james debate
james debate

Sunday 21 January 2024

Welcome back to The Ephemeric's 2024 Hot List. This week we will have a look at the most exciting new literature and novels you'll be reading in the coming year.

best anticipated new novels literature 2024 hot list
Best advice I ever received: you can't read too much. If you can find the time, reading a book can offer greater enrichment than any other activity. But time is precious. There's only so many books one can reasonably find time to read. 2024 is shaping up to be another year blessed with an abundance of tantalizing new stories and perspectives, and here I am going to try and whittle that long list down to just the very best.

So here it is: your reading list for 2024, our list of the top 10 upcoming releases from the world of literature to keep an eye on this year, starting, as always, with number 10:

10. "Anita de Monte Laughs Last" by Xóchitl González

best literature 2024 novel book anita de monte laughs last xochitl gonzalez
When Anita de Monte, a rising star in the art world, is found dead in 1985 New York City, her death becomes the talk of the town. But by 1998 her work and legacy are all but forgotten. That is until Raquel, a third year art history student, stumbles upon Anita's story and begins to notice eerie parallels with her own life.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last is the second novel of Xóchitl González. A story of art, power, and legacy told from dual perspectives across time that is being tipped as one of the essential reads of early 2024.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last releases in March.

9. "You Like it Darker" by Stephen King

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The latest work from horror maestro Stephen King, You Like it Darker is a compelling collection of twelve short stories, showcasing the legendary author's expertise in the realms of horror, suspense, and the supernatural. 

Published by Scribner in May 2024, this 512-page anthology delves into the darker aspects of life, both metaphorically and literally, and includes many stories that have never been published before. 

This collection is a testament to King's ability to weave tales that are rich, riveting, and thematically weighty, offering readers a mix of thrills, joys, and mysteries.

8. "The Demon of Unrest" by Erik Larson

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The Demon of Unrest by Erik Larson is a historical narrative that captures the tumultuous five months between Abraham Lincoln's election in November 1860 and the onset of the Civil War. 

Larson, known for his mastery in blending historical detail with compelling storytelling, brings to life this critical period marked by political strife, division, and a nation on the brink of collapse. The book focuses on several key figures: Major Robert Anderson, the commander of Fort Sumter; Edmund Ruffin, a radical secessionist; Mary Boykin Chesnut, a planter's wife conflicted over marriage and slavery; and Abraham Lincoln himself, struggling with a duplicitous Secretary of State, William Seward, and the looming threat of war. 

The Demon of Unrest releases in April.

7. "The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands" by Sarah Brooks

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It is the end of the 19th Century and the world is awash with marvels. But there is nothing so marvellous as the Wastelands: a terrain of terrible miracles that lies between Beijing and Moscow. Nothing touches this abandoned wilderness except the Great Trans-Siberian Express: an impenetrable train built to carry cargo across continents, but which now transports anyone who dares to cross the shadowy Wastelands.

The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks is a historical fantasy novel set on the grand Trans-Siberian Express. It portrays a group of passengers embarking on a perilous journey across a magical landscape. 

Set for release in June, this novel explores themes of humanity, nature, capitalism, and empire

6.  "Godwin" by Joseph O'Neill

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Mark Wolfe is a technically gifted but self-sabotaging writer living in Pittsburgh with his wife and daughter, and his half-brother Geoff, a young, desperate soccer agent from the UK. Godwin by Joseph O’Neill follows the odyssey of these two brothers on a global journey in pursuit of an African soccer prodigy named "Godwin," believed to be the next big thing. 

The narrative, alternating between the perspectives of Mark and his work colleague Lakesha Williams, weaves together themes of family, migration, and the entwining beauty and darkness of soccer. The brothers' adventure implicates them in the complexities of international business, revealing the perils and promises of the global capitalist system and the lingering shadows of colonialism. 

Joseph O’Neill began his career in non-fiction, but is building a reputation for incisive writing on the subjects of capitalism and the colonial legacy, set here against a humanist backdrop of familial love and the highest aspirations. Godwin releases in June.

5. "The Last Murder at the End of the World" by Stuart Turton

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A high-concept murder mystery set in a post-apocalyptic world, The Last Murder at the End of the World by Stuart Turton depicts an idyllic island, home to 122 villagers and 3 scientists, which represents the last bastion of humanity after the rest of the world is destroyed by a deadly fog. The tranquility of the island is shattered when one of the beloved scientists is brutally murdered, triggering a security system failure that threatens to expose the island to the lethal fog. 

This blend of mystery, suspense, and science fiction, coming from the author of the acclaimed The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, promises a story full of twists and ingenuity, exploring themes of survival, memory, and human nature under extreme circumstances. This novel releases in May.

4. "I Cheerfully Refuse" by Leif Enger

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I Cheerfully Refuse by Leif Enger revolves around Rainy, a bereaved musician, as he embarks on a surreal journey across a sentient Lake Superior in search of his lost, deeply beloved bookselling wife. 

What follows is a narrative rich with elements of adventure and exploration, as Rainy navigates through harrowing storms and finds a land rife with desperation, illiteracy, and a ruling malignant billionaire class. 

The novel, described as a symphony against despair and a rallying cry for the future, combines lyrical prose with a reflection on love, loss, and resilience in a world grappling with profound transformations​.

3. "James" by Percival Everett

best literature 2024 novel book james percival everett huckleberry finn
Certainly one of the major literary events of 2024, James is a provocative and inventive reimagining of Mark Twain's classic Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, told from the perspective of the enslaved character Jim, more commonly known under a name now considered too offensive to use.

Percival Everett's narrative retains many of Twain’s original set pieces but grapples with the prejudices of the time to recast Jim as a character of profound agency, intelligence, and compassion. The novel is both a gripping adventure and a deep exploration of themes like freedom, identity, and the human spirit. 

James is being tipped as one of the most significant releases in recent years, offering a fresh and critical perspective on a classic tale​. James releases in March.

2. "Evenings and Weekends" by Oisín McKenna

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Described as a Richard Curtis movie in novel-form (with a hint of Sally Rooney), Oisín McKenna's debut novel, Evenings and Weekends, follows three young adults through a sweltering London heatwave, weaving their interconnected lives as heat and tensions rise.

This heartfelt, sexually charged, and humorously disarming narrative offers a mesmerizing dive into the soul of a city and examines the challenges facing young adults in contemporary urban life.

McKenna has received a great deal of buzz with this first novel, which releases in April.

1. "The Life Impossible" by Matt Haig

best literature 2024 novel book life impossible matt haig
Matt Haig achieved global success and recognition with his last novel, The Midnight Library. His newest work, The Life Impossible, follows Grace Winters, a widow and retired math teacher. Grace's life, which revolves around solitude, bird watching, and crossword puzzles, takes an unexpected turn when a long-lost friend passes away under mysterious circumstances, leaving her a house on the Spanish island of Ibiza. This unexpected inheritance marks the beginning of a wild adventure and a profound transformation for Grace. 

The novel promises to be a heartwarming narrative filled with colourful characters, showing how a sudden change in perspective can dramatically alter one's life. Expect a heart-warming narrative, demonstrating how a new outlook can emerge at any moment and change everything

So there you have it folks: 2024 in literature. Tune in soon for our next instalment of the Hot List, covering the essential new theatre coming up in 2024!

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