Our Literary Picks for 2013

• Jan 7, 2013 • Tags: ,

‘Stunning’, ‘heartbreaking’, ‘thrumming with life’, ‘witty’ and ‘reinvigorating’. Just a few of the adjectives used to describe our new and noteworthy books of 2013. Scroll down for a snapshot of our most exciting talent, both debut and established, from 4th Estate.

The elite families of Princeton have been beset by a powerful curse – their daughters are disappearing. A young bride on the verge of the altar is seduced and abducted by a dangerously compelling man – a shape-shifting, vaguely European prince who might just be the devil. In the Pine Barrens on the edge of town, a mysterious and persuasive evil takes shape. The Accursed is an eerie, unforgettable story of power, loss, and family curses in early 20th century Princeton from the inimitable Joyce Carol Oates.

A naïve golddigger; a disgraced pop star; a property magnate who has lost his way; an entrepreneur with a conscience and a business guru with a secret agenda. In Five Star Billionaire, Tash Aw charts the weave of their journeys in the new China, counterpointing their adventures with the old life they have left behind in Malaysia. The result is a brilliant examination of the migrations that are shaping this dazzling new city, and their effect on myriad individual lives.

As teenagers in a Lagos secondary school, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. Ifemelu – beautiful, self-assured – departs for America to study. She suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships and friendships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today’s globalized world.

Wrecked is the sensational new novel from Charlotte Roche, author of Wetlands. Replete with a forty page descriptions of marital sex, details of worms, and ‘the best anal sex ever’, Wrecked reannounces Charlotte Roche. We witness the sexual routine of Elizabeth Kiehl, our protagonist, in all its minutiae: her love of fellatio; her visits to prostitutes together with husband Georg in order to keep their relationship alive. But behind such banal titillation is great sadness…and her past and present continue side-by-side as she heads towards psychological collapse.

Written with dazzling flair and deep insight; veering from scathing satire to a moving account of love and loneliness, Sam Byers’ debut novel Idiopathy neatly skewers the angled relationships and unhinged narcissism of a self-obsessed generation. Taking aim at militant environmentalists, money-grabbing misery memoirs, self-help quackery and an increasingly bizarre cattle epidemic, it announces the arrival of a formidable, savagely funny talent.

Anthony, the son of a Sonaghan father and a Gillaroo mother, is descended from two families whose enmity is a matter of legend. Though he belongs to a storytelling tradition, Anthony has grown up away from his people, and is only dimly aware of their disputes. That is until the blood feud touches him, and he comes to Dublin to lie low. His time in the city is a reckoning. Only there does he appreciate the strength of his heritage but also its otherness. In This is the Way, Gavin Corbett finds a startling idiom – vivid and innocent – with which to speak for Anthony and that other, Travelling world.

In The Pike Lucy Hughes-Hallett charts the enthralling but controversial life of Gabriele D’Annunzio – acclaimed poet and author, legendary seducer and charmer – who lived an extravagant and debt-ridden life, and became a military and national hero. She raises questions concerning the figure of the ‘superman’, the cult of nationalism and the origins of political extremism and war. At the centre however stands the flamboyant and charismatic D’Annunzio: a figure as deplorable as he is fascinating.

Our use of light at night is negatively affecting the natural world in ways we’re barely beginning to study. Meanwhile, our physical, psychological, and spiritual health are significantly influenced by darkness or a lack thereof; it’s not a matter of using light at night or not, but rather when and where, how and how much. In The End of Night, Paul Bogard investigates what we mean when we talk about the different shades of darkness, about what we’ve lost, what we still have, what we might regain.

Hadley Freeman, Guardian features writer and author of the popular ‘Ask Hadley…’ column, reminds the modern lady to Be Awesome. Covering topics vital for any modern woman to consider (from ‘How to read women’s magazines without wanting to grow a penis’ to ‘Beyond the armpit: a guide to being a modern day feminist’), Be Awesome tackles body image, sex, dating and feminism head on. With an attitude that is unfalteringly funny, smart and surprisingly heartwarming, Hadley Freeman is a voice of sanity that every woman should hear.

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