A Dance with Dragons, by George R.R. Martin. The long-awaited fifth instalment in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, from the man dubbed the American Tolkien. Follow our blogger's progress through his books and watch this space for an exclusive interview.
The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan. Attention fans of True Blood and The Passage: we’ve found your next read. Just when you’re had enough of vampire books, here comes Glen Duncan with his bawdy, bloody tale of The Last Werewolf. Duncan’s novel is narrated by Jake Marlowe, the world’s last living lycanthrope. Two hundred years is a long time to be living under a curse, and make no mistake: a curse is just what being a werewolf is. Making matters worse, werewolves have been hunted practically to extinction. Besides the sex, cancer-free smoking and the scotch, not much to live for; so Jake has decided to end it all at the next full moon … but fate has other plans for him. Dark and funny, graphic (both in terms of sex and violence, sometimes simultaneously), and that rare thing—a literary horror novel that doubles as a page-turner.
The Cat's Table, by Michael Ondaatje. This new novel follows two boys on an ocean liner bound for England in the early 1950s. Early supposition is that this work is somewhat biographical; it has been compared to an earlier Ondaatje work, the mix of memoir and fiction that is Running in the Family.
Reamde, by Neal Stephenson. In the tradition of Stephenson’s works, this is a big one, at 960 pages. Perhaps the best description one can use about Stephenson is that there’s nobody out there writing like him right now (a customer once described him to me as Thomas Pynchon as written by William Gibson)—if you’re interested in technology, history, conspiracy and alternate history, this is the man for you. This novel is being described as a thriller concerning a tech entrepreneur getting caught up in his own online war game.
River of Smoke, by Amitav Ghosh. The second instalment in the Ibis Trilogy, following Sea of Poppies. A novel of the Opium Wars, this title has been highlighted in an earlier instalment of the Indigo Fiction Blog— in an interview with Amitav Ghosh, here.
The Virgin Cure, by Ami McKay. The followup novel to the critically and commercially acclaimed Heather’s Pick The Birth House, this novel centers around an orphan—a daughter abandoned by her father and sold by her mother—negotiating the New York slums of 1871.
Nightwoods, by Charles Frazier. Cold Mountain was a critical (and a personal) favourite, and it’s follow-up was not as well received. Nightwoods has the potential to be another winner: the description makes it sound like Night of the Hunter, which puts it right in Southern Gothic territory. Taking place in 1960’s North Carolina, a woman who is a virtual hermit is forced to take care of her sister’s twin children after that sister is murdered by her husband. After a quick acquittal, the father comes looking for the children.
The Marriage Plot, by Jeffrey Eugenides. It’s been a long time since the Oprah selected Middlesex, and Eugenides’ new novel looks to be a book about love, and books, and the love of books. An earlier instalment of the Indigo Fiction Blog provided a teaser, here.
1Q84, by Haruki Murakami. Being called Murakami’s Magnum Opus (which I thought I already read—The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle—but Murakami doesn’t do small very much anymore), an ode to Orwell’s 1984, but I’d bet my house this is more of a mind-bender. A massive seller in Japan, when released in three volumes, the American version weighs in at 928 pages, is being called an essential Japanese novel (and check out that Chip Kidd cover! Looks like a transparent plastic book jacket to me).
Zone One, by Colson Whitehead. If someone had to write the postmodern zombie novel, I’m glad it’s Whitehead, and I hope it gets him the recognition he deserves. An essential New York writer, this new book sounds like World War Z in that it’s a different spin on the zombie novel, with a little more focus on how the world has changed after a cataclysmic event, rather than the blood and guts. When he unveiled it on Twitter, he described it as being about the “rehabilitation of NYC after the apocalypse.”
The Dovekeepers, by Alice Hoffman. Five years in the making and being called Hoffman’s masterpiece, a historical novel about women in ancient Israel.
11-22-63—Under the Dome was called King’s best work in years, & his first novel since is certainly intriguing. I’ve been calling this ‘Back to the Future meets Don DeLillo’s Libra,’ and thematically, it seems to hearken back to his own work The Dead Zone. King’s novel centers around a protagonist who finds a time portal in his small-town Maine diner that takes him back to 1958. He goes through, works to discover the nature of the JFK assassination, finds a way to stop it, and waits. After successfully thwarting the assassination, he returns to our present, and in a Twilight Zone twist, he finds a nuclear wasteland. He’s left with one choice: to undo his own actions, before radiation poisoning kills him. King has been talking about writing a time-travel book for years, and now it's here—check out the back cover above, for a taste of alternate history from Stephen King.