What to Read in 2014: Best New Books, Part 2

As ever, the new year brings with it a deluge of new literary releases clamouring for our attention. Let me help you sort the literary wheat from the publishers’ chaff. Here are the next ones to watch out for in early 2014:

Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas

1. Barracuda, Christos Tsiolkas

Released: 2nd January 2014, Atlantic Books

Danny Kelly is the star of the swim team at Cunts’ College. Yes, you heard right.

When he’s sent to a private boys’ school on a scholarship, Danny fits in about as well as a sore thumb. There’s a lot of pressure on him to succeed.

Told from the double perspective of a much older Danny, this is the story of what happens when he cracks.

Dissident Gardens Jonathan Lethem2. Dissident Gardens, Jonathan Lethem

Released: 30 Jan 2014, Vintage

This is a novel about that most incongruous of beasts: the American Communist.

It follows three generations of a radical New York family, all of whom are fighting this battle in their own special way, but losing nonetheless.

From the man who now occupies the former professorial post of David Foster Wallace, Dissident Gardens looks to be the most promising of Lethem’s literary offerings so far.

Fallout Sadie Jones3. Fallout, Sadie Jones

Released: 1 May 2014, Chatto & Windus

Set in 1970s London, Fallout brings together three people with emotionally rocky pasts, to form a radical theatre company. 

As you can imagine, tempers are flying high when a young playwright, an aspiring producer and an actress join forces.

Andrew's Brain, E.L. Doctorow4. Andrew’s Brain, E. L. Doctorow

Released: 16th January 2014, Little, Brown

Andrew’s Brain will make you question what you know and how you know it.

 It’s not clear where Andrew is speaking from, or who he’s speaking to. He tells us that he left his baby daughter with his ex-wife, who later died, but he isn’t able to help the child. As he tells his story, it becomes clear that its time frames and his memories can’t always be trusted.

Frog Music, Emma Donoghue5. Frog Music, Emma Donoghue

Released: 31 March 2014, Picador

In 19th century San Francisco, in the midst of a smallpox epidemic, are three Parisian circus performers. When one of them is murdered, it becomes something of a literary whodunnit, revealed in a series of flashbacks.

Frog Music was inspired by true events. Emma Donoghue is the bestselling author of Room, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Man Booker and Orange Prizes.

This post is a two-parter; part one can be found here.

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