The best books on the way in 2015
From Hilary Mantel to Anne Enright, the new releases to watch out for in the first half of the coming year
There are extraordinary literary treats to be had in 2015, not least the promise of the third instalment in Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy. But we don't have to wait until the summer to find some high-quality books. January is normally a time of scarcity in the publishing world but this year we have immediate rewards in the form of a new collection from Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon. One Thousand Things Worth Knowing, includes the scintillating poem 'Pelt.'
Also coming in January is a new novel from double Booker Prize winner Peter Carey. Carey's books may not always have readers in agreement but he never fails to intrigue. As usual, Carey has moved a million miles away from his last book.
This one is highly topical, dealing with internet terrorism and extreme journalism.
One book already being spoken about in breathless terms is Etta and Otto and Russell and James, a novel by Emma Hooper about an elderly woman who is beginning to forget things and who decides that she wants to see the sea, and so sets off on a long journey during which she recounts her life and loves.
In February, Penguin Ireland will publish the much talked-about debut collection of short stories from Dublin-born, New-York-based writer Andrew Fox. Over Our Heads promises to be the start of an illustrious career.
Ben Lerner's 10.04 is this year's 'New York' novel. The protagonist is a writer contemplating his own mortality due to illness and as a result is contemplating his legacy, not only as a writer but as a man, especially as his friend asks him to father a child. Modern and snappily written. Meanwhile, another highly acclaimed New Yorker, Jonathan Lethem, publishes a new collection of stories, Lucky Alan: And Other Stories.
Andrew O'Hagan's The Illuminations is published at the beginning of February and tells the story of an elderly woman and her soldier grandson. February is the gift that just keeps giving with a new collection of essays and stories from Hanif Kureishi titled Love + Hate. Anne Tyler fans can look forward to a new novel from the master of tightly wrought prose. A Spool of Blue Thread tells the story of the ageing Abby Whitshank and takes on the very modern topic of children and grandchildren looking after elderly and sick parents.
Deborah Levy is enjoying something of a renaissance after years in obscurity. The Unloved tells the story of what a group of holidaymakers get up to in a château. As always with Levy, expect beautiful prose. To end February, much-loved Irish author Patricia Scanlan is back with a new novel, A Time for Friends, which examines the boundaries of friendship.
March sees the publication of the fourth instalment of Karl Ove Knausgaard's strangely riveting biography My Struggle, while George Best's son Calum Best writes a different sort of biography in Second Best. There is more poetry, this time from Paul Durcan with The Days of Surprise. Durcan always has his eye on what is topical and always imbues his poems with a wry and knowing humour.
For lovers of walking, Hugh O'Donovan will release Mindful Walking, which is a way to get the most out of your daily constitutional. And the big literary event of this month comes in the form of a new novel from the author of The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. Kazuo Ishiguro's The Buried Giant is his first novel in 10 years and tells the story of a couple in search of their lost son. Expect the unexpected. Irish author Emma Hannigan publishes The Secrets We Share, a family saga that touches on emigration and family secrets and from the author of The Bookseller of Kabul, Asne Seierstad, comes One of Us, the story of the Anders Breivik massacres in Norway.
April brings a new Charlie Parker novel from crime master John Connolly in the form of A Song of Shadows and JK Rowling fans can read their favourite author's 2008 Harvard commencement speech in book form. Very Good Lives is bound to be an Oprah favourite, as it gives advice and encouragement for when you find yourself at a turning point in life, or more importantly, when we find ourselves in periods of failure. Sales of the book will go to Rowling's chosen charities. Irish author Kevin Maher is back with his folllow-up to his debut novel The Fields. Last Night on Earth tells the story of Jay's struggle to be a good father after the collapse of his marriage.
The deity that is Toni Morrison returns in April with God Help the Child, a novel about how childhood trauma can make its mark and leave a lasting effect on the adult's life. Christine Dwyer Hickey is one of the best writers working in Ireland today and she returns with The Lives of Women, a novel about a woman returning home to look after her elderly father and to reminisce on her time growing up.
Naomi Alderman is an exciting new voice on the horizon and her book The Power is a dystopian tale (although that depends on where you're standing) about a world when women have become the physically stronger sex.
In May, historian Anthony Beevor follows up his bestselling book The Second World War with Ardennes, which focuses on the battle which ended the Wehrmacht's reign.
Crime fans have a new Harlan Coben to look forward to as the master of the twist is back with The Stranger. For younger readers, a new Jacqueline Wilson book is always an event and The Butterfly Club is a new story about the triplet, Tina.
Much-loved Irish writer Anne Enright returns with her new novel, The Green Road, and it sounds like it will be a treat for her fans. Rosaleen Madigan decides to sell the family home and as her children return home for one last Christmas from their far-flung outposts around the world, their stories unfold. Another much anticipated novel coming in May is Paul Murray's The Mark and the Void. Those who are looking for another Skippy Dies should expect something completely different. This is a surreal tale that takes on the Irish economic crash.
Summer is rumoured to bring the third instalment of Hilary Mantel's Cromwell trilogy, The Mirror and the Light, which has thus far given us the magnificent Booker winners Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, although no date is confirmed as of yet and Mantel has herself said it will more likely be 2016. We can only hope.
Kathleen MacMahon will also make her long-awaited return with her second novel, The Long Hot Summer, which tells the story of Iseult O'Neill. Returned home for her father's funeral after 20 years abroad, Iseult suspects there are family secrets she needs to find out. In June, Sex and the City creator Candace Bushnell publishes an intriguing novel called Killing Monica, which sees the protagonist faking her own death to escape her most infamous creation. . . sound familiar?
This July, Italian writer Roberto Saviano gives us Zero, Zero, Zero, a book that looks at the world of the international cocaine trade. Saviano has been living under police protection since publishing his book on Italian criminal gangs, Gomorrah, which was later made into an award-winning film. In-depth.
Dave Eggers became the voice of a generation when he published his semi-autobiographical debut A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. His latest book, Your Fathers, Where are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? The book opens in a barracks on an abandoned military base with questions needing to be answered.
Gill Hornby's school-gates drama The Hive was a hit last summer and she's back in quick-smart time with All Together Now, which tells the story of a local choir complete with the kind of community politics that made The Hive so popular. Sheila O'Flanagan publishes a new novel in time for the summer holidays. My Mother's Secret is set around a 40th wedding anniversary in Rome with a secret.
With autumn will come the flood of new releases and two to watch out for at this early stage are Galway author Nuala O'Connor's second novel, Miss Emily, a tantalising prospect as she reimagines the relationship between the poet Emily Dickinson and her maid. And September promises a new novel from the most lauded American writer of the 21st century, Jonathan Franzen. Purity will focus on a young woman's search for her father.