I’ve heard some really fantastic book news over the past few days, that have had me squealing and clapping my hands in glee. I can’t quite believe that somehow it is August already…but apparently it is. But on the plus side, this means that we’re starting to get a glimpse of the fabulous books coming our way in 2020. And there are quite a few that have caught my attention!
I’m sure there will be many (many) more to come over the next few months, but here are the five books that I am most excited about for next year right now!
Pine, by Francine Toon
Publishing Jan 2020 with Doubleday
About the Book:
They are driving home from the search party when they see her. The trees are coarse and tall in the winter light, standing like men.
Lauren and her father Niall live alone in the Highlands, in a small village surrounded by pine forest. When a woman stumbles out onto the road one Halloween night, Niall drives her back to their house in his pickup. In the morning, she’s gone.
In a community where daughters rebel, men quietly rage, and drinking is a means of forgetting, mysteries like these are not out of the ordinary. The trapper found hanging with the dead animals for two weeks. Locked doors and stone circles. The disappearance of Lauren’s mother a decade ago.
Lauren looks for answers in her tarot cards, hoping she might one day be able to read her father’s turbulent mind. Neighbours know more than they let on, but when local teenager Ann-Marie goes missing it’s no longer clear who she can trust.
In spare, haunting prose, Francine Toon creates an unshakeable atmosphere of desolation and dread. In a place that feels like the end of the world, she unites the gloom of the modern gothic with the pulse of a thriller. It is the perfect novel for our haunted times.
Just LOOK at that cover! Everything about this book just sounds so beautiful, and I can feel it jumping off the page already.
I’m excited for the Highland forest landscapes, the haunting gothic lyricism, the dynamics of this community living deep in the woods… I feel tingles of Elmet by Fiona Mozley and British gothic and I just can’t wait – this one is right at the top of my list.
American Dirt, by Jeanie Cummins
Publishing Jan 2020 with Headline
About the Book:
Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
Lydia Quixano Perez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with four books he would like to buy–two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a page-turner; it is a literary achievement; it is filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.
I’m sure you, too, will have seen this book everywhere! So many bloggers have been blown away by this book, so I simply cannot wait to read it.
It truly does sound like it is going to be a book that will endure and be treasured for years to come. Just as with The Beekeeper of Aleppo, this is a book of our time. A story that needs to be heard, and needs to be heard now.
A Pure Heart, by Rajia Hassib
UK publication – Jan 2020 with Sceptre
About the Book:
Sisters Rose and Gameela Gubran could not have been more different. Rose, an Egyptologist, married an American journalist and immigrated to New York City, where she works in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Gameela, a devout Muslim since her teenage years, stayed in Cairo. During the aftermath of Egypt’s revolution, Gameela is killed in a suicide bombing. When Rose returns to Egypt after the bombing, she sifts through the artifacts Gameela left behind, desperate to understand how her sister came to die, and who she truly was. Soon, Rose realizes that Gameela has left many questions unanswered. Why had she quit her job just a few months before her death and not told her family? Who was she romantically involved with? And how did the religious Gameela manage to keep so many secrets?
Rich in depth and feeling, A Pure Heart is a brilliant portrait of two Muslim women in the twenty-first century, and the decisions they make in work and love that determine their destinies. As Rose is struggling to reconcile her identities as an Egyptian and as a new American, she investigates Gameela’s devotion to her religion and her country. The more Rose uncovers about her sister’s life, the more she must reconcile their two fates, their inextricable bond as sisters, and who should and should not be held responsible for Gameela’s death. Rajia Hassib’s A Pure Heart is a stirring and deeply textured novel that asks what it means to forgive, and considers how faith, family, and love can unite and divide us.
This book published in the US last week, but we have to wait until January next year for the UK publication. The cover pictured here is the US cover, and I believe a UK cover is going to be revealed soon!
Two sisters, both Muslim women born in Egypt, but with different experiences, identities and lives – it sounds like it will explore multiple perspectives and encourage us to think outside of what we think we know. It sounds phenomenal and extremely beautiful.
Adults, by Emma Jane Unsworth
Publishing Feb 2020, with The Borough Press
About the Book:
Jenny McLaine is an adult. Supposedly. At thirty-five she owns her own house, writes for a cool magazine and has hilarious friends just a message away. But the thing is:
• She can’t actually afford her house since her criminally sexy ex-boyfriend Art left,
• her best friend Kelly is clearly trying to break up with her,
• she’s so frazzled trying to keep up with everything you can practically hear her nerves jangling,
• she spends all day online-stalking women with beautiful lives as her career goes down the drain.
And now her mother has appeared on her doorstep, unbidden, to save the day… Is Jenny ready to grow up and save herself this time?
Deliciously candid and gloriously heartfelt, ADULTS is the story of one woman learning how to fall back in love with her life. It will remind you that when the world throws you a curve ball (or nine), it may take friendship, gin & tonics or even your mother to bring you back…
Those of you who read my blog will know that books about women by women are right up my street. Someone says feminism, and I’m right there. So when this news dropped the other day, I (like many others on Bookstagram and bookish Twitter) freaked out.
Adults sounds like a warm and hugely funny take on what it is like to be a woman in their 30s today. Giving me strong vibes of Fleabag as well as Expectation by Anna Hope, I can’t wait for this.
Strange Hotel, by Eimear McBride
Publishing Feb 2020 with Faber & Faber
About the Book:
A nameless woman enters a non-descript hotel room she’s been in once before, many years ago. Though the room hasn’t changed, she has, as have the dimensions of her life. As she goes on to occupy a series of hotel rooms around the world — each of which reflects back some aspect of herself we begin to piece together the details of what transpires in these rooms, the rules of engagements she’s put in place for herself and the men she sometimes meets, and the outlines of the absence she is trying to forget. Gradually, we come to understand what it is the narrator seeks to contain within the anonymous rooms she is drawn to, and how she might become free.
Told in a mesmerising voice that will beguile readers with its fierceness, vulnerability, honesty, and black humour, Strange Hotel immerses us in the currents of attraction, love, and grief. It is an immensely moving and ultimately revelatory exploration of one woman’s attempts to negotiate her own memories and impulses, and what it might mean to return home.
I’m definitely intrigued about this book, so am excited to hear move over the next few months. I’m particularly getting keen to see the cover, to start to get a glimpse of what this will be like.
So far it sounds like it is going to be a masterful piece of fiction – weaving together different threads to draw us into this woman’s mind. I’m always looking for books that explore fiction and narratives, and even better if the narratives are women’s narratives. So it sounds like this might tick all my boxes!
Bring on 2020!
Am looking forward to all of these books, which all promise to bring something a bit different and exciting next year!
Let me know some of your most anticipated reads – either things that are yet to be published, or things you just haven’t picked up yet but are super excited for!
Sophie @Sophie_Jo_Books 📚 🐾