The Independant – culture critics’ picks for 2010

I am going to work my way through some of these picks.  I have also put Stephen Fry’s sequel to Moab is my Washpot on my list for 2010.  The new book will follow on from when he was given a place at University, so says his blog


As recession bites deep into the book trade, and the future still looks cloudy, it’s no surprise to find a dearth of young British talent in fiction for 2010. Slightly predictable, too, that three of the season’s most promising debut novels come from Indian-born authors: Aatish Taseer’s The Temple-goers (Viking, March), Manu Joseph’s Serious Men (John Murray, June) and Neel Mukherjee’s A Life Apart (Constable, January). As far as homegrown Brits go, the authors who will make waves would have made them two decades ago: a tribute to their talent, but not to a business that shuns bold investments. Martin Amis will revisit the sexual revolution in A Pregnant Widow (Cape, February) as Ian McEwan delivers his climate-change satire, Solar (Cape, March) and an iconic poet-critic of their generation, Craig Raine, turns to fiction with The Divine Comedy (Atlantic, March). Rose Tremain, ever versatile, relocates to rural France for Trespass (Chatto, March). Helen Dunmore offers a sequel to her Leningrad saga The Siege in The Betrayal (Fig Tree, April). Elsewhere in the Brit fiction pack, admirers will relish the return of Jonathan Coe (The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim; Viking, May), David Mitchell The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet; Sceptre, May), Andrea Levy (The Long Song; Review, February) and Jim Crace (All That Follows; Picador, April). And fireworks will surely detonate when, in March, Philip Pullman gives his contribution to Canongate’s “Myths” series: The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. Look abroad for more some high peaks in fiction: to Turkey for Orhan Pamuk’s The Museum of Innocence (Faber, January), to Japan for Kenzaburo Oe (another Nobel winner) and his The Changeling (Atlantic, June), to Catalonia (and Mexico) for the late Roberto Bolano’s extraordinary fantasia Nazi Literature in the Americas (Picador, January) and even the Philippines for a real revelation: Miguel Syjuco’s Ilustrado (Picador, June). In the US, the terrific Richard Powers comes back with Generosity (Atlantic, January), Don De Lillo has Point Omega (Picador, February), and Dave Eggers a Hurricane Katrina novel, Zaitan (Hamish Hamilton, March). In memoirs, Christopher Hitchens’s Both Sides Now (Atlantic, May) will drop with a mighty splash. Expect delights from two family investigations, Rupert Thomson’s This Party’s Got to Stop (Granta, April) and Jackie Kay’s Red Dust Road (Picador, May), and from Antonia Fraser’s memoir of Harold Pinter, Must You Go? (Weidenfeld, January). Among the big ideas, those old stalwarts, money and morality, will hog space and move minds. In the former camp, John Lanchester comes to grips with the economic crisis in Whoops! (Allen Lane, January) and the magisterial David Harvey explores The Enigma of Capital (Profile, April). In the latter, novelist Marilynne Robinson sets off on a non-fiction journey into religion and its roots with Absence of Mind (Yale, June), Terry Eagleton reflects On Evil (Yale, May) and Roger Scruton praises The Uses of Pessimism (Atlantic, June). For a guide to the good life in tough times, however, look no further than Sarah Bakewell’s biography of the great sceptic and seeker, Montaigne: How to Live (Chatto, January).

The full article can be found here

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