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BOOKS


Previews New Titles: Fiction


New Titles: Fiction December


December may well be one of the quietest months of the year in terms of publishers’ output but there are still some big books worth reading


the Month. I began the year with Raven


Alice O'Keeffe @aliceokbooks


D


ecember is generally the smallest and quietest month in terms of new


fiction, and there’s no change to that in this most unusual of years. There are a couple of big names: a graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s short story Chivalry (Headline) and a non-thriller James Paterson, The Horsewoman (Century), co-writen with sports writer Mike Lupica, who also has the latest PI Sunny Randall thriller, Robert B Parker’s Payback (No Exit Press) out this month. But as booksellers will be concentrating on the Christmas giſt market, I thought it might be most useful to remind readers of the fiction I have loved most this year. See the panel, right, for a recap of the 11 novels that came out on top from January to November 2021, plus four that would have been if I were allowed more than one Book of


Submissions New Titles: Fiction is a monthly preview of hardbacks, trade paperbacks and paperback originals. For its submission guidelines, contact alice.o’keeffe@ thebookseller.com. For submission deadlines, visit thebookseller.com/ publishing-calendar.


Next week 46


Leilani’s contemporary New York- set Luster; wry, sharp, honest, oſten caustically funny. I found Francis Spufford’s Light Perpetual, following the lives of five children born in the 1940s, to be intimate, absorbing and technically bril- liant. Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom tells the moving story of an immigrant family’s struggle in the US. Jon McGregor’s Lean Fall Stand communicates how it might feel to lose language and Maggie Shipstead’s Great Circle is exceptional. Lisa Taddeo’s Animal is about the infinite complexities of love and desire, revenge and hope. Lisa Jewell’s The Night She Disappeared and Paula Hawkins’ A Slow Fire Burning are both grip- ping, unputdownable thrillers, expertly told. Sally Rooney’s Beautiful World, Where Are You and Elizabeth Strout’s Oh William! are bound to be Christmas bestsellers.


If I had my own bookshop, these are the titles I would be piling high and pressing into customers’ hands. Merry Christmas!


BookScan ratings accompanying titles are based on TCM sales (excludes e-book, export, direct, library and other sales) of the author’s most recent original work in a similar format with at least six months’ sales through Nielsen BookScan, using the notation left.


50,000+  25,000+ 10,000+  5,000+ 3,000+ 


The next edition of The Bookseller (10th September) will feature New Titles: Non-Fiction covering titles released in December.


3rd September 2021 Highlights of 2021 My fiction picks of the year


The first 11 titles listed were selected as a Book of the Month in 2021, with the latter four narrowly missing out, but proving highlights nonetheless


Luster Raven Leilani Picador, 9781529035995 Light Perpetual Francis Spufford Faber, 9780571336487 Transcendent Kingdom Yaa Gyasi Viking, 9780241433379 Lean Fall Stand Jon McGregor Fourth Estate, 9780008204907 Great Circle Maggie Shipstead Doubleday, 9780857526809 Animal Lisa Taddeo Bloomsbury, 9781526636737 The Night She Disappeared Lisa Jewell Century, 9781529125771 A Slow Fire Burning Paula Hawkins Doubleday, 9780857524447 Beautiful World, Where Are You Sally Rooney Faber, 9780571365425 Oh William! Elizabeth Strout Viking, 9780241508176 My Monticello Joceyln Nicole Johnson Harvill, 9781787303027 Mrs Death Misses Death Salena Godden Canongate, 9781838851194 Sorrow and Bliss Meg Mason W&N, 9781474622974 Paul Daisy Lafarge Granta, 9781783786350 Harlem Shuffle Colson Whitehead Fleet, 9780708899441


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