Best books 2018: 19 new novels and non-fiction books to look out for this year

Best books 2018: 19 new novels and non-fiction books to look out for this year
10 May

Following a bumper crop of critically acclaimed books in 2017, this year promises a string of new releases from literary giants such as Mario Vargas Llosa, Karl Ove Knausgaard, Zadie Smith and Julian Barnes. That’s not to mention a host of exciting new talent – and a political thriller from Bill Clinton.

Feel Free by Zadie Smith

A new Zadie Smith book is always accompanied by a fair amount of fanfare, but in Feel Free, the hype is well-warranted. 

With subjects ranging from Jay-Z and Quentin Tarantino to Facebook and Trump’s America, Smith’s “brilliant”, second collection of essays, “is at once delightful, challenging, and important”, says Esquire, “and might be the closest we’ll ever get to a real-life conversation with the fiercely private writer”.

Out now

Brave by Rose McGowen

The long-awaited memoir chronicling the life of actress and activist Rose McGowen, Brave tracks her childhood growing up in the Children of God cult to her experiences with Harvey Weinstein and the Hollywood machine.

“A must-read as the era of #metoo moves into a new year”, says Harper Bazaar.

Out now

The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

A must for all coffee lovers, Eggers’s non-fiction story tells the tale of fellow San Franciscan Mokhtar Alkhanshali, raised by Yemeni immigrant parents, who travels to Yemen to learn about the origins of coffee making and is caught up in the civil war.

Out now

The Only Story by Julian Barnes

The Booker Prize-winning author of The Sense of an Ending returns with a novel telling how a young man’s love for an older woman darkens into the tragedy of a destroyed life.

Out now

A long way from Home by Peter Carey

The double Booker prize-winning author returns to the remote country towns of his youth to address his complicated relationship with race as a white Australian, and deals directly for the first time with the sprawling Aboriginal history of the Australian continent.

Set in the 1950s, the novel follows Irene Bobs and her husband as they enter the Redex Trial, a brutal motor race around the Australian outback, “over roads no car will ever quite survive”.

“I couldn’t have imagined that a car race could be so enthralling,” says the Guardian’s Tessa Hadley.

The couple enlists the help of their neighbour Willie Bachbuber, a scholarly, melancholy young schoolteacher with a penchant for cartography and “a few skeletons in his closet (some of which even he doesn’t know about)”, The Independent adds. “But the real heart of the novel is an exploration of Australia’s brutal, bloody past and the atrocities and injustices endured by its indigenous population.”

Out now

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

The second novel from the author of Beasts of No Nation (which was later adapted into an award-winning Netflix film), Speak No Evil covers strikingly different ground to its predecessor.

Harvard educated Iweala starts his follow-up novel far closer to home with the Harvard-bound son of privileged Nigerians. But after young Niru is inadvertently outed to his profoundly homophobic parents by his white friend Meredith, the novel “veers into the dark unknown” as his life becomes “a journey of confusion, torment and, eventually, violence”, says Vulture.

Out now

The Melody by Jim Crace

Another bleak portrayal by the author of Harvest, The Melody is “a fable about grief, myth, music and persecution, in which a widowed musician inadvertently sparks a campaign of violence against the paupers scratching a living on the fringes of town”, says The Guardian.

Out now

Air Traffic: A Memoir of Ambition and Manhood in America by Gregory Pardlo

Taking as a point of departure his father’s own role in the infamous 1981 US air traffic controllers strike, which saw the newly-elected Ronald Reagan go head-head-to-head with the unions, Gregory Pardlo’s memoir is “a masterwork, blending personal and family history with a historicised critique on blackness and masculinity” says Vogue.

Conveying a similarly epoch-defining confrontation as Margaret Thatcher battle with the miners a few years later, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author manages that rarest of things – to tell a personal memoir that is also a story about modern America.

Pre-order until 10 April

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

Twenty-five years on from the release of The English Patient, Michael Ondaatje returns to familiar territory, with a novel set in the aftermath of the Second World War. A series of unexplained mysteries involving abductions, disappearances and intrigue begin in Blitz London and unravel over number of years. The book is a return to form for the Booker Prize-winning author.

Out in 8 May

The Neighbourhood by Mario Vargas Llosa

A bona fide literary giant, Peru’s most celebrated author and Nobel laureate tackles political corruption, the hazards of extreme wealth and erotic intrigues in his latest novel.

Out in May

Identity by Francis Fukuyama

Fukuyama’s oft-cited End of History has proved not a prophetic as it once seemed but he remains one of the world’s most respected and accessible thinkers. Identity tackles the much-covered themes of populism and politicised Islam, and the conflict between liberalism and white nationalism.

Out in May

The Female Persuasion, by Meg Wolitzer

Wolitzer “has always found a way to write engrossing, smart, and breezy books that also cut to the heart of the conundrum of living as a woman in the world”, says Vulture, and her latest book is no exception, focusing on the generational tensions among modern feminists at a fictional US college.

Out 6 June

Room to Dream by David Lynch and Kristine McKenna

Fresh from near-universal praise for his Twin Peaks follow-up, visionary director David Lynch teams ups with Kristine McKenna to deliver a part memoir, part biography incorporating interviews with friends and contemporaries.

Out in 12 June

The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson

Political memoirs are ten-a-penny but it is not so often a former US president turns his hand to fiction. Teaming up with writing machine James Patterson, Bill Clinton brings insider knowledge to this political thriller.

Out in June

The Fruits of my Labour by Karl Ove Knausgaard

From one literary giant to another: “The final volume in the epic Norwegian autobiographical series includes a long essay on Hitler and a consideration of the personal fallout from his earlier books,” reports The Guardian.

Out in July

Paris Echo by Sebastian Faulks

The author of Birdsong uses Paris’s troubled past, both under the Nazis and with its former colonies, as a way of meditating upon the country’s complicated history and culture.

Out in September

Breaking News by Alan Rusbridger

The former Guardian editor-in-chief turned Cambridge don explores the hidden powers controlling the modern media, what impact this has on political debate and why it matters.

Out in September

Love Is Blind by William Boyd

Any Human Heart author goes full Moulin Rouge with his tale of a young Scottish artist who finds himself (and love) in fin-de-siecle Paris.

Out in September

Agency by William Gibson

Famed for science fiction novels predicting the modern internet age (and for being the man who coined the word “cyberspace”) Gibson now imagines a world in which Hillary Clinton won the US election, and a London two centuries in the future where most of humanity has perished.

Out in 31 Dec



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