Fall (P)reviews

Recently I stepped down from my position on the editorial team at Quadrapheme. I’d had a great time there, learned a lot and been given incredible opportunities, but it was time that I moved on. Now that I’m just working on Elle Thinks, I have a lot more room to expand and to accept books for review from publishers that fit my own interests. The following are all books that I’ll be covering here in the fall months, some of them very soon!

The Black Country, by Kerry Hadley-Pryce (Salt Publishing). This was sold to me as a variant on Gone Girl, and although I generally roll my eyes at such comparisons, that’s because I think Gone Girl is a real work of genius, and it’s too facile to say that every thriller with an unreliable female narrator is on the same level. The recommendation, however, came from Salt’s publicist Tabitha Pelly, who’s been reliably funneling incredible books my way for over a year, and whose judgment I trust. As far as I can tell, it’s about a married couple whose relationship is toxic, who make terrible (criminal?) decisions together and separately, and who spend a lot of energy deluding the reader as well as themselves and each other. Yum yum.

Landfalls, by Naomi J. Williams (Little, Brown). A fictionalization of the Laperouse expedition that sought to circumnavigate the globe in the eighteenth century; each chapter is told by a different character. Ships’ captains, scientists, and sailors all tell their story. I’m hoping it’s going to be a cross between Patrick O’Brian and William Golding’s To the Ends of the Earth trilogy. It certainly has the most beautiful cover of the season.

The Tokyo Zodiac Murders, by Soji Shimada (Pushkin Press). Pushkin’s new crime imprint, Vertigo, seeks to bring into English translation some of the best crime and thriller writing from around the world. I’ve never read any Japanese murder mysteries before, but  this tale of an eccentric, murdered man whose plans to kill the seven women he lives with are carried out to the letter after his death struck me as particularly fiendish. This cover is absolutely ace, as well.

Katherine Carlyle, by Rupert Thomson (Corsair). Created by IVF in the ’80s, Katherine Carlyle is born eight years later. By the time she is an adolescent, her mother has died of cancer and her father is emotionally distant. Partly out of an immature desire to punish him, partly out of impulses she doesn’t really understand herself, Katherine decides to disappear… This looks like it could be extraordinary, and Rupert Thomson has a good reputation. I’m excited for it.

Grief Is the Thing With Feathers, by Max Porter (Faber and Faber). Two young boys lose their mother; their father loses his wife. Into a household shattered and inarticulate with grief comes Crow, a version of Ted Hughes’s famous bird. He brings solace, warmth, and wildness. He promises not to leave until they are ready for him to leave. This is one of Faber’s biggest fiction releases this season and it looks utterly amazing. The fact that I have a Bit Of A Thing for Hughes, Plath, and their respective poetry certainly doesn’t hurt.

I’ve also been promised a copy of Virago’s gorgeous new version of The Birds and other short stories by Daphne du Maurier, which I’m very excited about. See how pretty/scary it is!

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5 thoughts on “Fall (P)reviews

  1. The fall releases look really incredible this year. There are a few more lined up that I haven’t mentioned here, so I may have to do another post!

    Yes, read Gillian Flynn. I’d say start with Gone Girl, because it is astonishing, revolutionary, about women and relationships. I moved on to Sharp Objects after that, which is less polished but just as raw and angry, with a totally unexpected honesty.

  2. Virago is sending you their beautiful new editions of du Maurier’s short stories? I am green with envy. I love, love, love du Maurier. “The Birds” is an amazing short story — chilling and kept me up at night.

    It’s funny that you mention Gillian Flynn. I get the feeling that Gone Girl with get the status of a Rebecca in the future, but despite my love for du Maurier, I couldn’t love Gone Girl. I liked it enough but couldn’t understand why it was revolutionary. The plot twist has been done before, I think. And whilst Flynn had some really interesting things to say about women and gender performance, I wasn’t sure if it was enough originality.

    I’m not trying to attack your opinion, far from it. By all mean, school me in what I’ve been missing from Gone Girl. I always love hearing different viewpoints.

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