First to get those I haven’t ordered out of the way -
Gaynor Arnold - Girl in a Blue Dress
John Berger - From A to X
both of which are not yet released. I like the sound of the Berger, but the Arnold sounds a little reminiscent of the dreaded Winnie and Wolf.
Joseph O’Neill - Netherland
Salman Rushdie - The Enchantress of Florence
I’ve read reviews of both of these in the LRB. I’ve never read any Rushdie and perhaps I’m wrong to dismiss him without trying, but this doesn’t sound the best place for me to start. And I read the Netherland review only yesterday, and finished by saying aloud ‘that sounds like just the sort of book that used to be on the Booker list’. I simply don’t think I’m programmed to enjoy a cricket novel!
Steve Toltz - A Fraction of the Whole
Philip Hensher - The Northern Clemency
Both of these look quite good (and John Self’s review of the first didn’t totally put me off) but they are so hefty I don’t know if I can bring myself to make that kind of commitment.
Tom Rob Smith - Child 44
And I might / probably / perhaps get this one later on. But it just looks a bit too much like a cheap thriller to me. Hopefully someone will review it and change my mind.
So, having dismissed over half the list already, the ones I have ordered and am looking forward to receiving are -
Aravind Adiga - The White Tiger
Sebastian Barry -The Secret Scripture
Michelle de Kretser - The Lost Dog
Amitav Ghosh - Sea of Poppies
Linda Grant - The Clothes on Their Backs
Mohammed Hanif - A Case of Exploding Mangoes