It's Giller Prize season, which means I'm about to read the five shortlisted novels in the next 24 days as part of the Shadow Giller. Even though I will have limited time to read other books, it doesn't stop me adding them to my To Be Read Pile. Here's another five that have attracted my attention, all of which will be published in the UK this month.
The books have been arranged in alphabetical order according to author's surname.
When a man is discovered dead by poisoning in his empty home his
beautiful wife, Ayane, immediately falls under suspicion. All clues
point to Ayane being the logical suspect, but how could she have
committed the crime when she was hundreds of miles away? While
Tokyo police detective Kusanagi tries to unpick a seemingly unrelated
sequence of events he finds himself falling for Ayane. As his judgement
becomes dangerously clouded his assistant must call on an old friend for
help; it will take a genius to unravel the most spectacular web of
deceit they have ever faced...
Last year I read Higashino's The Devotion of Suspect X and thought it one of the most intelligent crime novels I had ever read. For that reason I'm very much looking forward to this new one...
In 1915, two spirited Australian sisters join the war effort as nurses, escaping the confines of their father's dairy farm and carrying a guilty secret with them. Used to tending the sick as they are, nothing could have prepared them for what they confront, first in the Dardanelles, then on the Western Front. Yet amid the carnage, Naomi and Sally Durance become the friends they never were at home and find themselves courageous in the face of extreme danger, as well as the hostility they encounter from some on their own side. There is great bravery, humour and compassion, too, and the inspiring example of some remarkable women. And in France, where Naomi nurses in a hospital set up by the eccentric Lady Tarlton while Sally works in a casualty clearing station, each meets an exceptional man: the kind of men for whom they might give up some of their precious independence — if only they all survive.
I have only ever read one Thomas Keneally book — Schindler's Ark — but this one sounds right up my street: I'm a sucker for Great War novels, especially when told from an Australian perspective.
Where Have You Been? by Joseph O'Connor
Harvill Secker, hardcover and Kindle, 336 pages (4 October)
Where Have You Been? is award-winning novelist Joseph O'Connor's first collection of short stories in more than 20 years. Ranging from urgently contemporary London and Dublin to New York's Lower East Side in the 19th century, from dark comedy to poignancy, from the wryly provocative to the quietly beautiful, these stories offer a gathering of dreamers and lost souls who contend with the confusions of living. Here are men without women, children parenting parents, residents of the uncertain country that is post-boom Ireland, emigrants, travellers, cheats and lovers, families, friends and foes. The focus is on those moments of the everyday when possibility seems to appear. A football match becomes an occasion of hard-won acceptances. An old acquaintance re-encountered plays mind-games in a bar. A fling between people who have almost nothing in common alters their lives forever. In Dublin, a desperately ill woman meets a tour guide in a hotel. A civil servant drives his father into Wicklow to say a final goodbye. A boy comes of age in a seaside town where everything is about to change.
It's by Joseph O'Connor. What more do I need to say?
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
Doubleday Ireland, hardcover and paperback, 160 pages (11 October)
In the aftermath of Ireland's financial collapse, dangerous tensions surface in an Irish town. As violence flares, the characters face a battle between public persona and inner desires. Through a chorus of unique voices, each struggling to tell their own kind of truth, a single authentic tale unfolds. The Spinning Heart speaks for contemporary Ireland like no other novel. Wry, vulnerable, all-too human, it captures the language and spirit of rural Ireland and with uncanny perception articulates the words and thoughts of a generation. Technically daring and evocative of Patrick McCabe and J.M. Synge, this novel of small-town life is witty, dark and sweetly poignant.
It's taken a few years but novels about the collapse of the Celtic Tiger are now coming thick and fast. I love discovering new Irish writers, so will look forward to reading this one at some point soon.
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
Viking, hardcover and Kindle, 112 pages (25 October)
In a voice that is both tender and filled with rage, The Testament of Mary tells the story of a cataclysmic event which led to an overpowering grief. For Mary, her son has been lost to the world, and now, living in exile and in fear, she tries to piece together the memories of the events that led to her son's brutal death. To her he was a vulnerable figure, surrounded by men who could not be trusted, living in a time of turmoil and change. As her life and her suffering begin to acquire the resonance of myth, Mary struggles to break the silence surrounding what she knows to have happened. In her effort to tell the truth in all its gnarled complexity, she slowly emerges as a figure of immense moral stature as well as a woman from history rendered now as fully human.
While I normally steer clear of stories about Christianity, I'd read Colm Tóibín's shopping list because I think he's such a brilliant writer.
Please note that the release dates quoted are for the UK and are subject to change. Are there any on this list that have piqued your interest?