In an unpredictable and divided world, we often turn to books and films to understand (and often escape) the goings-on around us. The past year has dramatically altered our understanding of the world, and the way in which western civilisation is perceived and run. Furthermore, many of us are entering 2017 with trepidation. So, to provide you with a necessary break from reality, or to understand what brought us here, find our list of a few of the books to look forward to in 2017:
4 3 2 1 by Paul Aster (January)
Paul Aster, author of Sunset Park and The New York Trilogy, returns after a seven-year hiatus with 4 3 2 1. This novel follows the life of Archibald Ferguson: four versions of Archibald Ferguson in fact. Aster’s story adheres to real historical events, with many of the same characters appearing in each version of his life, and yet each Archibald follows his own unique path. Born in the same year as the author himself, this character was created from the author’s own musings about the choices and events which shaped his own life. A work of supernatural musings in a reality we know so well, 4 3 2 1 is a highly anticipated book to be released this month.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (February)
A previous winner of the Folio Prize, George Saunders is due to release his new novel, Lincoln in the Bardo, in February. In the Tibetan Buddhism tradition, ‘bardo’ can be defined as a period of life between death and rebirth, and it is in this purgatory state that Abraham Lincoln finds himself on the night of his son’s death. In facing this tragic event, Lincoln’s journey explores the very notions of life, death, love and loss, with the story of a single night providing some insight into the very meaning of life.
Men Without Women: Stories by Haruki Murakami (May)
Haruki Murakami tackles an arguably neglected subject in his new book Men Without Women: Stories, examining journeys of self-discovery from the perspectives of single men. Through a series of short stories, Murakami narrates the daily lives of his characters and the emotional roller coasters faced in both friendships and romantic relationships. Due out in May, this novel promises to continue Murakami’s humorous style; a talent exemplified in his previous novels such as Norwegian Wood.
Into the Water by Paula Hawkins (May)
Following the movie adaption of her novel The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins’ next psychological thriller, Into the Water, is due out in May. Her story revolves around two sisters as they confront various memories from the past and uncover secrets hidden within their very own family.
Who knows what this popular writer has next in store for us.
Age of Anger: A History of the Present by Pankaj Mishra (January)
It is no exaggeration to say that there are many of us who struggle to comprehend the current world: from the new US President inaugurated last week; to the formation of Islamic State; and to the increasingly vicious, and oft corrupt, world of media. In response to this increasing social anxiety, Pankaj Mishra’s work looks to the past for answers, as she traces forms of dangerous nationalism back to the 18th century. By following our own history, Mishra illustrates cases of people who have been pushed to the peripheries of the world and reacted with anger, and how new conceptions of modernity provided a false hope. Once more, she explores how our history has produced the startlingly undemocratic world of today. This powerful exhibition of our society will be found on shelves later this week.
A Woman’s Work by Harriet Harman (May)
As a former Labour Party politician, Harriet Harman was involved in major campaigns to provide more power to women over the past 30 years. Her new book, A Woman’s Work, describes the challenges faced, as well as the progress made, by women in their fight to change UK politics. Due out in March, this book details some of the first steps forward in the battle for equality – one that continues to this day.
A piece written for “The Student” – Edinburgh University’s newspaper.