International publishers are gearing up for releases from major authors in 2011. Alison Flood lists nine of them.
The Pale King by David Foster Wallace
The final, unfinished novel from the great Foster Wallace, who killed himself in 2008. It tells of the mind-numbingly boring jobs of employees at an Internal Revenue Service tax centre and stars a certain ‘David Wallace”. If it’s anything like the American writer’s masterpiece, Infinite Jest (a ‘three-stage rocket to the future”, according to Don DeLillo), then readers are in for a treat. Published by Hamish Hamilton.
Pulse by Julian Barnes
Barnes’s third short-story collection, and his first work of fiction since the bestselling Arthur and George, Pulse moves from Italian vineyards to the English seaside, from a tale of Garibaldi spotting
his future wife through a telescope while anchored off the Brazilian coast to the story of a divorced estate agent who falls in love with a European waitress. Published by Jonathan Cape.
The Troubled Man by Henning Mankell
This is the first new Kurt Wallander novel for a decade and it will also be the last. The Swedish detective investigates the disappearance of his daughter Linda’s prospective father-in-law, a retired naval officer. As Wallander delves into the case of the missing man, he uncovers secrets from the Cold War that threaten to cause an unprecedented political scandal, while also looking back over his own past. Published by Harvill Secker.
Project X by Jeffrey Deaver
American thriller writer Deaver — creator of the quadriplegic detective Lincoln Rhyme — follows in the footsteps of Sebastian Faulks to give us his take on James Bond in this officially sanctioned new story, currently known as Project X. Deaver is giving little away about the plot, but we do know that he’s bringing Ian Fleming’s creation into the 21st century — 007’s more xenophobic, sexist attitudes will be getting a makeover. Published by Hodder & Stoughton.
The Girl in the Polka-Dot Dress by Beryl Bainbridge
This is the novel Bainbridge was putting the finishing touches to when she died last July. It’s set around the assassination of Bobby Kennedy — several witnesses remembered seeing a mysterious girl wearing a polka-dot dress in the Ambassador Hotel. She was never found and the book sees the author, short-listed five times for the Booker, imagining how the girl ended up in Los Angeles that night and the ‘terrible act” she was responsible for seven years earlier. Published by Little, Brown.
The Children of Lovers by Judy Carver
Taking its title from the proverb ‘the children of lovers are orphans”, this memoir sees the author recall her difficult, brilliant, conflicted father, William Golding, as he changed from a poor schoolteacher to a Nobel prize-winning novelist. ‘When I was older, I tried to suggest to him that people might not like what he was saying,” Carver writes. ‘He swung towards me, his eyes ferocious. ‘Your trouble is you want everything to be smooth.’?” Published by Faber & Faber.
The Stranger’s Child by Alan Hollinghurst
Hollinghurst’s first novel since The Line of Beauty won the Booker in 2004, The Stranger’s Child is the intertwined story of two families, from the eve of World War I to the end of the 20th century. Could another Booker prize be in the offing? Published by Picador.
Dickens by Claire Tomalin
The Invisible Woman, Tomalin’s story of Charles Dickens’s relationship with the actress Nelly Ternan, won her a clutch of awards in 1990. Now, in the year before the Dickens bicentenary, she returns to the subject with a full biography of the novelist, examining the paradoxes of his life — from how he deserted his wife yet wrote sentimentally about the family to how he selflessly supported the poor yet cut off some of his own relatives. Published by Penguin.
Vagina: A Cultural History by Naomi Wolf
Wolf, the feminist author of The Beauty Myth, looks at the ‘dark continent” of female sexuality, examining attitudes to the vagina from
the Greeks and Romans to the present day and exploring the ways in which they stand as a metaphor for how women are seen and how they see themselves. Published by Virago. —