Non-fiction was the belle of the literary ball last year, but judging from the first half of 2012, fiction is rallying back this year. There have already been some interesting titles, and the next few months look good for bookworms. Here’s a look at ten books to put on your pre-order list.
The Wildings, Nilanjana Roy, Aleph
Critic and columnist Nilanjana Roy makes her debut as a novelist with this story about cats in Nizamuddin. While this may make The Wildings sound like the perfect novel for a lolcats fan, there’s nothing frivolous about The Wildings. Instead there’s lots of menace and a cute kitten who is, while being adorable, threatening the peace of mind of an entire neighbourhood.
Ministry Of Hurt Sentiments, Altaf Tyrewala, Harper Collins
Altaf Tyrewala’s novel was tentatively titled English and the one extract (released a few months ago) was satirical, funny and alarmingly close to the numerology-afflicted spelling that has become almost de rigeur these days. Ministry of Hurt Sentiments supposedly “celebrates the dystopia that is modern-day Mumbai”. Tyrewala certainly is the man for the job.
The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling, Hachette
Can JK Rowling make the petty world of English councils exciting? It doesn’t really matter. Thanks to the massive following Rowling enjoys, everyone will want a copy regardless of the plot. Will Rowling continue that annoying habit of killing off characters, seen in action repeatedly in Harry Potter, or will she reveal herself to be a modern-day Jane Austen?
Sin Is A Puppy That Follows You Home, Balaraba Ramat Yakubu, Blaft
Chances are you’ve never heard of the language Hausa, which, apparently, boasts of a wealth of popular fiction inspired by Hindi films and Persian epics. Balaraba Ramat Yakubu’s novel is the first Hausa novel to be translated into English. It has been described as “an Islamic feminist soap opera with some prostitutes and black magic”.
NW, Zadie Smith, Penguin
For her second novel, Zadie Smith comes back to London and creates a fictional council estate called Caldwell. Here, buildings are named after philosophers and in them are archives documenting the lives the philosophers lived. Considering Smith’s passionate advocacy of libraries — many of which are under threat because of the British government’s austerity measures — expect a poignant and
Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie, Random House
Ok, so a memoir is not fiction but we’ve included Salman Rushdie’s Joseph Anton simply because it is undoubtedly among the most anticipated books of the year. Everyone wants to know about the most controversial South Asian author in the world and his fatwa years. In case you were wondering, Joseph Anton is the alias Rushdie coined, taking the first names of his two favourite authors (Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekov) when the British police asked him to come up with code name his security team could use.
Not Only Things That Have Happened, Mridula Koshy, Harper Collins
A mother on her deathbed and a son muddling through an identity crisis are on separate continents — these are the two protagonists of Koshy’s first novel. Considering Koshy’s gift for emotionally-charged descriptions, it may be wise to keep a box of tissues handy while
reading this one.
Sweet Tooth, Ian McEwan,
Spies and novelists meet in Ian McEwan’s newest novel. Set in 1972, Sweet Tooth has as its heroine Serena Frome, daughter of a bishop, reader of novels, an alumnus of Cambridge University and an MI5 recruit. Sweet Tooth is the name of the secret mission she’s given, during which she meets an upcoming novelist named Tom Haley and falls in love with him. Does McEwan have a little bit of John Le Carre in him? All those who think he may, this one’s for you.
Mr Majestic: The Tout Of Bengaluru,
Zac O’Yeah, Hachette
She’s an unpleasant foreigner, he’s a small-time tout; the two of them are thrown together when she needs to find her missing sister. Zac O’Yeah’s Once Upon A Time In Scandinavistan, in which Scandinavia was a tropical place and tandoori moose was the local delicacy, is good reason to expect the crime fiction author’s new novel will make you see Bengaluru in a new light.
The Last War, Sandipan Deb, Pan Macmillan
Hindu epics are all the rage at the moment, but journalist Sandipan Deb has a twist to add to his tale. The Last War is a retelling of the Mahabharat set in Mumbai’s underworld, and spans five decades