How often do you pick up a new book and find yourself needing to reach for the dictionary before you have finished the first page? I am not talking technical or scientific books here. I am talking your average novel. OK, not your average novel if you are reading Clive Cussler or Katie Fforde, but your average novel if you are reading something that might be considered more literary, something that is unlikely to be found in the discount department store’s sale bin.
There is nothing I like more than being introduced to a new word. Having been a complete dag and studied Latin, I harbour a secret regret that I never studied Greek. If I had, I most certainly would have known the meaning of anhedonia which occurs, rather magnificently, on line seven of page one of Ian McEwan’s forthcoming new novel Solar, whose world-wide release is March. A few pages further I found dysmorphia, one of those words whose usage is not quite common enough for one to remain on top of its meaning.
McEwan’s Solar is billed as “masterly”. Ostensibly about climate change, it recounts the tale of a Nobel prize-winning physicist whose best work is behind him. A serial adulterer in a collapsing fifth marriage, he finds himself, for once, the betrayed rather than the betrayer. From my point of view, 30 pages in, the signs are good. A smattering of tricky words, a backstory that is compelling, a marvellous anti-hero, the pen of McEwan. Review heaven.
So what else can we look forward to this year, in the area euphemistically called “quality fiction”?
Here is a taste of what is to come. Looks like it is going to be a good year between the covers!
From Lionel Shriver (We Need to Talk About Kevin) – So Much for That (April)
From Martin Amis – The Pregnant Widow (February)
From Marcus Zuzak (The Book Thief) – Bridge of Clay (September)
From Don Delillo – Point Omega (March)