Notable books: April 2011

It may be the first of April, but I’m not joking when I say that I am looking forward to the following books this month.

Robert Jackson Bennett, The Company Man

Bennett’s first novel, Mr Shivers, was one of my favourite reads of last year, a really smart fusion of fantasy, horror and historical fiction. His new book is a tale of industrial corruption set in 1919, and I look forward to reading it very much.

John Boyne, The Thief of Time

A reissue of Boyne’s 2000 debut novel about an unageing man who has lived since the eighteenth century.

Glen Duncan, The Last Werewolf

A werewolf novel, yes, but one published by Canongate, who can usually be relied upon to have interesting books. True, this is pretty flimsy reasoning; but Canongate published an interesting vampire novel last year in The Radleys, so why not?

Sebastian Fitzek, Splinter

Sounds intriguing – a man loses his wife in a car crash, then finds her alive but with no idea who he is, just as he seems to be slipping out of (or losing his grip on) reality.

Shehan Karunatilaka, Chinaman [link is to PDF extract]

I read an extract from this novel, about a dying journalist’s quest to find a missing cricketer, when I was going through the Waterstone’s 11 — and was absolutely blown away by the prose. There is no question that I’ll be reading this as soon as possible.

Sam Leith, The Coincidence Engine [link is to PDF extract]

Another of the Watertsone’s 11 that I want to read, though this time it’s the concept (it features the ‘Directorate of the Extremely Improbable’) that attracts me most.

Paul Murray, An Evening of Long Goodbyes

Skippy Dies was one of the very best books I read last year, so I certainly want to read this, his 2003 debut, now being republished.

Monique Roffey, Sun Dog

Another new edition of a debut, this one from 2002. August Chalmin has an affinity with the weather, one day discovering frost on his arm…

Naomi Wood, The Godless Boys

This debut novel takes us to the 1980s of an alternate England in which secularists have been banished to an offshore island. I first heard about The Godless Boys when Wood was on a panel for Picador Day at Foyles last May, and now I get my chance to read it.


  1. I have also bought but not read An Evening of Long Goodbyes – I’m really looking forward to it.

    I want to read Chinaman, and every review of it I’ve seen has convinced me that it’s excellent, but the edition available in India has a cover that is putting me off. I’d much rather have either of the other two covers I’ve seen it with.

  2. David Hebblethwaite

    4th April 2011 at 8:53 am

    Which version of the Chinaman cover is the one available in India – the yellow one with the cricketer, or the orange cartoony one? I like the UK cover best, though I’ve only just realised that it depicts the path of a thrown cricket ball…

  3. The Last Werewolf looks good! I haven’t read The Radleys yet but I’ve been meaning to after reading all the glowing reviews. I’m also looking forward to reading Chinaman. I read a short story of Karunatilaka’s which was impressive.

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