Books to Look Out For Out for in May 2024: Part Two

Cover image for Long Island by Colm ToibinAll but one of the books in this second instalment of May’s new fiction are by Irish writers, beginning with one from one of my favourites. Colm Tóibín’s Long Island is the sequel to his much-loved Brooklyn, taking up the story of Eilis Lacey in the 1970s, twenty years after we left her. Eilis is living with her husband and children in their Long Island home when some shocking news takes her back to Ireland and a way of life she’d long put behind her. ‘A novel of enormous wit and profound emotional resonance from one of the world’s finest writers’ says the blurb promisingly. I’m not one for sequels, with the honourable exception of Louise Welsh’s The Second Cut, but there’ll be no resisting this one.Cover image for Earth by John Boyne

I enjoyed Water, the first in John Boyd’s novella cycle, although not quite as much as I’d expected. Set in the world of professional football, the second, Earth, is narrated by Evan, accused of being an accessory to his fellow teammate’s rape of a young woman. An extraordinarily talented footballer, Evan is a reluctant star, turning to the game after running away from home and suffering a series of setbacks. His desire for the arrogant self-absorbed Robbie is tacit but known and exploited. Several bombshells are dropped into Evan’s gripping, thought-provoking narrative, bringing readers up short as we learn more of his brief life. Although I was a little unconvinced by the ending, I finished Earth looking forward to the next instalment. Review soon…

Cover image for Evenings and Weekends by Ois N McKennaIn Oisin McKenna’s Evenings and Weekends things come to a head for a group of characters whose lives intersect. Ed wants to settle down with Maggie, pregnant broke and stuck in the same town she was desperate to get away from, but he has history with her best friend Phil who is in a job he hates and is nursing a crush on his housemate who already has a boyfriend. ‘Taking place over two blisteringly hot days in the feverish capital, this is an addictive drama, painfully relatable to anyone living for the evenings and weekends’ according to the blurb. Very much like the sound of that.Cover image for The Coast Road by Alan Murrin

Set in 1994, Alan Murrin’s debut, The Coast Road, explores the state of three marriages – one broken and two under strain. None of the three wives in this perceptive novel are happy but divorce is not an option, leaving all three dependent on their husbands in an Ireland where women are still expected to tread a traditional path. By the end of the novel, a referendum on divorce is in the offing. Its result won’t be the solution for everyone but it will help some. No great literary fireworks here but I enjoyed this absorbing novel which has particularly strong cast of female characters. Review to follow…

Cover image for Mouthing by Orla MackeyOrla Mackey’s Mouthing tells the story of Ballyrowan through several generations of its inhabitants in their own voices, most of them unreliable narrators, apparently not averse to knifing each other in the back or to tormenting each other. Feuds are passed on like batons, families are estranged and reunited, fortunes made and lost all chronicled in ‘merciless mouthing’. Mackey’s novel is an acerbic, unsentimental love letter to rural Irish life, where everyone knows everyone else’s business and everyone has an opinion on it – where ‘community’ is both a lifeboat and a life sentence’ according to the blurb which sounds wonderful.Coer image for Table for Two by Amor Towles

May’s short fiction collection is Amor Towles’ Table for Two made up of six stories all set in New York around the year 2000 plus a novella set in Golden Age Hollywood. Described by the publisher as a ‘noirish tale’, Eve in Hollywood follows Evelyn Ross from Towles’ novel Rules of Civility as she sets out on a new life in Los Angeles. ‘Written with his signature wit, humor, and sophistication, Table for Two is another glittering addition to Towles’s canon of stylish and transporting fiction’ says the blurb promisingly. Keen to read this one – I loved Rules of Civility.

That’s it for May’s new fiction. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you want to know more, and if you’d like to catch up with part one it’s here. Paperbacks soon…

31 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in May 2024: Part Two”

  1. Oh yes, Long Island goes straight to the to the top of the list. I see our library service has ordered no fewer than 17 copies! I shared your slight disappointment in Water, but Earth goes on the list too. But all your other suggestions look pretty tasty too…

  2. A good selection of Irish writers on the list, some which are new to me. Colm’s book is much anticipated and hevis appearing at a number of Irish Literary festivals over the coming months. I love his work. I am interested in reading Amor Towles work, his novels get great reviews and some are being adapted for TV. Thank you for the suggestions.

  3. I have review copies of two of these – the Toibin and the Towles – and am looking forward to both, although I’m a bit apprehensive about revisiting the characters from Brooklyn after so long. But the one that appeals most from these is Mouthing – if it lives up to its blurb it should be great!

  4. Weren’t you shocked to hear there’s a sequel to Brooklyn?! I never would have expected it.

    I read all of Towles’ books a few weeks ago to review Table for Two (I’d started them a couple of times but they were always due back at the library sooner than I thought…for older novels, they seem to be endlessly in demand!) If you loved Rules, I think you’ll enjoy the collection very much. Especially the second half, with Eve’s story.

      1. I’ve just realised that I receive notifications that you ‘like’ my comments but no notifications that you’ve replied to them, so if I’ve not answered something you’ve asked in a reply or not responded to something that invited a response, that’s why. I don’t think the settings were always like this (quite likely it’s somethiing I’ve adjusted on my end, unwittingly) but just thought I’d best say as, if it’s a WP mystery, I suppose others might be encountering it as well.

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