Author Topic: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?  (Read 12339 times)

What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« on: November 13, 2018, 11:51:51 AM »
Thought I'd start this in a (probably futile) attempt to split up the WAYR? thread. I mostly read new fiction although I'm not sure if many on here do.

Anyway, I've just finished Beastings by Ben Myers which, ironically, isn't particularly new. I've read quite a few of Myers' books now and whilst he jumps across genres (crime, historical, nature and general 'literary' fiction) they all seem to inhabit the same dark, grizzly, northern place. He actually lives down the road from me and in his two crime novels it becomes quite jarring the way he re-appropriates real things to put in his book. (The mention of a female folk band called The Thank-Yous in particular drew an amused 'oh, fuck off' from me.)

Beastings only really has 4 characters, all un-named. There's a mute girl and the baby she's stolen being pursued by the Priest and The Gamekeeper. It's quite a cliched book and certainly of 'a type' - shit and blood and Northern Gothic tropes all over the place - but it was really enjoyable all the same. The ending was pretty full on and I'm still thinking about it a few days later.

I'm still not sure about Myers. His big seller - The Gallow's Pole - won awards and got him a deal with Bloomsbury, and places like Caught By The River are all over him like a rash, but I think he's a bit sixth form at times. His subjects can be thrilling and vivacious yet filled with cliche. Also, he wrote that novel about Richie Manic's last days along with a couple of Green Day biographies.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2019, 08:32:25 PM »
I just read a book called Saltwater by Jessica Andrews and it was really fucking irritating. It tells of a girl's upbringing in Sunderland in the 1980s, her alcoholic father, her travels to Ireland and to university in London and then back to ireland. the first half is pretty good but when she becomes a teenager and then gets in to music it completely loses it. She sounds like an arsehole, like a character has escaped from Skins. If it was a film there would be loads of shots of her dancing with her eyes closed and her hands making shapes above her head. She goes on about how The Libertines were a gamechanger and how after parties in London she and her friends would sleep naked on the roofs of old warehouses, daubed in glitter. I had to check that it wasn't YAF at one stage. It's got such great reviews too but it's just irritating kak.

The final, probably unfair, nail in the coffin was when I looked her up on twitter and saw a photo of her and her friends at the launch of the book.

https://twitter.com/jessicacandrews/status/1129810808639229955


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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #2 on: June 22, 2019, 07:47:18 PM »
I started reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch after finding it my local charity shop for a quid but stopped at around page 70, the prose is just really bland and the plot's quite annoying, when the lead copper discovers ghosts and magic and all kinds of madness exist he's not fazed in the slightest which feels just odd, and it started to annoy me after a bit. Now I'm reading London Falling by Paul Cornell which is quite similar (in that it features members of the police finding out that magic exists) and that's enormously better, Cornell's a far better writer and in general I'm enjoying it a lot.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2019, 08:49:27 PM »
If you like that kind of stuff, you might enjoy The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell.

Quote
It begins with a chilling scene as the seamstress Eleanor Tull throws herself to her death from a grand house in Mayfair, her skin stitched with words clotted in blood.
and there are police and magic and stuff. I read it at Christmas and really enjoyed it.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2019, 02:24:16 PM »
If you like that kind of stuff, you might enjoy The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O'Donnell.
 and there are police and magic and stuff. I read it at Christmas and really enjoyed it.

I somehow managed to miss this post but thanks for the recommendation, I'm getting some Amazon giftcards for my birthday next week so will buy it then.

Inspector Norse

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2019, 11:39:14 PM »
I just started Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf. I liked (not sure I loved) his Booker-winning prior effort but this has had mixed reviews. It’s easy to see why: one man’s teeming and evocative is another man’s overwritten and self-indulgent.

So far (80ish pages in the trade paperback) I’m enjoying it, but it’s certainly not an easy read. It’s a kind of mythological African fantasy - quite a step from the ’80s Jamaica and US setting of Seven Killings - and the language is twisting, the detail dense and strange, and the plot and characters hard to pin down. It threatens to be fascinating but frustrating: I often like that kind of book a lot.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2019, 10:20:24 AM »
Just finished Adam Ehrlich Sachs' The Organs of Sense. It's essentially a darkly comic shaggy dog story, and I can see where the comparisons to Thomas Bernhard are coming from. It's very rare I get to any new book (especially a novel) so soon after publication - this came out in May, I think - but I wanted to read it quickly after seeing the reviews, and I don't regret moving it to the top of my pile. Absolutely loved it.

Now halfway through Jana Beňová's Seeing People Off, and while I'm not flying through this anywhere near as quickly, it's very readable with all its micro-observations about a bunch of Bratislava-based hipsters, and slow-burn experimentation.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2019, 01:00:23 PM »
I started reading Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch after finding it my local charity shop for a quid but stopped at around page 70, the prose is just really bland and the plot's quite annoying

I took me a long time to come to this conclusion. I've read about six (seven?) of these books.

The reason for getting through so much of this series is that my partner and I like to read out loud to each other. It is one of our ways of avoiding the tellybox and to distract from our ongoing physical decay. The books we read out loud tend to be easy and fun with an excuse to do the voices. H2G2 is the benchmark.

Anyway, I am done with the Rivers books now. The last two have been fairly weak even by their own standards, and now there are references everywhere (adverts really) to events that happened in spin-off comics. I do not want to read those.

The worst thing about these books (and I do not hate them - they have provided many an hour of closeness in our house) is that they're somehow not written for the Young Adult market. Apparently they're actually for grown-ups. I cannot believe this. It's not the events in the books that are childish per se (though, being fantasy, they are) but the entire tone. Also the size of the font. I cannot see how they weren't written for twelve-year-olds. I appreciate that this might be a comment about THE WORLD more than these books.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2019, 02:55:05 PM by Mobbd »

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2019, 01:04:21 PM »
Thought I'd start this in a (probably futile) attempt to split up the WAYR? thread. I mostly read new fiction although I'm not sure if many on here do.

I am trying to read more new fiction.

Only Americans Burn in Hell by Jarett Kobek has been an eye-opener.

Also I am recently into Joe Dunthorne. He wrote Submarine (which I have not read but Richard Ayoade probably has) and The Adulterants, which I liked.

Does anyone here recommend (a) Dunthorne's poetry, (b) Kobek's other books, (c) putting my bell-end in a mincer?

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2019, 06:01:14 AM »
I was recommended The Rending and the Nest as I'm working on something post-apocalyptic and I am really not enjoying it so far.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2019, 04:57:51 PM »
I agree with all of the Rivers of London chat. I read the first one on a recommendation and thought it was a bit 'nothing'. It's easy reading young adult (but not?) fluff but without the fun. My default "urban fantasy" series is the Dresden files, which is admittedly also a bit shit, but definitely scratches some sort of itch. Would recommend starting with the 3rd one though.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2019, 11:48:55 AM »
What counts as new(ish) fiction? Published in the last 5 years? Or since last year?

Anyway I'm reading Sight (2018) by Jessie Greengrass. A novel about a woman struggling to come to terms with motherhood via her relationship with her own mother and grandmother, with the story of the discovery of the X-Ray weaved in somehow.

70 pages in and I suppose I'm enjoying it, but it's not exactly easy-reading: long multi-clause sentences in passages that last 1-2 pages, little dialogue or character exploration, no story as such to follow. The slightly stream-of-consciousness introspective narrative style reminds me of Margaret Atwood, if I recall her work correctly. Every word feels well-placed and the author is clearly bloody clever, but after the lightness of Normal People this feels heavy.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #12 on: August 26, 2019, 12:02:14 AM »
What counts as new(ish) fiction? Published in the last 5 years? Or since last year?

I thought 21st century maybe. Just wanted to try and fragment the 'what are you reading?' thread.

I'm currently halfway through a book called Water Shall Refuse Them by Lucie McKnight Hardy and it's really good. A young teen girl, Nif, who has recently lost her younger sister moves with her family to an eerie dilapidated cottage in Wales in the middle of a scorching hot summer. It becomes apparent that she's a bit of a rum 'un and she makes friend with a similar lad who lives in the cottage next door. There's also a church run by some oddbods and a mum who believes she's communicating with her dead daughter.

I also recently finished the latest book by David Nicholls (Sweet Sorrow) and I enjoyed it in an easy-going read kind of way. It really suited the weather and time of year, being about the end of the final school term and a summer holiday romance and it captured both of those really well. It was a bit trashy but it was a nice thing to look forward to reading on the train home from work.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #13 on: August 27, 2019, 12:30:19 PM »
Happiness (2018) by Aminatta Forna is a nice read.  Like a holiday froth book but without too much saccharine and lots of local details.  It reminded me of that film ‘Singles’ but in a good way.  Good if you want something light but not too fluffy. 

There is a very small bit of the book where there’s a twitter ‘storm’.  It’s not very well executed and I’m sure it will age terribly.  Common in new(ish) fiction these days.   

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2019, 03:58:55 AM »
I was recommended The Rending and the Nest as I'm working on something post-apocalyptic and I am really not enjoying it so far.

I finished this and it got better and wasn't bad but overall I did not like it very much. It has that weird faux-poetic sentimentality that a lot of current fiction seems to suffer from.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2019, 05:40:52 PM »
Crap Holiday by Jenny "World Of Crap" Morrill. I needed something not too serious, and this is some very amusing writing about a woman being a disgusting pisshead, which I can frankly relate to, and it has frequently made me howl with laughter.

As it's about someone going on holiday by mistake, it's also more than a bit Withnail & I. Just don't read it if you're vegan...

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2019, 12:32:22 PM »


The Need by Helen Phillips starts with a woman with her two young children trying to make them be quiet as she's become aware that there's an intruder walking round their house. The woman is a paleobotanist and is excavating a pit where strange items - a coca-cola bottle where the writing slants the 'wrong' way, a bible that refers to god as a woman throughout - keep emerging and it becomes apparent that the two things are linked. Really enjoyed it, short and punchy chapters, nice and eerie. Loads of people seem to have been put off it because there's lots of references ot motherhood and breast feeding but fuck them.



Follow Me to Ground by Sue Rainsford reminded me a tiny bit of the novel of Under The Skin. A father and daughter live in a remote house and locals come to visit them to get healed. It very quickly emerges that the two aren't human and that the soil around the cottage plays an important part in their lives.



Just started Stillicide by Cynan Jones who is one of my favourite writers. This one sounds a bit sci-fi which is a bit of a departure for him as his books are usually really earthy but a quick scan reveals that he's not given up his very exact poetic style.

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #17 on: February 06, 2020, 09:41:38 PM »
Just finished the new book by Niall 'Sheepshagger' Griffiths and its a right pile of shit. 3 fucked up 'losers' have a shit rave up a mountain and see a vision of a woman in the sky. Stupid fucking book. Particularly dislike how Griffiths describes the attractive female character sleeping around and getting hurt sexually.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #18 on: February 08, 2020, 12:21:44 PM »
Just finished the new book by Niall 'Sheepshagger' Griffiths and its a right pile of shit. 3 fucked up 'losers' have a shit rave up a mountain and see a vision of a woman in the sky. Stupid fucking book. Particularly dislike how Griffiths describes the attractive female character sleeping around and getting hurt sexually.

I thought Niall was one of the better post-Trainspotting authors. In fact it's a bit insulting to describe him in those terms even though he did produce some stuff that shared elements with Welsh, he had an entirely different tone. And its not like Irvine invented the drugsdrugsdrugs genre anyway. I loved 'Grits'[1], liked but was mildly disappointed by Sheepshagger, was baffled by Kelly + Victor[2], enjoyed Stump and have absolutely no recollection or reading Runt but apparently did. Stump, I recall, had one of the most realistic and relatable depictions of alcoholism that I have read, without any of the weepy wankiness that is often associated (largely by me) with that type of thing. I suppose I just got burnt out by Griffiths, but I was intrigued by the premise of the new one enough to borrow it from the library only to return it unread because it gave off a bad vibe, man. Which, I think you'll all agree, is literary criticism at its very best. I dunno, I think me and Griffiths are done and that was the final Niall (nail) in the coffin.

I recently read Born Slippy by Tom Lutz which was annoyingly forgettable. Modern noir with a little bit of politics there ladies and gentlemen thrown in. Aiming for Chandleresque, I suppose, achieving it at times. But... so fucking what. It's not even bad but I resent having spent time on it. I also read The Topeka School by Ben Lerner which genuinely had something to say about the twenty-first century human condition without it being awkwardly shoehorned in. If Lutz has achieved Chandleresqueness then Lerner has attained full Lerneresqueness, perhaps unsurprisingly. If anyone was going to pull it off, it was Lerner. It's his third fucking good novel in a row and he's beginning to piss me off now.

Oh, and I read The Fisherman off the back off some of the recommendations on here. I did enjoy it, although toward the end we veered disconcertingly close to fantasy territory rather than the folk horror area I feel more interested in and is actually good. I realise horror/fantasy can often share a certain amount of ground but this overstepped the mark a bit in the final third, I felt. I absolutely fucking despise fantasy fiction. You can stick it right up your arse.
 1. At the time. I did try to re-read it fairly recently and was bored. But then, I'm always bored.
 2. 'Kelly + Fister'
« Last Edit: February 08, 2020, 12:33:13 PM by Doomy Dwyer »

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #19 on: February 08, 2020, 10:42:37 PM »
Have you read any Cynan Jones, Doomy? Does a good line in Welsh grit. Prose like a greased arse.

Doomy Dwyer

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #20 on: February 09, 2020, 05:09:37 PM »
I haven't, no. Where would you recommend I begin to probe his oeuvre? The Dig sounds good.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2020, 03:47:27 PM »
Yeah, The Dig is exceptionally good. Very short too, more of a novella than a novel. BIG themes, lapidary prose.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2020, 03:35:22 PM »
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner
The Amazon reviews are surprisingly negative for such a well-regarded book. Sounds good though.

"The Resisters" by Gish Jen
Dystopian, about baseball. It's sort of vaguely YA, and given the positive press I heard about it before it was released, I was sort of bummed out it wasn't as good as I was expecting.

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #23 on: April 16, 2020, 11:28:31 AM »
Yeah, The Dig is exceptionally good. Very short too, more of a novella than a novel. BIG themes, lapidary prose.
Just starting this. Nasty.

the midnight watch baboon

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #24 on: April 16, 2020, 11:44:00 AM »


The Need by Helen Phillips starts with a woman with her two young children trying to make them be quiet as she's become aware that there's an intruder walking round their house. The woman is a paleobotanist and is excavating a pit where strange items - a coca-cola bottle where the writing slants the 'wrong' way, a bible that refers to god as a woman throughout - keep emerging and it becomes apparent that the two things are linked. Really enjoyed it, short and punchy chapters, nice and eerie. Loads of people seem to have been put off it because there's lots of references ot motherhood and breast feeding but fuck them.






EDITING NIGHTMARE

TIA, am going to read this based upon your review. High-concept or whatever, I like the idea and interesting subject matter. Not reading too much more modern stuff though kind of looking forward to the new Stephen King collection - out next week, I believe :O
« Last Edit: April 16, 2020, 03:14:40 PM by the midnight watch baboon »

samadriel

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #25 on: April 17, 2020, 06:51:03 AM »
Edit bug

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #26 on: April 17, 2020, 02:31:02 PM »
Yeah, The Dig is exceptionally good. Very short too, more of a novella than a novel. BIG themes, lapidary prose.
Just finished it. Really nasty. And so sad. But so good, too.
So, d'ya think Daniel was killed then?

Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #27 on: April 17, 2020, 11:39:16 PM »
No, I don't. I've not read it for a while but there was something in there that made me think he'd make it.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #28 on: April 20, 2020, 11:36:13 AM »
No, I don't. I've not read it for a while but there was something in there that made me think he'd make it.
Will re-read ending.

Artie Fufkin

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Re: What new(ish) fiction are you reading?
« Reply #29 on: April 20, 2020, 11:38:50 AM »
I'm now reading The Echo by James Smythe.
Weird space goings on if the first boook is anything to go by (The Explorer, which The Echo is 'kind of' a sequel to).
I also read James Acaster's Classic Scrapes. It had a couple of LOL's in it. A palette cleanser after The Dig.

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