As we enter November most books coverage leans towards ‘best of the year’ roundups. However, don’t forget, there are still exceptional new titles coming out! This month we have chilling crime, dystopian polemics, incredible translated fiction, speculative thrillers, and mindblowing autofiction.
Ways to Hide in Winter by Sarah St. Vincent
(Melville House , 9781612197203, h/b, £17.99)
In a remote corner of Pennsylvania’s Blue Ridge Mountains, a woman befriends a fugitive, setting in motion this suspenseful, atmospheric, politically-charged debut.
After a freak car accident left her widowed, Kathleen has retreated to Pennsylvania, where she works in an isolated corner of the state park. There she meets a stranger who seems to be hiding from the authorities in his native Uzbekistan. As the violent secrets of their pasts unfold, the difference between good and evil proves more complicated than we might think… and a surprising final twist casts Kathleen in a new light altogether.
Severance by Ling Ma
(Text, 9781925773279, p/b, £10.99)
An original, sharp and funny literary debut that explores themes of belonging, alienation, late-capitalism, over-consumption and the immigrant experience.
Candace Chen, a millennial drone self-sequestered in a Manhattan office tower, is devoted to routine: her work, watching movies with her boyfriend, avoiding thoughts of her recently deceased Chinese immigrant parents. So she barely notices when a plague of biblical proportions sweeps the world. Candace joins a small group of survivors, led by the power-hungry Bob, on their way to the Facility, where, Bob promises, they will have everything they need to start society anew. But Candace is carrying a secret she knows Bob will exploit. Should she escape from her rescuers?
None So Blind by Alis Hawkins
(Dome, 9781912534036, p/b, £8.99)
First instalment in a new, historical crime series set in West Wales in the
mid-1800s, featuring coroner Harry Probert-Lloyd.
When an old tree root is dug up, the remains of a young woman are found. Harry Probert-Lloyd, a young barrister forced home from London by encroaching blindness, has been dreading this discovery. He knows exactly whose bones they are. Working with his clerk, John Davies, Harry is determined to expose the guilty. But the investigation turns up more questions than answers. The search for the truth will prove costly. But will Harry and John pay the highest price?
No Good Asking by Fran Kimmel
(ECW, 9781770414389, p/b, £11.99)
In a world that seems increasingly polarised and fraught with distrust, No Good Asking zeros in on the healing that can occur when neighbours help neighbours.
When Eric finds Hannah Finch, the girl across the road, wandering alone in the bitter cold, his rusty police instincts kick in, and he soon discovers there are bad things happening in the girl’s house. With nowhere else to send her, the Nylands reluctantly agree to let Hannah stay with them until she can find a new home after the Christmas holidays. But Hannah proves to be more balm than burden, and the Nylands discover that the only thing harder than taking Hannah in may be letting her go.
Moon of Crusted Snow by Waubgeshig Rice
(ECW, 9781770414006, p/b, £12.99)
A daring post-apocalyptic thriller set in a Canadian First Nations community.
With winter looming, a small northern Anishinaabe community goes dark. Cut off, people become passive and confused. Panic builds as the food supply dwindles. While the council and community members struggle to maintain order, an unexpected visitor arrives, escaping the crumbling society to the south. Soon after, others follow. Frustrated by the building chaos, a group of young friends and their families turn to the land and Anishinaabe tradition in hopes of helping their community thrive again. Guided through the chaos by an unlikely leader, they endeavour to restore order while grappling with a grave decision.
Farewell, My Orange by Iwanki Kei; translated by Meredith McKinney
(Europa, 9781609454784, p/b, £11.99)
Two immigrant women navigate isolation, a new language, and devastating loss on their way to a lifelong friendship.
Far from her native country of Nigeria and living as a single mother, Salima works the night shift at the meat department of a supermarket in small-town Australia. She pushes herself to sign up for an ESL class and, at the group’s first meeting, meets Sayuri, who has come to Australia from Japan. When Sayuri’s daughter dies in daycare and one of Salima’s boys leaves to live with his father, the two women look to one another for encouragement and support. Improving upon their conversational skills in English with each lesson, each one finds her life gradually improving.
Diaries of Emilio Renzi: The Happy Years by Ricardo Piglia; translated by Robert Croll
(Restless Books, 9781632061980, p/b, £16.99)
The second instalment of Argentine literary giant Ricardo Piglia’s acclaimed bibliophilic trilogy follows his alter ego, Emilio Renzi, as his literary career
begins to take off.
The second instalment of Argentine literary giant Ricardo Piglia’s acclaimed bibliophilic trilogy follows his alter ego, Emilio Renzi, as his literary career begins to take off in the tumultuous years 1968-1975 – running a magazine, working as a publisher, and encountering the literary stars among whom he would soon take his place: Borges, Puig, Roa Bastos, Pinera.
Darwin’s Ghosts by Ariel Dorfman
(Seven Stories, 9781609808242, h/b, £20)
How does the sordid story behind human zoos which flourished in nineteenth century Europe connect to a boy’s life a hundred years later?
The story of a man whose distant past comes to haunt him. On Fitzroy Foster’s fourteenth birthday on September 11, 1981, he receives an unexpected and unwelcome gift: when his father snaps his picture with a Polaroid, another person’s image appears in the photo. Fitzroy and his childhood sweetheart, Cam, set out on a decade-long journey in search of this stranger’s identity – and to reinstate his own – across seas and continents, into the far past and the evil and good that glint in the eyes of the elusive visitor.
Breach by W. L. Goodwater
(Ace, 9780451491039, p/b, £13.99)
The first novel in a new Cold War fantasy series, where the Berlin Wall is made entirely of magic.
When a breach unexpectedly appears in the wall, spies from both sides swarm to the city as World War III threatens to spark. A young magician with the American Office of Magical Research and Deployment, is sent to investigate the breach in the Wall and determine if it can be fixed. Instead, she discovers that the truth is elusive in this divided city – and that even magic itself has its own agenda. The truth of the wall is about to be revealed.
131 Different Things by Zachary Lipez, Nick Zinner & Stacy Wakefield
(Akashic, 9781617756672, h/b, £24.99)
An intimate novella of love and loss wrought from ‘found’ objects of the cultural underground, that rediscovers the magical possibilities of the book form.
When a bartender in New York hears that his ex, Vicki (his one true love), has quit AA and is out drinking again, he embarks on a quest to find her. Sam and his sidekick Francis know everyone in Lower Manhattan, so even though it’s December 2006, the last moment before smartphones, how hard can it be? As they trek from dive bars to gay bars to rocker bars, encountering skinheads, party promoters, underage drug dealers, and dominatrixes, Sam and Francis are always one step behind Vicki. It begins to seem like 131 different things are keeping the lovers apart. Before the night is over, Sam will have to wrestle with what he is really looking for.
- Post by Rachel