September, month of Back To School spirit and shiny new books. And have we got a few for you – from The Booker Prize frontrunner to an engrossing tale of families and loss, there’s no excuse for not picking up a new novel this month.
Station Eleven – Emily St. John Mandel
Emily St. John Mandel brings together the arts and apocalypse in this haunting tale that questions relationships in the face of a crumbling civilization. Described by Sarah Hughes at the Guardian as ‘an ambitious and addictive novel’ Station Eleven has won rave reviews, in particular by fellow authors ahead of publication. The build up to this book on Twitter has been growing rapidly; nearly everyday someone is tweeting about wanting a copy, receiving a copy or raving about reading it. Even the bookshop Goldsborough Books is building a Museum of Civilization based on what Station Eleven readers on Twitter would save in an apocalypse. It’s the book absolutely everyone is talking about.
After the Georgia Flue causes catastrophic numbers of death across the world with a mortality rate of over 99% civilization no longer exists, as we know it. Twenty years later, a band of travelling actors and musicians travel to the small numbers of settlements entertaining and rebuilding courage and confidence until a new danger threatens to destroy all hope.
The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell
Fans have been eagerly awaiting the next novel from David Mitchell, the author who wrote the award-winning Cloud Atlas published in 2004 and is famed for ambitious, clever and intrinsic plot lines. The Bone Clocks is one of the most anticipated releases of 2014 but opinions are already coming in divided. The Sunday Times claimed sections were ‘irredeemably trivalised’ while the Guardian states that it’s ‘possibly his best novel yet’. Longlisted for The Booker in July – three months ahead of publication – it’s the frontrunner to win and will undoubtedly be a huge hit. Mitchell’s publishers have recently reissued his previous works ensuring that the name David Mitchell will be in bookshops and on nightstands everywhere.
True to form, Mitchell weaves a tremendous amount of detail into a number of plots that jump from reality to fantasy to sci-fi to war in different eras led by a diverse list of characters, each touching on a different theme. It’s led by 19-year-old teenage runaway Holly Sykes, beginning when Holly encounters a strange woman who offers a small kindness in exchange for ‘asylum’. Decades will pass before Holly understands exactly what sort of asylum the woman was seeking . . . The Bone Clocks follows the twists and turns of Holly’s life in mesmerizing detail.
Beautiful Ever After – Katie Piper
Katie Piper’s extraordinary story of strength and recovery after a brutal rape and acid attack has captivated Britain. In this powerful sequel to her bestselling memoir, Katie tells the remarkable story of what’s happened in the years since she bravely left the safety of her parents’ home. With her trademark honesty, humour and heartfelt emotion, Katie shares the highs and lows she has faced as her life changed in ways she never thought possible. She recalls the leap of faith she took when starting a new relationship and reveals both the wonder and anxiety of becoming a mother. As well as the dark thoughts and genuine fears she continues to overcome behind closed doors, and the realities, both physical and emotional, of her ongoing, painful recovery.
US – David Nicholls
Five years on from the publication of his bestselling novel One Day, Nicholls has written a frank, emotional book that follows a family’s final attempt to repair their frayed relationships, which threaten divorce and abandonment.
In US, Nicholls writes the brutally honest account of Douglas Petersen as he clings to a marriage his wife is no longer sure she wants and connect with a son who has lost all respect for him. Using what could be their last holiday together as a family, Douglas embarks on a touching and hilarious journey in one final hope to reunite them. Nicholls digs deep into the detail in order to build characters whose traits and personalities are endearingly frustrating but wonderfully believable. Nicholls has created a fantastic family of characters for readers to discover and take a hugely enjoyable journey with.
How to be Both – Ali Smith
Ali Smith is a unique writer who beautifully blends prose and poetry into intriguing and thought-provoking novels that aren’t of the norm, whether that is structure or style. Smith’s compassion for her characters shines through as they overcome life’s challenges. In How to be Both 16-year-old George is struggling to cope following her mother’s death in an environment in which her father is grieving in a blanket of alcohol and her little brother is feeling the pain of loss for the first time.
Smith skips tenderly between past moments that George and her mother shared to present day and her counseling sessions that reflect on what she has lost, what she went through and what she must now face. Smith’s ability to handle her characters with immense compassion alongside pockets of humor and startling frank emotion is a rare skill that sets her apart from many of her peers.