Notable books: September 2011

September has arrived, and autumn with it here in the UK (not that it’s particularly distinguishable from summer…); which means: new books! I’m particularly looking forward to these:

David Almond, The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean

A book that came to my attention as a result of my interest in mainstream-published fantastic fiction, this is the story of a boy in a broken world, written as by Billy with his own idiosyncratic approach to spelling. I’m instinctively reminded of Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy; I can only hope Almond’s novel is as good.

Gavin James Bower, Made in Britain

I liked Bower’s 2009 debut, Dazed & Aroused, more than I might have anticipated from its subject matter (a model messes up his life againsta  background of glossy superficiality); so I’m intrigued to read his second novel, which focuses on three teenagers growing up in a washed-out northern English town.

Alois Hotschnig, Maybe This Time

A departure for Peirene Press, this is their first collection of short stories. It sounds like dark, borderline-supernatural fiction, which should be right up my street.

Erin Morgernstern, The Night Circus

This tale of a mysterious and magical travelling circus in the late 19th century is being trumpeted as one of the hottest books of the autumn. I’m rather sceptical of the hype, but would love Morgernstern’s debut to live up to it.

Christopher Priest, The Islanders

Priest is one of my absolute favourite authors, so I’m always going to be interested in a new book by him. This, his first novel in nine years, returns to the setting of his Dream Archipelago stories, which also featured in The Affirmation.

The SF Gateway

If anything were ever going to persuade me to read ebooks, this may be it: vast numbers of classic science fiction and fantasy titles being brought back into print by Gollancz as digital editions. A brilliant idea.

Juan Pablo Villalobos, Down the Rabbit Hole

One of the first two titles from new independent publisher And Other Stories, this novel about a Mexican drug baron’s son who wishes for his own pet hippopotamus has made it on to the longlist for this year’s Guardian first book award.


  1. I’ve just read The Night Circus and it almost lives up to the hype. It was very vivid and I’m sure it will still be read 10 years from now, but does the same sort of thing The Prestige does better.

  2. I ve maybe this time lined up have read down rabbit hole already ,my mointh taken up with parallel stories ,all the best stu

  3. David Hebblethwaite

    1st September 2011 at 2:43 pm

    Thanks, Jackie, that’s interesting. Even if it just comes close to The Prestige, that’s enough to make me want to read it.

    Stu, I heard about Parallel Stories; that is a long book — good luck with it!

  4. I hadn’t heard of The Night Circus before, but it certainly caught my interest. I’m looking forward to that one as well.

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