This month’s most exciting new releases
Well what a frenetic time it’s been in the book world in recent weeks! We’ve had the announcement of the Stella Prize to our near Carlton neighbour Emily Bitto for her debut novel The Strays; the award of the Australian/Vogel’s Prize for an unpublished writer under 35 to Melbourne author Murray Middleton for When There’s Nowhere Else to Run; and the major US fiction awards: the Pulitzer to Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See, and the PEN/Faulkner to Atticus Lish’s debut Preparation for the Next Life.
The month of May is also a bountiful one in terms of new releases. Locally, the wait is over for all those fans of Steve Toltz’s bestselling 2008 novel A Fraction of the Whole. For our reviewer, Quicksand ‘resembles Toltz’s previous epic’ but also ‘has given us something brilliant to marvel at again’. Then there’s Malcolm Knox – who Christos Tsiolkas regards as one of the best writers in the world today – with his much-anticipated new novel The Wonder Lover; and Krissy Kneen’s latest (‘an amazing literary sci-fi superhero sex romp from Australia’s genre-bending queen of erotica’) The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine (I imagine we’ll be turning the lights down for her in-store event in Carlton where Krissy will be in conversation with Tsiolkas!).
There’s a return this month for some much-loved UK authors: Kate Atkinson, with A God in Ruins; Anne Enright’s The Green Road; and Sarah Hall’s The Wolf Border – all of which receive a resounding thumbs-up from our reviewers. Another rave is for the ridiculously talented and perhaps a little under-appreciated American author Jim Shepard. Our Carlton shop manager Robbie Egan has been a long-time fan, and just loved Shepard’s latest work The Book of Aron. Meanwhile, our expert in all matters crime fiction was completely seduced by a new German novel, Sascha Arango’s The Truth and Other Lies; he will be in the country this month for the Sydney Writers’ Festival. (You can find a collection of books from some of the visiting authors here.)
Turning to non-fiction there are several highlights. John Julius Norwich is the pre-eminent historian of the Mediterranean, so his Sicily will be eagerly awaited. The great literary critic James Wood also has a new essay collection, The Nearest Thing to Life; and Robert Macfarlane, whose The Old Ways enchanted many a couple of years ago, returns with ‘a joyous meditation on words and landscape’, Landmarks.
But it’s the fields of biography and autobiography that are perhaps the richest. On the local front, Rochelle Siemienowicz’s Fallen is another addition to some really outstanding life writing published in recent times; Oliver Mol announces himself as a writer to watch with his memoir of growing up in pre-9/11 America (and finding his feet as a writer in Melbourne) in Lion Attack!; and the legendary Ramona Koval has a moving account of her search for her Jewish ancestors in Bloodhound. Meanwhile, we have the latest work of the acclaimed author and neurologist Oliver Sacks with On the Move: A Life; and a terrific account of being a copyeditor at the New Yorker from Mary Norris, Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen.
Martin Shaw is Readings’ Books Division Manager.