The first selection of August titles I have my eye on were all about the USA. This one ranges further afield, heading south first with Clancy Martin’s Love in Central America. Brett embarks on a passionate, destructive affair with her husband’s friend which sees her slipping away for weeks with her lover and blacking out in hotels. Brett knows what she’s doing but finds it impossible to stop. Included in the publisher’s blurb is this sharp little quote – ‘Cheating on your husband is like doing cocaine… …It’s rarely a pleasure, but try quitting’ – which is enough to sell the novel to me, and that is such a stylish jacket.
Off to Spain but still in the land of relationships, Gonzalo Torné’s Divorce is in the Air sees Joan-Marc telling his estranged second wife all about his past, beginning with the breakdown of his first marriage and the holiday that was meant to save it. As the story of his life unfolds in a series of flashbacks we learn of his first sexual encounter, his father’s suicide and his mother’s breakdown. Described by the publisher as ‘an unapologetic exploration of memory, nostalgia, romance, the ways in which the past takes hold – a powerful portrait of a man struggling with his illusions about life and love’ this is the first novel by Torné to be translated in to English and sounds very promising.
Helen Sedgwick’s The Comet Seekers takes us to Antarctica where Róisín and François meet for the first time. Róisín is from an Irish hamlet, passionate about science. François was raised by his beautiful young mother, unable to turn her back on her past. Their stories unfold separately, joining only when a comet is visible in the sky. ‘Theirs are stories filled with love and hope and heartbreak, that show how strangers can be connected and ghosts can be real, and the world can be as lonely or as beautiful as the comets themselves’ say the publishers in a somewhat overblown blurb. There’s a great deal of pre-publicity hoo-ha about this one which doesn’t always bode well but both the setting and the parallel story idea appeal.
And finally, on surer ground, Joan London’s The Golden Age takes us to Australia where thirteen-year-old Frank Gold’s family have escaped Second World War Hungary. Frank is sent to the eponymous hospital shortly after they arrive, diagnosed with polio. There he meets and falls in love with Elsa, scandalising the staff. Meanwhile Frank’s parents struggle with finding their way in this strange new place, so different from the country they’ve fled. ‘With tenderness and humor, The Golden Age tells a deeply moving story about illness and recovery. It is a book about learning to navigate the unfamiliar, about embracing music, poetry, death, and, most importantly, life’ say the publishers. I’ve enjoyed London’s previous novels very much so have high hopes for this one.
That’s it for August’s new novels. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis, and if you’d like to catch up with part one here it is. Paperbacks soon…