Here’s our round-up of 4th Estate’s biggest books of 2012. These are the books that made 2012 better, funnier, more entertaining and, in the case of Bad Pharma, angrier. We’re sure you’ll have your favourites and we’d love to hear them too.
The book that needs no introduction, 2012 was truly Hilary Mantel’s year. Bring Up the Bodies is a darker and more violent installment of the Cromwell trilogy; the Spectator described it perfectly as ‘an imaginative achievement to exhaust superlatives’. With this book, Hilary Mantel became the first British author and the first woman to be awarded two Man Booker Prizes, as well as being the first to win with two consecutive novels. But stop reading about Bring Up the Bodies, and just have a read for yourself. There’s no better way to start the year.
Ahead of the Booker shortlist announcement this week, we’ve released these two exclusive videos of Booker longlisted author Sam Thompson. Filmed in his office in Oxford, he discusses his debut novel Communion Town, the definition of a city and the books that inspired him. Also shown are Sam’s drawings, which became the novel’s chapter-headings and capture perfectly the spirit of the book.
I’m dumbstruck by the news that Communion Town has been longlisted for the Man Booker prize. What can you say about such an improbable stroke of good fortune for a first novel, other than repeating words like ‘thrilled’, ‘incredulous’, ‘bamboozled’ and ‘er… what?’ That’s what I’ve been doing since they announced the list. Getting a first book published at all feels like hitting the jackpot, so also catching the eyes of judges in a competition like the Booker is ridiculous, embarrassing bounty – more than any first-time writer could sensibly hope for.
We are very proud of our three authors Hilary Mantel, Nicola Barker and Sam Thompson who have been longlisted for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. Mantel has been longlisted for Bring up the Bodies, the sequel to the 2009 Booker-winning Wolf Hall, while Nicola Barker’s The Yips was chosen- topping off an incredible set of reviews for a novel that has been described as ‘more consistently surprising than War and Peace, at least.’ (Sunday Telegraph)
Sam Thompson’s Communion Town is out now
‘Dreamlike, gnarly and present, COMMUNION TOWN shifts like a city walker, from street to street’ China Miéville, author of EMBASSYTOWN and THE CITY & THE CITY
‘COMMUNION TOWN is one of those rare creatures – a first novel that combines ambition with humanity. It is a strange, remarkable work’ Tash Aw, author of THE HARMONY SILK FACTORY