction. Her debut draws heavily on her own life, apparently, following an unnamed narrator whose mother was an East German punk and whose father returned to Angola before she was born. It’s an almost impossible book to summarise, much of it made up of long passages of questions and answers in which we’re never entirely sure who the questioner is. A challenging, impressive and striking novel, it left me with a good deal to think about. Review to follow…

That’s it for the first instalment of November’s new fiction. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you want to know more. Part two soon…

26 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in November 2022: Part One”

      1. Bournville sounds great. A town known for it’s chocolate. Limber lost is on my reading list and sounds moving. Femke sounds very literary with a bit of detective work and some insight.

  1. I’ve not read anything by Coe but a novel that involves chocolate has to be worth trying. I bet the marketing promo for this Involved bars of Bourneville.

  2. Very intruiged by the Jonathan Coe, it’s years since I read anything by him. I didn’t manage to get to the recent ones. I love the sound of Bournville, set in probably one of the prettiest parts of this city.

  3. I’ve got the Coe from NetGalley and was amused to see a book with Peckham in the title after it on your post as I currently live near Bournville and used to live in Peckham!

  4. Bourneville sounds really interesting, Susan, especially given the focus on social change. Haven’t read Middle England, but I loved Coe’s last novel Mr Wilder and Me, a warm, generous, thoroughly enjoyable read!

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