Another month, another batch of hotly anticipated fiction titles to add to your reading list. Here’s what’s caught my eye from October’s releases.
Girl in Shades
by Allison Baggio (October 1):
First novel from an up-and-coming author. Eleven year old Maya Devine has always had a hard time understanding her mother Marigold, and when her mother is diagnosed with terminal cancer, things don’t get any easier. Trying to come to terms with the changes—both common and exceptional—that come with Marigold’s illness and death, Maya finds solace in the words of songsmith Corey Hart. The publisher is calling this one “sweetly funny and deeply perceptive” but honestly, they had me at Corey Hart.
Night Strangers by
Christopher Bohjalian (October 4)
Leading up to Halloween seems like the perfect time to immerse yourself in a new horror title. Fresh from a tragedy, a family moves to small town New England to start again. In the basement of their newly acquired Victorian era home: a door that fastened shut with 39 bolts. That’s creepy enough, but now I’ll tell you that the tragedy this family is escaping involved the deaths of 39 people. Is that a chill you feel going up your spine? Bohjalian is the author of 13 books, and although not normally associated with the supernatural, this one is being called “a riveting and dramatic ghost story”. (publisher)
When She Woke
by Hillary Jordan (October 4th)
In a near future when criminals are not incarcerated but “chromed”—their skin is coloured to indicate their crime—and released back into the public, the protagonist Hannah, awakes to find she has been turned red. “Her crime is murder. The victim, according to the State of Texas, was her unborn child, and Hannah is determined to protect the identity of the father, a public figure with whom she’s shared a fierce and forbidden love.” (publisher) This dystopian novel is already being compared to Margaret Atwoods’s The Handmaid’s Tale as well as the American classic The Scarlet Letter.
The Stranger’s Child
by Alan Hollinghurst (October 11th)
It’s always news when a former Booker Prize winner releases a new book, and this is Hollinghurst’s first novel since his 2004 win for Line of Beauty. Beginning in 1913, when George Sawle brings a friend and burgeoning poet home on a weekend away from college, an event which impacts the lives of both George and his sister Daphne as the novel moves through much of the 20th century. “The Stranger’s Child is by turns a gripping literary mystery, an absorbing social study of some pivotal moments in history, and a sensuous and beautiful exploration of the secret passions that determine our lives.”(library catalogue summary)
by Dean Crawford (October 18th)
“When archaeologist Lucy Morgan uncovers a se ven-thousand-year-old tomb holding remains alien to our world, she realizes she has stumbled upon something important—something with the potential to rewrite history. But before Lucy can retrieve the remains, she’s abducted.” Already gaining comparisons to Michael Crichton, this debut thriller “combines science, suspense, and ingenious speculation to create an action-packed blockbuster not to be missed”. (library catalogue summary)
by Colson Whitehead (October 18th)
A smart take on the zombie apocalypse from a MacArthur fellowship winner and author of five previous critically acclaimed books. “A pandemic has devastated the planet. The plague has sorted humanity into two types: the uninfected and the infected, the living and the living dead. Now the plague is receding, and Americans are busy rebuilding civilization under orders from the provisional government based in Buffalo. Their top mission: the resettlement of Manhattan.” (library catalogue summary) Kirkus magazine said “[Whitehead] sinks his teeth into a popular format and emerges with a literary feast, producing his most compulsively readable work to date…Whitehead transforms the zombie novel into an allegory of contemporary Manhattan (and, by extension, America).” Everyone is talking about this one.