NetGalley UK’s Top Ten Books, April 2016
With so many strong and intriguing books publishing in April, putting together our top ten was surprisingly difficult this month. There are some very well-known names on the list, alongside some that are just starting out – but all are worthy of your attention.
Our top selection, They Are Trying to Break Your Heart by David Savill, is a debut novel of rare grace and subtlety – one that I think might be a dark horse for many of the literary prizes this coming year. And if you want something a little different to your usual fare, do have a look at Annie Dillard’s The Abundance, a collection of essays that will make you think about things just a little differently.
BOOK OF THE MONTH
They Are Trying to Break Your Heart
In 1994, Marko Novak’s world is torn apart when his best friend is killed during the shelling of their Bosnian home town. Marko flees to England, hoping to put his broken homeland, and the part he played in the loss of his friend, behind him. Ten years later, and a tsunami approaches Thailand, a disaster that will reopen Marko’s past, and fracture his present. This ambitious, powerful, yet understated novel is everything you might hope for from a modern novel – and introduces a novelist of huge talent.
Hitman Anders and the Meaning of It All
Jonas Jonasson’s multimillion-copy bestseller The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared is one of the most loved of recent novels – and this superb follow up is a worthy successor. Take one violent killer, a dilapidated Swedish hotel, five thousand missing kronor, two shrewd business brains and several crates of Moldovan red wine, and you’ll get the unique recipe for another Jonasson bestseller.
The Missing Hours
The author of the hugely successful Falling and Hidden returns with another masterclass in psychological suspense. The Missing Hours’ premise is simple: one moment, Selena Cole is in the playground with her children; the next she has gone missing. But the strange part is that she’s back within a day, and with no knowledge of where she’s been. With this, Emma Kavanagh weaves a complex and gripping mystery that will captivate until its surprising denouement.
The Sign of One
There has already been a lot of interest in this brilliantly jacketed slice of YA SF. Wrath is a dump planet for human outcasts, and home to sixteen-year-old Kyle. But hope comes in the form of Sky, a rebel pilot with trust issues. Together they run away, but Kyle has no idea of the forces following him, and why he warrants this level of pursuit. Tense, well-plotted and with great characters, this is set to be a big new YA series.
V For Violet
Hot Key Books
The early 1960s setting of V for Violet is stunning realised in this wholly convincing tale of love and mystery set just before the Beatles make the sixties swing. Violet’s life in London is one of dreams of stardom, until she meets Beau. He’s a rocker with a motorcycle and life seems so glamorous – until girls begin to go missing. And Violet begins to wonder whether her brother might somehow be involved . . .
Anthony McGowan, award-winning author of The Knife that Killed Me, has already praised Martin Stewart’s Riverkeep, comparing it to such classics as The Wizard of Earthsea and Gormenghast – and it’s hard not to agree. Wulliam’s father is possessed by a dark spirit, and the only hope to save him is to find the great sea-beast known as the mormorach – a quest that will take him down into the darkness of the world.
Tastes Like Fear
The DI Marnie Rome series continues to go from strength to strength. In Tastes Like Fear, her third case, Rome is investigating the disappearance of a young girl. But as she gets closer to unravelling the mystery of her whereabouts, she realises she is up against a criminal more dangerous than any she has faced. His name is Harm. And he will stop at nothing to protect his ‘family’.
Annie Dillard illuminates the seemingly ordinary moments of a life lived fearlessly – as a breathless teenager, as a roving young adult and as an experienced woman – with her unique wit, boundless curiosity and fierce, undeniably singular voice. This collection of essays showcases her undeniable talents, and why she is regarded as one of the US’s most important writers.
The Course of Love
Alain de Botton
Alain de Botton is best known for his pioneering non-fiction, but he started as a novelist, and now finally he returns to fiction. The Course of Love takes us from the first thrill of lust, to the joys and fears of real commitment, to the deep problems that surface slowly over two shared lifetimes. Playful, wise and profoundly moving, it is the story of a marriage told in the way only Alain de Botton can.
If you’ve never read Nicola Barker before, you are missing out on one of the most dazzlingly inventive, wildly funny and uncategorizable writers at work today. The Cauliflower® is the mischievous and unruly story of Sri Ramakrishna – godly avatar, esteemed spiritual master, beloved guru – and his long-suffering nephew Hriday. Oh, and cauliflower. Delicious and devious.