Tuesday, September 4, 2012

5 Fiction titles to Watch for in September (plus The Casual Vacancy which you've probably already heard about)

Labour Day is past and with it the unofficial end to the summer. At least we have the Fall publishing blitz to look forward to as the nights grow cooler and the days grow shorter.

In picking 5 works of fiction being released this September to highlight, I thought it might seem like an oversight if I didn't mention the September 27th release of The Casual Vacancy (M) (the first novel for grownups by Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling). Everyone is going to be talking about it, so it feels a bit like we should be too, but I also wanted to focus on books that you might not otherwise hear of. So, I'm trying for the best of both worlds: see how I've mentioned the J.K. Rowling book while pretending to not mention it at all?

Here are 5 more books to watch for this September:

Anna From Away (M) by D.R. MacDonald (September 11). Born in Cape Breton, but raised in the US where he still lives (part of the year anyway), D.R MacDonald sticks to his roots with his fiction. The author of a number of Cape Breton set books returns to the island for his latest, a story that, like his own life, mixes settings both US and NS. Anna arrives in Cape Breton after leaving an unsuccessful marriage in California only to find new love in an almost deserted Cape Breton village. The publisher promises it "is a superbly crafted tale of love after love, a novel rich in atmosphere and infused with lyrical descriptions of land and sea."

J.K. Rowling may get the international fiction buzz, but locally a new book from Donna
Morrissey also gets the star treatment. The Deception of Livvy Higgs (M) (September 18)is the latest from the Newfoundland born, Halifax based author.

From the publisher: "For two traumatic days, Livvy Higgs is besieged by a series of small heart attacks while the ghost of her younger self leads her back through a past devastated by lies and secrets." Set in both Halifax and Newfoundland, in the present and the past, the publisher teases "In The Deception of Livvy Higgs, the inimitable Morrissey has written a powerful tale, the Stone Angel of the East Coast."

Something Red (M) by Douglas Nicholas (September 18). A first novel by an American poet, I initially read about this back in the spring. It was good timing, the book synopsis had a real Game of Thrones feel for me at a time when Game of Thrones was my chief pop culture reference. It sounds more like suspenseful fiction with an historical setting than high fantasy, but whatever description I read back in May had an ominous "winter is coming" ring to it. Set in 13th Century northern England in the grips of the coldest winters ever, a group of people, including a powerful healer make a trip by wagon through the cold, but something mysterious is following them and the danger—from the elements and from what pursues them—is mounting. The publisher calls it "a haunting story of love, murder, and sorcery."

Toploader (M) by Ed O'Loughlin (September 18). I've been seeing a lot of early buzz for this second novel from the Canadian born, Irish raised author whose journalism career has led him all over the globe. Here's the jacket description from the Advanced Reading Copy "If Catch 22 and Dr. Strangelove had a love child in the war-ravaged Middle East, it would be Toploader, a darkly comic novel about the modern imperialist experiment. Set in the occupied zone of an unnamed country and packed with unforgettable "characters"—including at lest on very unfortunate donkey and a crucially important American-made washing machine—it's the perfect novel for our uncertain times."

For all my talk about highlighting some lesser known books, my last book is actually by a big name writer as well: but I'm just so excited about the release of NW (M) by Zadie Smith (September 4) that I can't help myself. It's been 7 years since Smith's last novel—2005's ode to Howard's End, On Beauty (M) and the wait for a new novel from Smith has been a tough one for me. In NW, Smith returns to London as a setting, with a story that promises to have some of the feel of her multi-prize-winning first novel White Teeth (M).

From the publisher: "This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between. Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds...Zadie Smith's brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan - as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end."

1 comment:

  1. On SOMETHING RED: There's a strong supernatural element. At its core it's a werewolf tale. Well, a shapeshifter tale, to be precise.


    Douglas Nicholas