This week’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is on the theme of the most anticipated releases for the second half of 2021. I’m taking a slightly different angle with a list that combines books yet to be released with some I missed from earlier in the year.
New Releases For Second Half 2021
White Spines: Confessions of a Book Collector by Nicholas Royle
Books about books can be dangerous reading territory – they give me too many ideas for books to acquire. Nicholas Royle’s book is not your usual list of books however. It’s a mix of memoir and narrative non-fiction in which Royle shares his passion for Picador’s fiction and non-fiction publishing from the 1970s to the end of the 990s. It explores the bookshops and charity shops, the books themselves, and the way a unique collection grew and became a literary obsession.
Due out 15 July 2021 from Salt Publishing
The Magician by Colm Tóibín
A fictional account of the complex life of Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann. Publishers Simon and Schuster describe the book as “a stunning marriage of research and imagination. Tóibín explores the heart and mind of a writer whose gift is unparalleled and whose life is driven by a need to belong and the anguish of illicit desire. The Magician is an intimate, astonishingly complex portrait of Mann, his magnificent and complex wife Katia, and the times in which they lived—the first world war, the rise of Hitler, World War II, the Cold War, and exile. This is a man and a family fiercely engaged by the world, profoundly flawed, and unforgettable.
Released September 23, 2021
Case Study by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Burnet’s first novel His Bloody Project was a terrific read, ingeniously plotted and highly atmospheric book set in the 1860s. His new novel is set in the more modern world of London in 1965. An unworldly young woman believes that a charismatic psychotherapist, Collins Braithwaite, has driven her sister to suicide. Intent on confirming her suspicions, she assumes a false identity and presents herself to him as a client, recording her experiences in a series of notebooks. But she soon finds herself drawn into a world in which she can no longer be certain of anything. Even her own character.
Due for publication in October 2021 by Saraband
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen
I’ve never read anything by Jonathan Franzen, but I couldn’t resist this latest novel purely because it’s part one of a trilogy called “A Key to All Mythologies” . That’s the subject of a long- laboured, unfinished project by the Reverend Casaubon in Middlemarch, my all time favourite novel. Details of Crossroads are skimpy at the moment, all we know it’s set in the American midwest which is home to the Hildebrandt family and will trace them through three generations.
Due for publication October 5, 2021 by Fourth Estate
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles
Having loved A Gentleman in Moscow, the chance to read more by Towles was hard to resist. The Lincoln Highway is set in 1950s America where an eighteen-year-old boy returns to his Nebraska home having served a year at a work farm for involuntary manslaughter. He intends to collect his young brother and head to California to start a new life but his plans are thrown into disarray by the appearance of two friends from the work farm who have a very different destination in mind.
Scheduled for publication October 5, 2021 from Hutchinson
The Ones That (Almost) Got Away
There are so many new books published every month that it’s hard to keep up. Here are five I missed when they were published but do want to read.
Fox Fires by Wyn Menmuir
Menmuir made the 2016 Booker longlist with his enigmatic novella The Many. His new novel about a lost girl and an unsettling city, sounds just as intriguing. Wren Lithgow has followed her concert pianist mother around the cities of Europe for almost two decades. When they arrive in the mysterious city-state of O, where Wren was conceived during a time of civil war, she resolves to find man she believes is her father.
Published by Salt in June 2021
Lean Fall Stand by Jon McGregor
How did I manage to miss the fact that Jon McGregor had a new novel? I have high expectations for Lean Fall Stand based on my experience of reading the longlisted Booker title Reservoir 13. His latest offering is focused on an Antarctic researcher brought low by tragedy and desperate to communicate with the outside world.
Publishers Harper Collins describes it as “a stunning novel that mesmerizingly and tenderly unpicks the notion of heroism and explores the indomitable human impulse to tell our stories – even when words fail us”.
Issued by Harper Collins in April 2021
China Room by Sunjeev Sahota
I still haven’t got around to reading Sahota’s earlier novel The Year of The Runaways but that doesn’t prevent me wanting to read his latest novel. Sahota takes us to rural Punjab in 1929 where Mehar, a young bride , is trying to discover the identity of her new husband. She and her sisters-in-law, married to three brothers in a single ceremony, spend their days hard at work in the family’s ‘china room’, sequestered from contact with the men. When Mehar develops a theory as to which of them is hers, a passion is ignited that will put more than one life at risk.
Published May 2021 by Harvill Secker
Kololo Hill by Neema Shah
A debut novel set amidst the turmoil of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians by Idi Amin. When a devastating decree is announced which says all Ugandan Asians must leave the country in ninety days, Asha and Pran and Pran’s mother Jaya, must leave everything they’ve ever known for a new life in Britain. But as they try to rebuild their lives, a terrible secret hangs over them.
Published April by Picador
The Art of Losing by Alice Zeniter translated by Frank Wynne
Zeniter takes us to Algeria in a novel which traces a woman’s attempt to unearth secrets of her family’s past. Naïma has always known that her family came from Algeria, but they are silent about their past and the only knowledge she has of that foreign country is what she’s learned from her grandparents’ tiny flat in a crumbling French sink estate. But now Naïma is visiting the country for herself and is determined to answer the questions she has about her family’s history.
Published by Picador in February 2021