A fabulous selection of new Contemporary Fiction this month, deciding what to read first will be a hard decision with new novels by great writers, such as Louis De Bernieres, Alice Hoffman, Harper Lee, Tom McCarthy and Jane Urquhart.
Broken promise / Linwood Barclay.
“After his wife’s death and the collapse of his newspaper, David Harwood has no choice but to uproot his nine-year-old son and move back into his childhood home in Promise Falls, New York. David believes his life is in free fall, and he can’t find a way to stop his descent. Then he comes across a family secret of epic proportions.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The dust that falls from dreams / Louis de Bernières.
“In the brief golden years of the Edwardian era the Rosie McCosh and her three sisters are growing up in an idyllic household in the countryside south of London. With their neighbors, the two Pitt brothers and the three Pendennis boys, they are “the Pals”. But these days of childhood camaraderie and adventure are brought to an abrupt end by the outbreak of World War I, in which some will lose their lives, some their loved ones, some their faith, and all of them their innocence.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
I’d walk with my friends if I could find them / Jesse Goolsby.
“Wintric Ellis joins the army as soon as he graduates from high school, saying goodbye to his girlfriend, Kristen, and to the backwoods California town whose borders have always been the limits of his horizon. Deployed in Afghanistan two years into a directionless war, he struggles to find his bearings in a place where allies could at any second turn out to be foes. Two career soldiers, Dax and Torres, take Wintric under their wing. Together, these three men face an impossible choice: risk death or commit a harrowing act of war. The aftershocks of the war echo long after each returns home to a transfigured world, where his own children may fear to touch him and his nightmares still hold sway.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Harrison squared / Daryl Gregory.
“Harrison Harrison, H2 to his mother, is a lonely teenager who’s been terrified of the water ever since he was a toddler in California, when a huge sea creature capsized their boat, and his father vanished. One of the “sensitives” who are attuned to the supernatural world, Harrison and his mother have just moved to the worst possible place for a boy like him: Dunnsmouth, a Lovecraftian town perched on rocks above the Atlantic, where strange things go on by night, monsters lurk under the waves, and creepy teachers run the local high school. On Harrison’s first day at school, his mother, a marine biologist, disappears at sea. Harrison must attempt to solve the mystery of her accident, which puts him in conflict with a strange church, a knife-wielding killer, and the Deep Ones, fish-human hybrids that live in the bay. It will take all his resources-and an unusual host of allies-to defeat the danger and find his mother.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The marriage of opposites / Alice Hoffman.
“Growing up on idyllic St. Thomas in the early 1800s, Rachel dreams of life in faraway Paris. Rachel’s mother, a pillar of their small refugee community of Jews who escaped the Inquisition, has never forgiven her daughter for being a difficult girl who refuses to live by the rules. Growing up, Rachel’s salvation is their maid Adelle’s belief in her strengths, and her deep, life-long friendship with Jestine, Adelle’s daughter. But Rachel’s life is not her own. She is married off to a widower with three children to save her father’s business. When her husband dies suddenly and his handsome, much younger nephew, Frédérick, arrives from France to settle the estate, Rachel seizes her own life story, beginning a defiant, passionate love affair that sparks a scandal that affects all of her family, including her favorite son, who will become one of the greatest artists of France.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Death and Mr Pickwick / Stephen Jarvis.
“Death and Mr. Pickwick is a vast, richly imagined, Dickensian work about the rough-and-tumble world that produced an author who defined an age. Like Charles Dickens did in his immortal novels, Stephen Jarvis has spun a tale full of preposterous characters, shaggy-dog stories, improbable reversals, skullduggery, betrayal, and valor and all brilliantly brought to life.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Go set a watchman / Harper Lee.
“Twenty years after the trial of Tom Robinson, Scout returns home to Maycomb to visit her father and struggles with personal and political issues as her small Alabama town adjusts to the turbulent events beginning to transform the United States in the mid-1950s.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
Satin Island : a novel / Tom McCarthy.
“Meet U. a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their ‘corporate anthropologist’ to help decode and manipulate the world around them all the more so now that a giant, epoch-defining project is in the offing. Instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer-zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades. Is there, U. wonders, a secret logic holding all these images together, and a codex that, once cracked, will unlock the master-meaning of our age? Might it have something to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults, or the dead parachutists in the news?” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)
The year of the runaways / Sunjeev Sahota.
“Three young men from very different backgrounds come together in a journey from India to England, where they hope to begin something new. They hope to support their families where they can, to build their future, to show their worth, and to escape their past. They have almost no idea what awaits them. In a dilapidated shared house in Sheffield, Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his life in Bihar. Avtar has a secret that binds him to the unpredictable Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town, whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a visit. She is Narinder, and her story is the most surprising of them all.” (Adadapted from Syndetics summary)
The night stages : a novel / Jane Urquhart.
“A female pilot recalls her affair with a man obsessed with the disappearance of his brother. After a tragic accident leaves Tamara alone on the most westerly tip of Ireland, she begins an affair with a charismatic meteorologist named Niall. It’s the 1950s, and Tamara has settled into civilian life after working as an auxiliary pilot in World War II. At first her romance is filled with passionate secrecy, but when Niall’s younger brother, Kieran, disappears after a bicycle race, Niall, unable to shake the idea that he may be to blame, slowly falls into despondency. Distraught and abandoned after their decade-long relationship, Tamara decides she has no option but to leave.” (Adapted from Syndetics summary)