The View from the UK
Everyone at NetGalley is delighted to be partnering with Fiction Uncovered, the nationwide promotion for novelists you might have heard about, but never quite got around to reading. It’s a promotion that’s very close to my heart, and one that I think showcases the huge abundance of talent in the UK that doesn’t quite get the attention it deserves.
My picks from the list are Black Bread, White Beer by Niven Govinden, All the Beggars Riding by Lucy Caldwell, The Heart Broke In by James Meek, and The Village by Nikita Lalwani.
Niven Govinden is the one of the best British writers currently at work. Because of Black Bread,White Beer’s slenderness (it’s not a long novel!) it has been compared to Ian McEwan’s On Chesil Beach, but for me this has more in common with the great North American writers Philip Roth, John Cheever and Alice Munro. A tale of a marriage in crisis after a tragedy, it is one of the most beautiful, affecting and harrowing novels you’ll read all year.
James Meek is best known for his Russia-set novel The People’s Act of Love. His new novel, The Heart Broke In, is a departure from the historical, violent epic – it’s an old-fashioned story of modern times, a rich, ambitious family drama of love, death and money in the era of gene therapy and Internet blackmail. It’s a page-turner that also makes you think.
The same could be said for Lucy Caldwell’s All the Beggars Riding, which I know will hold you captivated from the first page. Nikita Lalawani has also, in The Village written a very clever, very affecting follow-up to her brilliant Gifted. Do support these titles!
With so many forthcoming novels coming every day to NetGalley, you can start planning which new titles you should be reviewing for summer. Wreaking by James Scudamore is my big tip for prizes this year – a terrifying story of madness, solitude and secrets. And if you fancy a big thriller, do check out Tim Weaver’s Never Coming Back Never Coming Back. It’s the fourth of his David Raker novels and well worth discovering.
Well, that’s it for this month. I’ll be back next month with a look ahead to the big autumn books!