Swing Time by Zadie Smith (released November 2016).
Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…
Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from North-West London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.
I thoroughly enjoyed Smith’s novel White Teeth (review here), so I was very excited to hear that her new novel is coming out very soon! Female friendships are some of my favourite relationships, and I would be hugely interested to see how Smith tackles this one!
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay.
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister’s marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls’ fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America reminiscent of Merritt Tierce, Jamie Quatro, and Miranda July.
I’ve not read any of Roxane Gay’s fiction yet, so I’m probably going to do that before I get my hands on Difficult Women before it is released in early 2017. This collection of short stories sounds fantastic. I’d be really interested to read her comics, as well.
Autumn by Ali Smith
Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art – via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery – Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture, and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means.
Autumn is the first installment in Ali Smith’s novel quartet Seasonal: four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are), exploring what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.
This sounds really interesting! I’m doing quite a lot of Ali Smith this year at university, so it might be helpful to compare this to her other works.
Binti: Home by Nnedi Okorafor.
The thrilling sequel to the Nebula-nominated Binti.
It’s been a year since Binti and Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. A year since Binti was declared a hero for uniting two warring planets. A year since she left her family to pursue her dream.
And now she must return home to her people, with her friend Okwu by her side, to face her family and face her elders.
But Okwu will be the first of his race to set foot on Earth in over a hundred years, and the first ever to come in peace.
After generations of conflict can human and Meduse ever learn to truly live in harmony?
OK so I haven’t actually read Binti yet, but I am going to because Okorafor is my new fave, and I heard really good things about the first book. (And a Nebula award can’t hurt a book’s reputation, right?!)
When a sabotaged experiment gives him super strength and unbreakable skin, Luke Cage becomes a fugitive attempting to rebuild his life in Harlem and must soon confront his past and fight a battle for the heart of his city.
I’m a pretty huge Daredevil and Jessica Jones fan, so I’m looking forward to the next installment of the Defenders series!
What are you looking forward to?