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The year has promising literary fiction releases by critically acclaimed writers from around the world

collage of Haruki Murakami (left), Jhumpa Lahiri (Centre) and Kazuo Ishiguro (right)Wikimedia Commons
Features Books Friday, January 01, 2021 - 16:53

Having spent a gruesome year locked within homes for months, many turned to books for an escape. Although the vaccines will soon be out, it is only fair to tread cautiously, especially after the emergence of mutatations of the SARS-CoV-2 virus across the globe. Being tucked in your safe spaces with a book doesn’t really sound bad, does it? 

While there is an ocean of books to choose from, these new literary fiction novels from celebrated authors promise an exciting year ahead, at least in the literary arena. 

Here’s a list of five books by celebrated authors you can add to your reading list for 2021:

Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri

The English translation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s second novel in the past decade is scheduled to be published by Penguin Random House. Lahiri’s novels have always been focused on [Indian] immigrants and how they navigate between the cultural values of their homeland and adopted home. Whereabouts, the translation of her first Italian novel Dove mi trovo, focuses on similar themes from a new perspective. It will be interesting to witness the refined magic of her writing in the novel. The book will be released in Spring of 2021.

Klara and The Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

The second one in this list is Nobel Prize laureate Kazuo Ishiguro’s book Klara and the Sun. Ishiguro’s latest book discusses life through an 'artificial narrator'—Klara. The story asks a question that might have passed our minds too: What does it mean to love? His book will come out in March 2021. This literary fiction dabbles in the scientific realm and has a dystopian setting, like his previous novel Never Let Me Go. This book too is expected to have an equally great emotional force.

How Beautiful We Were by Imbolo Mbue

This literary fiction by Imbolo Mbue explores the story of a community in a fictional village called Kosawa in Africa, endangered by a greedy American oil company. Through the story of a young girl Thula, Mbue’s novel encapsulates the resilience of a community, the reckless drive of profit and colonialism. The book, which will come out in March 2021, will also explore the environmental issues that people of Kosawa face because of the oil company’s greed and a corrupt dictator. The author’s previous book Behold the Dreamers was dubbed as New York Times bestseller.

First Person Singular: Stories by Haruki Murakami

Murakami’s latest anthology of stories has been translated into English by Philip Gabriel. In eight masterful stories, Murakami manages to challenge the boundaries between the mind and the real world. He transports the readers into his world of stories that are narrated in first-person. The book creates an escape to a nostalgic world of magical realism. Are they his accounts of life or not, one may never know? “Is it memoir or fiction? The reader decides,” reads the description of this book that will be launched in April 2021.

The Upstairs House by Julia Fine

Fine’s second novel sets out to explore feminist theory once again using fiction and fantasy. The literary fiction narrates the story of a new mother Megan who is researching on mid-century children’s literature. She meets a new upstairs neighbour: the ghost of a children’s book writer who drags Megan into her fray, endangering her and her daughter’s life. Julia Fine in her book explores the relationship of a woman with her body through the metaphor of postpartum haunting. Her book What Should Be Wild was critically acclaimed. The book will be out in April 2021. 



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