The literary and film talk of 2016 was Paula Hawkins’s The Girl on the Train. This year she is following up her bestseller with another psychological thriller, Into the Water, being released in May 2017. Exhibiting more of her understanding of human instinct, Hawkins explores the deceptiveness of memory and emotion in her new novel.
But, if you are looking for a new contemporary classic, Tracy Chevalier has an interesting take on Shakespeare with her novel, New Boy, demonstrating a modern adaptation of The Tragedy of Othello set in 1970’s Washington.
Nevertheless, dominating this year’s literary shelf are various books narrating the growing refugee crisis and modern reactions to Islam. The most notable works on this theme are those of Omar Saif Chobash and Samer, who have both written their stories from a thought-provoking and personal perspective. In Letters to a Young Muslim, released in January, Chobash describes what it means to be Muslim in a series of heartfelt personal letters dedicated to his son. Samer’s The Raqqa Diaries: Escape from Islamic State is written in the form of a personal diary, detailing his experiences as part of an activist group in Raqqa, Al-Sharqiya 24, to the BBC.
However, if you are in search of something more light-hearted, 2017 has many new releases for you. Tree Magic, by Harriet Springbett, is a story of fantasy and escape, exploring the emotions of an unusual teenager, in a way that can be empathised with by both adults and youths, it is both stimulating and heartfelt.
Also, this year, Elif Batuman’s The Idiot, promises to be a brilliant coming of age story depicting the art of inventing oneself, described by Kirkus Review as being “self-aware, cerebral, and delightful.”
Other honourary mentions:
Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
The Clock’s in this House All Tell Different Times by Xan Brooks
Widdershins by Helen Steadman
The Refugees by Viet Thang Nguyen
– Emily Stephenson