The weather outside is frightful, but our December fiction list is so delightful! Whether you are tucked into a box of Celebrations in front of the fire, panicking about what book to gift the reader in your life, or simply looking for a respite from silly season — look no further to find your next favourite read.
NDA: An Autofiction Anthology, edited by Caitlin Forst
Archway Editions, 9781576879931, p/b, £15.99, 08/12/2022
If you’re in the mood to explore new voices this Christmas, what better way than with this literary feast. NDA, a spanking new anthology of exciting autofiction, is the perfect journey into narrative form. Blending the personal and the creative, autofiction is a form that was invented in France in the 1970s but has recently seen a surge in popularity as it allows the writer to engage with the text in a whole new way and makes for a lively and captivating reading experience. Featuring both the established and the up-and-coming, NDA produces a contemporary and subversive primer of works that is the perfect treat for any literature lover.
Big Red: A Novel Starring Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles by Jerome Charyn
No Exit Press, 9780857305244, p/b, £9.99, 01/12/2022
In this powerful piece of historical fiction, and our pick for December’s Book of the Month, you are invited to enter into the Golden Age of movies. Jerome Charyn masterfully unveils the glitz and glamour of 1940s cinema to chart the iconic success of film star Rita Hayworth and her brief marriage to Orson Welles with both humour and tender loving care. For fans of City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and the recent biopic of Marilyn Monroe, Blonde, this is the perfect book to wrap up in this Christmas. Get set to escape to 1940s Hollywood. Read more about Big Red here!
Two Steps Onward by Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist
Text Publishing Company, 9781922458865, p/b, £8.99, 08/12/2022
From Graeme Simsion, author of the beloved and bestselling series The Rosie Project, and his partner in crime Anne Buist, author of the highly acclaimed thriller The Long Shadow, comes the immensely anticipated sequel to Two Steps Forward. Two Steps Onward is about helping the people you love, and knowing when to let go; figuring out what you really want in life; and seizing your chances, before it’s too late. Three years after their last encounter, Californian artist Zoe and English engineer Martin have the exciting opportunity to reunite by embarking on another European pilgrimage. Full of heartwarming laughter and charm, this is a book you’ll read in one sitting — once you pick it up, you won’t be able to put it down again!
The Bookseller’s Notebooks by Jalal Barjas, translated by Paul G. Starkey
Interlink Books, 9781623718206, p/b, £16.99, 15/12/2022
A modern-day Don Quixote, Ibrahim al-Warraq becomes homeless after losing his job and refuge and assumes the identities of various heroes from his favourite novels. Told over the course of several stories about people who are each facing different hardships, the novel as an overall collective reveals the importance of home and the house as a homeland in a way both gut-wrenching and profound. Told in deeply poetic language, The Booksellers’ Notebooks is a whirlwind opera of a piece.
My Annihilation by Fuminori Nakamura, translated by Sam Bett
Soho Crime, 9781641294072, p/b, £9.99, 08/12/2022
Dive headfirst into murky depths, where a heinous crime has taken place and you, the reader, are implicated. Told in the style of a confessional diary, My Annihilation allows you no escape from the psychological inner-workings of a killer and takes you to the darkest trenches of humanity. Nakamura is a master of literary noir, fuelling further the already rich tradition of crime and mystery in Japanese literature — this book, sure to be a hit amongst fans of The Memory Police by Yoko Ogawa, is going to become part of the canon, mark my words.
Bibliolepsy by Gina Apostol
Soho Press, 9781641294119, p/b, £15.99, 08/12/2022
Set during the mid-1980s, Bibliolepsy offers a smart and sexy approach to unveiling life in the Philippines during the brutal rule of Ferdinand Marcos. Primi Peregrino manages to see the prevalent civil unrest and recession as an opportunity — an opportunity to track down authors and become their love interest. A love letter to the written word, Bibliolepsy brilliantly portrays a young woman’s need to escape amongst societal hardship, the flights of fancy that books can offer any reader, and a yearning for another world.
Queer Little Nightmares: An Anthology of Monstrous Fiction and Poetry, edited by David Ly & Daniel Zomparelli
Arsenal Pulp Press, 9781551529011, p/b, £17.99, 15/12/2022
A collection of poetry and prose that looks at monsters new and old through a queer lens as they, marginalised in society, seek identity and belonging. It’s time to put them in the spotlight. At once funny and scary, Queer Little Nightmares serves as a coming out party of sorts for horror icons, such as Pennywise, Godzilla, Theseus and the Minotaur, vampires, and so on. Pushed into the shadows, viewed as objects of fear and repulsion, non-conforming in society, it’s pretty safe to say that monsters are queer icons, and this anthology is sure to make anyone feel seen over the festive period.