The beginning of the year always finds us book nerds rubbing our hands excitedly for the new releases to come. There’s a lot to look forward to – and still many 2023 titles yet to be announced! Below, find a hard-chosen selection of what our Roaring Stories staff are most eager to get their (literal or figurative) reading glasses out for this year.
I’m about to start reading Deepti Kapoor’s epic Indian gangster story, Age of Vice. The reviews so far have been incredible and there was a huge bidding war for the TV rights. A somewhat guilty pleasure will be reading the new Bret Easton Ellis, The Shards, which sounds like classic Ellis – set in LA in the 1980s and a serial killer targeting teens. Locally, there’s a lot to look forward to, especially on the fiction front (Tony Jordan, Chris Womersley and Laura Jean McKay to name a few) but I’ve made a pact to try and read more non-fiction this year and I’ll probably start with Susan Johnson’s memoir, Aphrodite’s Breath, about the year she spent on the Greek island of Kythera with her mother. Johnson is a beautiful, underrated writer.
I’m looking forward to reading Dominic Smith’s Return to Valetto (June 2023). His earlier novel The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, which I loved, is perhaps the holder of the record for longest time spent in our staff favourites display. When I first encountered his writing in Bright and Distant Shores I thought, wow he’s truly world class. For me, he’s a must read for his ability to craft a story that resonates with a deep yet accessible emotional poetry in characters and situations that are alive.
The other day in the shop a customer said that her favourite book of 2022 was Gregory Day’s Words are Eagles, and I happily reminisced about how enjoyable I found his novel The Grand Hotel – so to discover that he has a new novel, The Bell of the World (March 2023), coming out soon was a pleasant surprise. He has an exciting and eccentric imagination.
Anticipation! What a wonderful word. Especially when it comes to new books by some of my favourite authors.
In March, Margaret Atwood has a new collection of 15 short stories coming out, Old Babes in the New Wood. These stories are meant to be deeply personal and some have not been published anywhere before.
One of my all-time favourite novels is Salman Rushdie’s The Midnight Children. I tend to be a bit hit or miss with his other books, preferring the ones set in India. In February he has a new book due out, once again set in India called Victory City. The publisher’s blurb assures me this is ‘this is Salman Rushdie at his best.’ I have very high hopes indeed!
Parisian by Isabella Hammad was one of my stand-out reads of 2020 that I still think about. In April she returns with Enter Ghost, a modern-day Palestinian story that promises to be a ‘story of diaspora, displacement, and the connection to be found in family and shared resistance. An unforgettable story of artistry and unity under occupation.’ I can’t wait!
One of my most anticipated new releases for 2023 would have to be the new Lauren Groff, Vaster Wilds. If you’ve ever even glanced at our review posts, you’ll know how much I loved Matrix, her 2021 release. This new title seems to jump further forward in history from 12th century England to a treacherous journey through an early North American landscape. Groff’s got such a knack for historical fiction, and I’m always eager for more of her sparkly prose!
I always start off the new year with the repeated resolution of Read More Non-Fiction!, to varying degrees of success. Last year I doubled my non-fiction intake (from one book to two), and this year I want to start off strong with Everywhen: Australia and the Language of Deep History, a collection of essays discussing the linguistic and cultural understandings of time and history for Aboriginal peoples, edited by Ann McGrath, Jakelin Troy, and Laura Rademaker. From the descriptions I’ve read, it seems like a mind-bending exploration of how time is perceived, breaking down the Western assumptions of a linear historical narrative.
I first read the Miles Franklin award-winning Carpentaria by Alexis Wright about five years ago. As it happened, a great Sydney storm was raging at the time, and I find the memory of the rain-sloshing turbulence happening outside my fourth-storey apartment window hard to separate from the tempest of overwhelming awe and excitement happening inside me, as I flung page over page. Wright’s last novel, also hugely acclaimed, was the The Swan Book, published all the way back in 2013. This April we’re getting Praiseworthy – an epic tale set in northern Australia, where ‘a crazed visionary seeks out donkeys as the solution to the global climate crisis and the economic dependency of the Aboriginal people.’ I can’t wait to dive into it and Wright’s rich, evocative and fearless language once again.
I’m also going to be a copycat, for (like April) I have been hooked by the reviews of Deepti Kapoor’s Age of Vice and (like Bron) I love Salman Rushdie’s hyper-imaginative, super-abundant magical tales. Who will finish them first? (Alas, a slow reader, I wouldn’t bet on me.)
Sarah Winman’s novel Still Life has become one of my favourite books of all time. After reading it, I immediately went and read all her other novels, which I also loved. So, I’m thrilled to know she has a new novel coming out this year. I can’t wait to read whatever she writes next – even if it’s just a shopping list