Under the Reader’s Radar – celebrating the quiet novel

There are thousands upon thousands of books published each year. Only a small percentage of those make it to the best-seller list. That doesn’t mean that the rest aren’t worthy of reading. It may be that they are written by self-published authors who don’t have the marketing knowledge or a small independent publisher who doesn’t have the marketing budget to spread the word. Even the larger publishing houses have a limited marketing and publicity budget so can’t promote all the novels they publish to an equal degree.

So in each post I’ll aim to highlight a couple of titles that may have been missed from your reading awareness. Hopefully you’ll discover a treat or two. And please do let me know if you have any books you’d like to suggest.

The first suggestion is from Patricia MacDonald. Her latest book, The Girl in the Woods, was published by Black Thorn Books on 4 July 2019.

She has chosen the author rather than the book.

Here’s what she had to say:

“While her brilliance has certainly been recognized, I think that the amazing work of Alice Munro is not read widely enough. The short story form, of which she is the master, is sometimes seen as not as accessible as a novel. Readers often assume that she must be too difficult to read if she won the Nobel Prize. On the contrary, she writes in a style that is almost simple, and perfectly clear. She is an ace detective, skilled at unveiling the secrets of the human heart. Any collection of her short stories is a treasure.”

If you want to try one of Alice Munro’s short story collection, then look out for Lying Under the Apple Tree, Family Furnishings, The Moons of Jupiter, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, Runaway, Dea Life, Selected Stories or Vintage Munro.

The second suggestion is from Kate Mascarenhas. Her novel, The Psychology of Time Travel, published by Head of Zeus on 9 August 2018.

Her suggestion is Genie and Paul by Natasha Soobramanien, published by Myriad Editions.

One morning in May 2003, on the cyclone-ravaged island of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean, the body of a man washes up on the beach.

Six weeks previously, the night Tropical Cyclone Kalunde first gathered force, destruction of another kind hit twenty-six-year-old Genie Lallan and her life in London: after a night out with her brother she wakes up in hospital to discover that he’s disappeared. Where has Paul gone and why did he abandon her at the club where she collapsed? Genie’s search for him leads her to Rodrigues, sister island to Mauritius – their island of origin, and for Paul, the only place he has ever felt at home. Will Genie track Paul down? And what will she find if she does?

Here’s what Kate had to say:

“Initially, I wanted to pick the Seychellois folk tales collected by Samuel Accouche and translated by Annette Bollee, as Odette was born in the Seychelles and refers to them at one point. Sadly they’re so underrated they’re out of print. So my recommendation is for a novel set a little further South in the Indian ocean. Natasha Soobramanien’s mystery Genie and Paul is about a woman’s search for her missing brother. She travels from London, where they have settled, to Rodrigues, their island of origin, because it’s the only place her brother has ever felt at home. It’s a very beautiful exploration of yearning for something that no longer exist.”

So there we have it, two authors that had completely passed me by. Have you read any of them? Do you have a quiet book you’d like to shout about? Do let me know.

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Munro is one of those authors I’ve always felt I should read, but never have. There are so many of them… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. janetemson says:

      I know! I’ve never read any of her books either. Perhaps a short story collection is the way to go. One to dip in and out of whilst reading something else.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. James McEwan says:

    I think finding a new author and their range of writing is one of the treasure hunting moments, because as you say, the marketing effort depends on a large budget or on an author’s persistence.
    What I do find inspirational as a writer is receiving e-mails from readers. I was surprised by three complimentary emails and a facebook comment a few weeks after my first novel ‘MISSING’ was published.
    It makes you appreciate that the months of writing and the struggle with the editor and proof reader were all worth the hot and cold sweats.
    Love it.


    1. janetemson says:

      It’s lovely that you received those emails 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. heavenali says:

    Shockingly I have only read one collection of Munro and that was years ago. Though I have Dear Life tbr. I really enjoyed The Psychology of Time Travel,so interesting to read her recommendation. I do like a quiet novel myself.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. janetemson says:

      I’ve re-found the joy of a quiet novel. I’ve not read any Munro and I do like the sound of The Psychology of Time Travel. I must get a copy.


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