TBR Thursday 102…

The books that aren’t there…

As part of my ridiculous TBR spreadsheet, whenever I give a book 5 stars I add the author’s name to a list to remind me to read either one of their existing books or their next one, if they’re new authors or I’ve already read all of their previous books. Every now and again I check Amazon to see if there’s any sign of the next book coming along, and generally they duly appear within a year or two. But when I last checked, I realised some of these authors had been on the list for a long time with no sign of a new book. Where are they? Are they still writing?

the luminaries blueEleanor Catton won the Booker for The Luminaries, first published in August 2013. I loved it for her careful creation of a town that I came to feel as if I had actually visited. The book was monstrous in size and scope, so perhaps she’s working on another just as ambitious, but I can’t find anything on the web that tells me when we might see a new one appear.

* * * * *

money treeFor several years, Gordon Ferris was publishing books pretty regularly, every year or two. But it’s well over two years since his last book Money Tree appeared in June 2014. At the time, this was billed as the start of a new series looking at some of the world’s contemporary concerns – a series of standalones but with an overarching theme under a series name of “Only Human”. But since then, nothing – and again I can’t see anything suggesting another book is on the way soon.

* * * * *

paradeShuichi Yoshida’s Parade, published in translation in March 2014, was billed as a crime book, but I felt it actually fell more into the category of literary fiction. The picture it paints of the lives of young people in Tokyo left me strangely discombobulated, as Japanese fiction often does – it’s a society that always seems in a kind of free-fall. I find Yoshida’s writing compelling, and his characters are always believable even when I don’t fully understand them. Perhaps his long absence is a translation issue rather than a writing one, but no sign of a new one on the horizon.

* * * * *

after the lockoutDarran McCann’s début After the Lockout, published way back in February 2012, was an intriguing book set in Armagh in the period following the Easter Uprising. Though there was much of politics and religion in it, McCann managed to keep it at a very human level. He’s an author of whom I genuinely expected great things, but again he seems to have disappeared, at least in terms of publishing another novel.

* * * * *

arzee the dwarfI positively adored Chandrahas Choudhry’s Arzee the Dwarf. Published in December 2009, it’s a deliciously bittersweet tale of one man trying to achieve his dreams in contemporary Bombay – a beautifully written depiction of this vibrant and contradictory city at odds with the picture of unrelieved misery so often given in Indian novels. Years after reading it, I still smile whenever I think of it. And I’m getting extremely impatient for another…

* * * * * * *

The good news is that, five long years after his wonderful Last Man in Tower, a new book has finally appeared from Aravind AdigaSelection Day, which I will be reading just as soon as I can.

selection-dayThe Blurb says: Manju is fourteen. He knows he is good at cricket – if not as good as his elder brother Radha. He knows that he fears and resents his domineering and cricket-obsessed father, admires his brilliantly talented brother and is fascinated by CSI and curious and interesting scientific facts. But there are many things, about himself and about the world, that he doesn’t know . . . Everyone around him, it seems, has a clear idea of who Manju should be, except Manju himself.

But when Manju begins to get to know Radha’s great rival, a boy as privileged and confident as Manju is not, everything in Manju’s world begins to change and he is faced by decisions that will challenge both his sense of self and of the world around him.

* * * * * * *

And here are a few more long-awaited ones that will be appearing soon (all publication dates are for the UK)…

penancePublication due 5th April 2017 from Kanae Minato, author of the dark and compelling Confessions

The Blurb says: The tense, chilling story of four women haunted by a childhood trauma.

When they were children, Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko were tricked into separating from their friend Emili by a mysterious stranger. Then the unthinkable occurs: Emili is found murdered hours later. Sae, Maki, Akiko and Yuko weren’t able to accurately describe the stranger’s appearance to the police after the Emili’s body was discovered. Asako, Emili’s mother, curses the surviving girls, vowing that they will pay for her daughter’s murder.

* * * * *

the-death-of-kingsPublication due 16th January 2017 from Rennie Airth, author of the Inspector Madden series set in post-war England…

The Blurb says: On a hot summer day in 1938, a beautiful actress is murdered on the grand Kent estate of Sir Jack Jessup, close friend of the Prince of Wales. An instant headline in the papers, the confession of a local troublemaker swiftly brings the case to a close, but in 1949, the reappearance of a jade necklace raises questions about the murder. Was the man convicted and executed the decade before truly guilty, or had he wrongly been sent to the gallows?

Inspector Madden is summoned out of retirement at the request of former Chief Inspector Angus Sinclair to re-open the case at Scotland Yard. Set in the aftermath of World War II, The Death of Kings is an atmospheric and captivating police procedural, and is a story of honor and justice that takes Madden through the idyllic English countryside, post-war streets of London, and into the criminal underworld of the Chinese Triads.

* * * * *

the-followerPublication due 9th February 2017 from Koethi Zan, author of the dark and disturbing thriller The Never List

The Blurb says… very little: You think she’ll help you. She won’t.

A page-turning thriller about the wife of a kidnapper and her relationship with his last victim.
.

* * * * *

the-good-peoplePublication due 9th February 2017 from Hannah Kent, author of the stunning Burial Rites

The Blurb says: Nóra Leahy has lost her daughter and her husband in the same year, and is now burdened with the care of her four-year-old grandson, Micheál. The boy cannot walk, or speak, and Nora, mistrustful of the tongues of gossips, has kept the child hidden from those who might see in his deformity evidence of otherworldly interference.

Unable to care for the child alone, Nóra hires a fourteen-year-old servant girl, Mary, who soon hears the whispers in the valley about the blasted creature causing grief to fall upon the widow’s house.

Alone, hedged in by rumour, Mary and her mistress seek out the only person in the valley who might be able to help Micheál. For although her neighbours are wary of her, it is said that old Nance Roche has the knowledge. That she consorts with Them, the Good People. And that only she can return those whom they have taken…

* * * * * * *

So there’s still hope… if you can shed any light on if and when we might see new books from any of these authors, please do so in the comments. Are there any authors who’ve been on your own “avidly awaiting” list for too long?

53 thoughts on “TBR Thursday 102…

  1. So glad to hear Kanae Minato has a new book coming out, FictionFan! I found Confessions to be compelling, and I was hoping she’d do more. I’ll have to add that one to my wish list. And I agree about Gordon Ferris! On my own list would definitely be Adrian Hyland. I absolutely loved Diamond Dove and Gunshot Road, and I keep waiting for another Emily Tempest novel. Are you reading this, Mr. Hyland? A-hem… *fingers drumming*

    • Yes, I’m looking forward to the Minato very much! I’m hoping none of these authors has disappeared due to health reasons, but I couldn’t find news articles about them so hopefully not. But I’d got used to my regular fix of Gordon Ferris and I’m suffering withdrawal symptoms. I haven’t read Adrian Hyland – I shall investigate! 🙂

  2. I have not read ONE of these books.
    #JustAsking….of all these books….which one would you suggest I should start?
    Probably difficult to answer…they are all good….but really, which one is first to read? 🙂
    Great idea…where are they now?

    • Whoo! It’s always difficult to recommend for other people because it’s all so subjective, isn’t it? But thinking about the stuff you usually read, I’d suggest either Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites (a brilliant book that I still think should have been shortlisted for the Booker that year) or possibly Aravind Adiga’s Last Man in Tower – it’s set in Bombay, but gives a much more nuanced and vibrant picture of the city than a lot of Indian novels, which tend to concentrate exclusively on the poverty and misery or on politics. Or you might be surprised into delight as I was with Chandrahas Choudhary’s Arzee the Dwarf – it’s delightfully light on the surface, but so well written and again gives a refreshingly affectionate picture of contemporary Indian life. 🙂

  3. I can confirm that with Yoshida it is a matter of translation rather than writing, as he has about 8 novels in Japanese, and quite a few of them have been adapted for TV or film.
    On my personal list? Not many, really, because I find some of them write faster than I can read.

    • Oh, well, it’s good to know he hasn’t stopped writing at least – hopefully his English-language publishers will get a move on and bring out some more!

      Ha! Yes, this is a problem for me too – expecially since my 5-star list currently has over 150 authors on it! But it stops me forgetting about them… 😉

  4. I follow quite a few series, but they are mostly fantasy of one kind or another, so not really your meat. I find kindle really helpful in keeping track of “next books”.

    • Most of my crime series authors do churn out the next one within a reasonable time and they tend to turn up on NetGalley which is nice. But the standalone writers, crime or fiction, always take longer and are easier to miss. I used to use Amazon’s recommendations, but now I’m always so behind the last thing I need is more recommendations!

    • Ooh, hope you’re enjoying it! There’s something about Japanese books that always leaves me feeling unsettled – as if their society has lost its way somehow. I’ll look out for your Goodreads review…

  5. Penance sounds horrifying (which of course makes me want to read it). And I’ve just added Confessions to my list.
    I think it’s fun that you follow your 5-star reads. I’ve never really thought to do that – I can’t even keep up with their backlists!
    I *am* curious now to know what Eleanor Catton is up to…

    • If Penance is as dark as Cnfessions it will be dark indeed! But Confessions was still very readable – the emphasis was very much on the causes rather than on the actions, and it fed into what I’ve felt about Japanese society in other books – that there’s a real breakdown between generations and the young people are drifting dangerously. Definitely worth reading – enjoy!

      Ha! It’s following all these authors that makes my TBR and wishlist so horrendous. Every now and then I decide to cut some of them off the list, but I can’t seem to bring myself to do it… 😉

      Yeah, I couldn’t even find anything on her own or her publisher’s website.

    • Oh, yes! I haven’t read it, but it was a huge success and even got made into a film, didn’t it? I wonder if it’s the success that makes it hard for them to write another – maybe they get a kind of stage fright…

      • yes it did get made into a film which was actually really good…sometimes the films aren’t nearly as good as the book. That book is one of my top 10 books of all time, I read it years ago and still remember the characters names! Isn’t that crazy, when some books you forget the characters when you close the book. I do think it has to be fear of not living up to the first book. If you’re at the top there’s no where to go but down kind of thinking. But her readers would follow her, that’s what’s so disappointing. I’m rambling:) But that was a great post idea!!

        • That is a great sign of a good book – quite often I can’t remember the names even while I’m reading! Yes, probably working up to a big success – like Hilary Mantel – is better than having a huge hit with your first book. You can understand why some people never produce a second one, but it’s a pity. Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it! 🙂

  6. It is such a pleasure to find a ‘new to you’ author with a huge backlist. I don’t have any news for your authors, but I am hanging out for a new book by Australian author Christos Tsiolkas. I wish someone would find a stash of never-before-found manuscripts by Jane Austen (don’t we all?)

  7. I’m waiting, waiting, waiting for Hilary Mantel to finish her Cromwell trilogy and I’m desperate for Seth to write A Suitable Girl.

    I will check out the Japanese one, it reminds me of Murakami in the discombobulation sense.

    • Oh, yes, I’d forgotten about Mantel when I did this post, because it’s soooo long since her last one I actually read it before I started blogging! The problem is I’ll have to read the last two again before I read the third to remind myself of what’s happened so far…

      I do recommend the Japanese one, but it’s much more realistic than Murakami – no fantasy element. My discombobulation with it, as with a lot of Japanese fiction, is that I don’t feel as if I really understand the society.

  8. I’m with Brona on the Hilary Mantel and the Seth. I also loved (I know it was a bit of a marmite book) Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. Unusually for a Booker winner she said she wasn’t going to write another novel and became a political activist but recently there have been rumours … Sometimes of course publishers have ditched the authors or authors are being moved from one publisher to another or the writers are struggling to write … I could go on! There can be a lot of commerce and politics going on in the background. There was also a crime book by Rebecca O’Rourke called Jumping the Cracks which was published by Virago in the 80s. It was set in Hackney and I loved it but I don’t think she’s published another novel since.

    • Totally agree about the Mantel, and I also thoroughly enjoyed The God of Small Things. I’m not sure that I’ve ever read the Seth – must check it out. Yes, I wondered if that was the problem with Gordon Ferris – his last book was a departure from the previous ones and I don’t think did as well, so I thought it was possible he was coming unde pressure from his publishers to revert back, perhaps. Rennie Airth, who I mentioned in the post, wrote a fabulous caper novel way back in the ’70s, and then disappeared without trace till he suddenly had a resurgence about fifteen years ago with the Madden crime series. I suspect (but don’t know) that maybe he found he had to wait till he retired from his day job before he could concentrate on his writing…

  9. The Death of Kings sounds good to be right now.

    I wonder if awards and public and acclaim make it difficult for a writer to pen the next book. Writers also are often hardest on themselves. Also if the sales of a book aren’t what the publisher wanted, the pressure is on to make the next book even better.

    • I love the Madden series. They’re slow books, as much about the creation of the setting – post-war England – as the plot, but his writing is great and I always end up fully absorbed in them.

      Yes, I think that could be the case with some of these. The Koethi Zan has changed its name since it was announced and the blurb is so minimal, that I’m wondering if she’s struggling to produce something that the publisher is happy with. Publishers always want them to turn out the same as the last one, too, if it was a success, which must be both annoying and restricting…

  10. I have avidly been waiting for Tara Maya to continue her Unfinished Song series and for Colleen Oakes to release the final book in her Queen of Hearts series. Maya seems to have gone completely quiet, while Oakes has released 2 or 3 books…but not the book I am waiting for!

    • Oh, somehow it’s even worse when it’s a series! I’d forgotten about the Hilary Mantel series till Brona mentioned it, but it’s been ages since the second book came out. And one of my favourite crime authors Jane Casey seems to be very delayed with her next one, though I know she was in the process of changing publishers. Grrr! We should start sending them reminders – in red ink, like bills! 😉

        • Wolf Hall can certainly be read on its own – great book! But the problem is I’ve kinda forgotten the details of that and the next one now – may have to do a re-read before the next comes out… if it ever does!

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