New Fiction Review of new book Review of new novel

Waiting for these new books

In my previous post I gave myself a stern warning to not have preconceived notions about new books from authors that I like and think I know. Their new book might be in a different style, be on a completely new subject, or fit into a different genre, which may or may not appeal to me. (After all, writers have no obligation to keep writing to the same recipe, regardless of how successful or well-loved their previous books have been.)

Bearing that in mind, below is a list of books that I have on my to-read list for the rest of the year and for early 2023. You can see from my comments that I have expectations of every one. It’s unavoidable – every reader has preconceived ideas and presuppositions (positive and negative) when they take up a new book. It makes it tricky for the author, but c’est la vie:

  • Brent Butt’s debut novel, HUGE. Due in 2022 some time; he’s found a publisher and the first draft is done – the working title is HUGE. My question is, can this successful Canadian humorist and comedian produce good fiction writing?
  • Tan Twan Eng‘s The House of Doors (March 2023) – his first since The Garden of Evening Mists (2012). It’s been a long time coming and I had been sort of convinced that Tan is a One Hit Wonder. Will he be able to match the success of his first novel?
  • L.E. Modesitt Jr.‘s Councilor (August 2022) – The sequel to Isolate. Definitely something enjoyable.
  • Sjón’s Red Milk – Finally available in English, translated from Icelandic, published Jan. 2022. Sounds highly politicized.
  • Julian BarnesElizabeth Finch (April 2022) – A story of platonic love. It may be dour. But I’d rather tackle this than The Man in the Red Coat (2019), his non-fiction work about medicine and gynaecology.
  • Brian Bilston‘s new poetry: Days Like These: An Alternative Guide to the Year in 366 Poems (October 2022). I am a fan. I will discipline myself and apply my mind to experiencing and understanding each poem.
  • David Sedaris‘ new collection of essays, Happy Go Lucky (May 2022). You know David Sedaris. It will be profound, weird, funny and sarcastic.
  • I thoroughly enjoyed the fictional diaries of the cantankerous Dutch pensioner, “Hendrik Groen“, by Pieter de Smet (pseudonym: “Hendrik Groen). Just cause it tickles my peculiar sense of humour, I’ll be ordering his two most recent novels, also in Dutch: Opgewekt naar de eindstreep: Het laatste geheime dagboek van Hendrik Groen, 90 jaar (2020), and Rust en Vreugd (2021) . The titles, roughly translated, are: “Cheerfully to the finish line – The last secret diary of Hendrik Groen, 90 years” and “Home and happiness”.

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