For everyone looking to take a break this term with some non-course related reading, 2018 is set to be a very exciting year for new books. Here are five of the most hotly-anticipated releases that will be rolling off the presses over the next six months…
Leni Zumas, Red Clocks (Harper Collins, January 2018)
A dystopian vision that in recent months has become chillingly plausible, Red Clocks imagines an America in which abortion has been totally outlawed in all fifty states. Not only that, but Canada has built a symbolic ‘pink wall’ to keep out any abortion-seeking refugees, single mothers are forbidden from adopting, and the Personhood Amendment grants full human rights to every unborn foetus. In a small Oregon town, four women try to figure out what these new restrictions mean for their lives. Mattie is an academically-gifted teenager who finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, while her teacher, Ro, is a single woman who longs to have children. Ro’s friend Sara has a seemingly-perfect life with two kids, but is trapped in a loveless marriage, and Gin, a forest-dwelling medicine woman, brings the stories of all these women together when she is arrested and tried in a modern-day witch trial. This will be a great read for any fans of The Power or The Handmaid’s Tale, adapted for the Trump/Pence era…
Sara Shephard, The Elizas (Atria Books, April 2018)
This gripping psychological thriller will be the Pretty Little Liars creator Sara Shephard’s first foray into the world of adult fiction. The story starts with main character Eliza being found unconscious at the bottom of a hotel swimming pool. Eliza’s family and friends believe it was a suicide attempt, but Eliza is convinced she was pushed. She tries desperately to piece together the preceding evening’s events, out of a tangled mess of false memories and lies, lest the attacker strike again. Eliza is also about to publish her first novel, and strangely, her family and editors start asking questions about events in the novel as if they had happened in her real life. The blurring of truth and fiction sounds similar to The Girl on the Train, and this one is obviously also a must-read for any PLL fans out there!
Madeline Miller, Circe (Bloomsbury, April 2018)
Circe is Miller’s follow-up novel to Odyssey, which appeared in 2012, and, as the name suggests, tells the story of the witch Circe, from Greek mythology. It’s a re-telling of The Iliad from Circe’s perspective, from her banishment to a remote island by Zeus, to her encounters with Hermes, Daedalus and Odysseus. If myths and magic, sorcerers and heroes are your thing, Miller’s novel will be a really creative and imaginative read.
Meg Wolitzer, The Female Persuasion (Chatto & Windus, June 2018)
Shy college student Greer Kadetsky gets the chance to attend a guest lecture by her idol, the prominent feminist campaigner Faith Frank. It proves to be a life-changing experience for her, as Frank takes Greer under her wing and offers her a surprising career opportunity. Wolitzer’s first book for adults since 2013’s The Interestings, The Female Persuasion is an intelligent observation of the changes that have recently taken place in the feminist movement in the western world, and an exploration of the powerful impact that an inspiring and persuasive mentor can have on the life of a young person, as well as the risks of possibly idolising someone too much.
Joseph Cassara, The House of Impossible Beauties (Harper Collins, June 2018)
The House of Impossible Beauties is set in the world of New York’s underground drag ballroom scene of the 1970s and 80s. Inspired by the documentary Paris is Burning, and the real House of Xtravaganza, it follows the stories of young gay and transgender teenagers, Angel, Hector, Venus, Juanito and Daniel, who have all fled traumatic pasts but band together to form the city’s first Latino House, creating a new family for themselves. This is a novel of grief and tragedy, as the characters cope with addiction, sex work and abuse, against the backdrop of the AIDS crisis, but also about the power of resilience and love, and offers a window into a really unique aspect of American cultural history.
– by Nicole Gadras
*Images courtesy of Goodreads.com