Can you feel the dip in temperature? It’s officially fall, folks… or as we call it in Oz, autumn (that just doesn’t have the double-F ring to it). Either way, summer is done and we’re now looking at a completely new reading season. No more lying in front of the air-con with a summer blockbuster. No more sweating through a thriller on the way to work. It’s all about the trees turning all colours, wearing light layers, and looking forward to these books that are due out this season. Here are a few titles we’re really excited about.
The first big release of the season was The Mirror & the Light which was released this week. With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings the trilogy to a triumphant close. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage. The Mirror and the Light is an astonishing achievement, exceptional in every way. It’s a masterpiece.
Next up, the book everyone is talking about, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Vanessa Wye was fifteen-years-old when she first had sex with her English teacher. It was love, she told herself. But Vanessa is now thirty-two and the teacher, Jacob Strane, has just been accused of sexual abuse by another former student. Nuanced, uncomfortable, bold and powerful, My Dark Vanessa goes straight to the heart of some of the most complex issues our age. It is not an easy story to read, but it is an important story to be told.
Julia Baird’s Phosphorescence is out late March. It’s a beautiful, intimate and inspiring investigation into how we can find and nurture within ourselves that essential quality of internal happiness – the ‘light within’ that Julia Baird calls ‘phosphorescence’ – which will sustain us even through the darkest times. Absorbing, achingly beautiful, inspiring and deeply moving, Julia Baird has written exactly the book we need for these times.
April brings one novel we’re really looking forward to: Gulliver’s Wife by Lauren Chater. When her husband is lost at sea, Mary Burton Gulliver, midwife and herbalist, is forced to rebuild her life without him. But three years later when Lemuel Gulliver is brought home, fevered and communicating only in riddles, her ordered world is turned upside down. And also The Dictionary of Lost Words, the first novel by Adelaide author Pip Williams, which was snapped up in fiercely competitive auctions after publishers converged on the Frankfurt Book Fair.