November 2017 : New Titles
A personal selection from a plethora of titles …
A bestseller in the author’s native Japan, this follows Satoru Miyawaki on a road-trip around Japan with his beloved cat Nana. Calling on old friends from his past, Satoru plans to give Nana to the person he believes will provide the best new home for him. “A life-affirming anthem to kindness and self-sacrifice,” says Transworld.
Doubleday, £9.99, 2nd November 2017, 9780857524188
William Boyd’s latest collection of short stories is terrific. I’d read one, then think, “Oh, just one more”, and then, “I can probably finish another before midnight”, and before I knew it, I’d finished the lot. Every story is compelling but if I had to pick a favourite it would probably be the lengthy title story about a young university drop-out who tries a succession of arts-related careers on for size, has a series of relationships with unsuitable men and boomerangs back to her mother’s flat in between, while always remaining hopeful about the future.
Viking, £14.99, 2nd November 2017, 9780241295878
This is Flanagan’s eagerly awaited first novel since The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which won the 2014 Man Booker Prize and, intriguingly, it is inspired by Flanagan’s very first writing job in 1991 when he was the ghostwriter on a memoir by a notorious Australian conman – who committed suicide during the writing process. In the novel, which is set in the 1990s, Kif Kehlmann is a broke writer living in Tasmania with a three-year-old daughter and a wife who is pregnant with twins. He is trying, and failing, to write his first novel while not quite making ends meet through casual labouring work. He has a wayward childhood friend, Ray, whose boss, the notorious conman and corporate criminal Siegfried Heidl, needs someone to ghostwrite his memoir in six weeks before he goes to trial for fraud to the tune of $700m. Kif takes the job, but comes to regret it. Not only does Heidl seem incapable of revealing anything at all about his life that is truthful, he seems overly interested in Kif’s. Gradually, Kif starts to fear that Heidl is somehow corrupting him. So who is Heidl really? And, when it comes down to it, who is Kif? Flanagan is scathingly funny about the world of publishing as seen from the point of view of an unpublished writer, but this is also a profound and thought-provoking novel that explores the nature of truth, lies and fiction. There will be a UK author tour on publication.
Chatto & Windus, £18.99, 2nd November 2017, 9781784742195
Intriguingly, this was first published in 1977 and the first run sold out in days, but, at the author’s request, it was never reprinted until after his death (in 2012). In the meantime it was so sought-after that people took to trading photocopies. After four days of rain Naples is deluged and the narrative delves into the minds of those who have suffered in the floods.
And Other Stories, £8.99, 14th November 2017, 9781911508069
In this honest memoir, “a uniquely illuminating account of how Britain and the world have changed in the past 40 years”, the former prime minister-“a person of deep principle and moral drive”-reflects on his time in office, as well as the near-loss of his sight as a young man, and the death of his baby daughter within days of her birth. There’s also a heart-stopping account of the financial crisis of 2008, and some harsh truths about Labour’s current condition. The public perception of him seems to have undergone a renaissance of late, and if it delivers as a political memoir, this may continue the process.
The Bodley Head Ltd, £25.00, 9th November 2017, 9781847924971
Billed as “an Eats, Shoots & Leaves for the internet age”, this is a lively book by Buzzfeed’s global copy chief about the new rules of writing in the age of social media, emojis and cyberslang. With arguments like “a world without ‘whom’ is a world with more room for writing that’s clear, timely, pleasurable and politically aware”, it’s bound to be controversial.
Bloomsbury Publishing PLC, £12.99, 16th November 2017, 9781408895023
This first illustrated history of The Face, the magazine launched in 1980 to cover music, fashion, photography and film, tracks the exciting highs and calamitous lows of its 24-year history.
Thames & Hudson Ltd, £34.95, 1st November 2017, 9780500293478
The food columnist author of the brilliant The DIY Cook nostalgically considers 100 classic household objects, from the Le Creuset casserole and the stripped pine table, to Philippe Starck lemon squeezers and chicken bricks, as he maps the development of our kitchens today.
Quadrille Publishing Ltd, £20.00, 1st November 2017, 9781787130906
Covetable gift celebration of watches, and stories about various men’s obsession with them; from the Daytona Rolex worn by Paul Newman every day for 35 years to Franklin D Roosevelt’s elegant gold Tiffany number. Stunning photography accompanies each story.
Artisan Division of Workman Publishing, £28.00, 1 November 2017, 9781579657147
Written with her daughter, this is said to be a powerful and life-affirming account of the time Dame Vera spent with the troops in wartime Burma, based in part on a diary she kept at the time, along with personal letters and photographs from surviving veterans and their families. In the year of her 100th birthday, she explains why it was such a life-defining time for her.
Century, £16.99, 16th November 2017, 9781780898346
Based on the author’s Instagram account @sadtopographies, this is billed as the world’s first atlas to explore the world’s most depressing place names and their etymology; from Disappointment Island in the Southern Ocean and Calamity Lake in Minnesota, to All Alone in West Yorkshire, and Crazy Woman Creek in Wyoming.
Simon & Schuster Ltd, £20.00, 30th November 2017, 9781471169298
The chief photographer at the White House with a lavishly illustrated commemoration of the Obama presidency in more than 300 moving and candid behind-the-scenes images. Souza’s personal Instagram account has attracted over a million followers since it was set up in early 2017. A coffee-table book you can weep over.
Allen Lane, £40.00, 7th November 2017, 9781846149641
“This is my journey in search of the traces of eight lost books as legendary as lode-bearing mines during the Gold Rush.” In this small, stylish hardback, the author sifts clues, pursues leads, and interviews experts to uncover the gripping and elegiac stories of eight vanished or destroyed tomes and their authors, including Lord Byron’s Memoirs, Ernest Hemingway’s Juvenalia, Nikolai Gogol’s Dead Souls Part II, Malcolm Lowry’s In Ballast to the White Sea, and Sylvia Plath’s unfinished second novel, Double Exposure. Translated from Italian by Simon Carnell and Erica Segre. I read it all in a single, enchanted sitting.
Pushkin Press, £12.99, 25th October 2017, 9781782273721
This customarily brilliant sounding fourth collection from the compiler of Letters of Note is a celebration of oratory old and new. The usual eclectic mix includes speeches by John Steinbeck, Barbra Streisand, John Cleese, Tilda Swinton, Roald Dahl and Nick Cave, along with some that were written down but never delivered, including one to be given by President Nixon in the event of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins not coming home.
Hutchinson, £25.00, 16th November 2017, 9781786331090
Lovely vintage cover for Horowitz’s take on the vintage crime novel, in which crime writer Alan Conway delivers another manuscript dealing with a murder in the 1950s to his editor, but there is a whole other story hidden in its pages, which editor Susan soon picks up. “Is there nothing Anthony Horowitz touches that doesn’t turn to gold?” said the Daily Express, while the Sunday Times called it “a relentlessly fast-paced and entertaining read”.
Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd ), £7.99, 16th November 2017, 9781409158387
The Goncourt-winning novel, translated by Frank Wynne, about a French war veteran, Victorien Salagnon, telling the story of his conflicts and his life. Called a “masterpiece” by Le Figaro.
Atlantic Books, £10.99, 2nd November 2017, 9780857897541
The dictionary drawn from the “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue” round in which contributors give definitions for hitherto misinterpreted words in the English language, such as buggery-or the study of insects. Total sales of “I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue” books top 150,000 copies, says Cornerstone.
Windmill Books, £10.99, 2nd November 2017, 9781784756499
The first volume of the comprehensive guide to Tolkien’s life and works. The second and third volumes are also out this month.
HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, £40.00, 30th November 2017, 9780008214517
A New York Times bestseller exploring the history of the class system in America. “A bracing reminder of the persistent contempt for the white underclass,” said the Atlantic.
Atlantic Books, £10.99, 2nd November 2017, 9781786493002
The natural history writer and historian combines his two passions to tell of how nature helped British soldiers during the First World War, with bird-watching one of the most popular hobbies for officers in the trenches. “Moving, strangely life-affirming,” said Country Life.
Weidenfeld & Nicolson, £9.99, 2 November, 9781780224916