Entertainment & Arts

Books in 2017: A look ahead

Tracy Chevalier and Laura Barnett Image copyright Nina Subin/Rick Morris Pushinsky
Image caption Tracy Chevalier (left) and Laura Barnett are among those with new titles out in 2017

Itching to start planning your 2017 reading? We bring you some of the most highly-anticipated titles, from firm favourites and debut writers alike, that will be hitting the shelves over the next 12 months.

January brings the release of Paul Auster's first novel in seven years - 4 3 2 1. The New York-based author of Winter Journal and Sunset Park recounts the life of Archibald Isaac Ferguson over four parallel lives. Each narrative is a contrast to the others, with the simultaneous lives of Archibald explored chapter by chapter.

Ottessa Moshfegh was nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2016 for Eileen and now releases her debut short story collection, Homesick for Another World.

Nathan Hill's debut The Nix is also out in January, telling the story of college professor Samuel Andresen-Anderson being reunited with his mother - who left the family home when he was five - after she commits an "absurd crime". The TV rights for the mother-son drama have already been bought, with JJ Abrams set to direct and Meryl Streep to star and act as executive producer.

A debut thriller that won a former paramedic a three-book publishing and TV deal is published in February. Daniel Cole's Ragdoll is a serial killer thriller set in London. The killer has given the media a list of the names of the people he intends to kill - and top of the list is Detective Fawkes, the man trying to stop him.

Image copyright Ellis Parinder
Image caption Daniel Cole has landed a three-book publishing deal with the first instalment published in February

Award-winning short story writer George Saunders has written his first novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, which is published in March. Saunders, winner of the Folio Prize, has tuned to historical matters with the story of Abraham Lincoln and the death of his 11-year-old Willie at the start of the American Civil War.

March also sees the release of South and West, two extended excerpts of Joan Didion's notebooks. In the work, the award-winning writer of The Year of Magical Thinking tells of a road trip she took with her husband in June 1970.

The columnist and presenter Dawn O'Porter has followed up her young adult novels Paper Aeroplanes and Goose with The Cows. Her first novel for adults, due for publication in April, it is about three women dealing with shame, judgment, friendship and modern life.

Hanif Kureishi's The Nothing is about an ageing famous film-maker confined to his London apartment, who begins to suspect his wife is having an affair with Eddie, who has been "more than an acquaintance and less than a friend for over 30 years". He then sets out to have his revenge against the pair in the novella, out in May.

Haruki Murakami's Men Without Women is a collection of seven short stories, all about single men, as the title suggests, from the acclaimed writer of Norwegian Wood.

Will Paula Hawkins match the runaway success of The Girl on the Train with her next novel? She'll be hoping so when her new psychological thriller Into the Water, about "the slipperiness of the truth, and a family drowning in secrets", is released.

Gail Honeyman's debut Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine is also released in May. In it, the titular character plans her days carefully, wearing the same clothes to work and eating the same thing for lunch, and has to cope when her life suddenly changes.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Presenter Dawn O'Porter has written her first novel for adults, The Cows

Colm Toibin, author of Brooklyn, takes readers back to Ancient Greece in May with the House of Names, telling the story of a family at war with itself after Agamemnon orders the sacrifice of his daughter on her wedding day.

Neil Gaiman is looking at a different kind of mythology with Norse Mythology - in which he "fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc". The author of The Ocean at the End of the Lane has gone back to some of the source stories that have inspired his writing to date.

Tracy Chevalier, author of Girl with a Pearl Earring, is the latest author to take part in the Hogarth Shakespeare project, which sees the Bard's works rewritten for a modern audience. In New Boy, the drama of Othello moves to a schoolyard in Washington, with 11-year-old friends Osei, Dee, Ian and Mimi being the key players in the tragedy.

Laura Barnett will follow up her best-selling debut The Versions of Us. Greatest Hits, out in June, tells the story of hugely successful singer Cass Wheeler, who has disappeared from the music scene and selects 16 songs for a personal greatest hits collection. Barnett has collaborated with Mercury-nominated Kathryn Williams to create original songs to tie in with the book, with an album released at the same time.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Neil Gaiman has turned to the world of Norse mythology

June also sees the release of Joyce Carol Oates's A Book of American Martyrs, which looks at two conflicting families, taking on the weighty themes of religious extremism, abortion, gun violence and capital punishment.

Will Self's Phone is about Jonathan De'Ath - whom everyone calls The Butcher, behind his back, quite independently of each other - who has a secret he keeps carefully hidden from them all.

Together, by Julie Cohen, tells a love story with a difference. Out in July, Together is told backwards, over four decades, starting with Robbie leaving Emily a letter which breaks her heart - and leading to the moment the couple first met in 1962.

In July, Matt Haig releases his first novel for adults since 2013's The Humans. The author of Reasons to Stay Alive says How to Stop Time tells the story of "a man suffering from a rare condition that causes his body to age slowly, so that even though he looks 40, he has lived through four centuries". The story joins him as he is "keeping a low profile as a history teacher".

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption AA Gill died of cancer in December

Later in the year William Boyd's latest book The Dreams of Bethany Mellmoth is released. And Baileys Prize-winning Ali Smith releases Winter, the second in her seasons quartet, following 2016's Autumn.

The year will also see new novels from Arundhati Roy, Plum Sykes, Meg Rosoff, Mohsin Hamid and Kamila Shamsie, and a new collection of short stories from Alison MacLeod.

In the world of non-fiction, the collected journalism of the late, great AA Gill is released as Lines in the Sand in February.

Henry Marsh follows up on his PEN Ackerley Prize-winning Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery with Admissions. In the new work, released in May, he looks at the UK's healthcare system and our attitudes to death.

Image copyright Harper Collins
Image caption Autobiographies from Tony Bennett and Alec Baldwin are to be published

Istanbul: A Tale of Three Cities by Bettany Hughes is a new biography of the city out in May.

And a biography of a different kind is Gainsborough: A Portrait by James Hamilton, out in July.

Two autobiographies to look out for in 2017 are Alec Baldwin's Nevertheless and Tony Bennett's Just Getting Started, written with Scott Simon.

Judy Murray also has a memoir being published, which is due to be released in summer.

And journalist Stuart Heritage has written a somewhat unconventional biography of his brother, lovingly - hopefully - called Don't Be a Dick, Pete.

Fans of poetry have new work from Emily Berry, Simon Armitage and Daljit Nagra to look forward to.

Berry's Stranger Baby is her second collection, following 2013's Dear Boy, and is out in February, while Armitage's 11th single volume of poetry is The Unaccompanied, released in March.

And Nagra's British Museum marks the third collection from the Radio 4 poet in residence, and will be out in May.


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