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 novel has been suggested by Ruth Thomas. Her novel, The Snow and the Works on the Northern Line, was published by Sandstone Press on 7 January 2021.

She suggested Crazy by Jane Feaver, published by Corsair on 8 April 2021.

‘Perhaps my problem all along is that I’ve never understood or recognized the difference between story and life…’

Crazy is an account of the origins and progress of an early, all-consuming relationship. Jane, the teller of the tale, shuttles between her present predicament, assailed by physical symptoms she can’t explain, and the story in hand, an ill-fated tale of obsession compelling in its rawness and emotional candour. With humour and a poetic sturdiness that is by now characteristic of her writing, Jane returns to scenes of childhood whose after-effects can be seen to permeate the emotional landscape of what unfolds – marriage, childbirth and the vagaries of working life.

Questions of love, ambition and identity are examined in a novel that is, above all, about story-making itself, about who gets to tell the tale and how, and about the ways in which those stories we absorb and accrue become the ones that make us, and (if anything can) might redeem us, too.

Here’s what she had to say:

“I’ve just been reading Crazy by Jane Feaver – a very poetic and clear-eyed account of a woman emerging from the wreckage of a broken marriage. This makes it sound pretty serious – which it is – but it also contains some excellent deadpan wit and fantastically evocative imagery. I love Feaver’s way with subtext. Lines like ‘His father is a Medievalist. An expert on hermits’ really told me all I needed to know about certain characters!”

The second suggestion comes from Bella Osborne. Her latest novel, The Library, was published by Aria in ebook on 2 September 2021, and is released in paperback on 6 January 2022.

She suggested Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis, published by Orion on 19 August 2021.

When Noelle and Sam’s lives collide one snowy evening, they spend eight perfect hours stuck side by side believing that they’ll never see each other again.

But soon their lives become entangled in ways they never expected – and it’s going to change everything…

Here’s what she had to say:

“There have been a few this year but my favourite is Eight Perfect Hours by Lia Louis. I loved, loved, loved it! I mean everything about it. EVERYTHING! The characters, the situation, the angst, the romance but especially the author’s storytelling ability – it is off the scale. Such a warm uplifting story that will stay with me for a very long time.”

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

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Another couple of interesting titles, Janet – there are so many books coming out that it’s impossible to keep track!

    Like

  2. If you’re on Edelweiss, I’d like to suggest you download (no request needed) Someone Loves You by Mona Arshi. I’m reading it now and enjoying it very much. It will NOT be on many readers’ radars, that’s for sure!

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