Sophie and the Sibyl
Duncker, Patricia
U.K.: April 9, 2015 | Bloomsbury
U.S.: Aug. 4, 2015 | Bloomsbury USA

 George Eliot is old and ugly with wonderful eyes to the slightly hungover Max, the 23-year-old brother of her Duncker cover German publisher, when he meets her in Berlin. Duncker sends them off together to the spa town of Homburg, where Eliot—the sibyl of the title—and Max run into the beautiful, imperious, rich, intelligent Sophie von Hahn, whom Max is to marry. A complex triangular relationship evolves. This literary novel, mixing fact and fiction in a way the author describes as “outrageous,” has been hailed by U.K. critics for its exuberance, erudition, sense of mischief, and entertainment value.  

Love, Sex and Other Foreign Policy Goals
Armstrong, Jesse
U.K.: April 2, 2015 | Jonathan Cape
U.S.: None yet

Armstrongcover A band of well-intentioned young pe ople board a minivan for Bosnia during the war that broke up Yugoslavia, determined to put on a “peace play” to inspire the locals to set aside their differences. Andrew, a builder with a personal foreign policy, admits that 51 percent of his motivation for going is that he has fallen for Penny, a young woman from considerably higher up the social ladder who is equally obsessed with the war—but not, it seems, with Andrew. Scriptwriter Armstrong proves he can transfer his mastery of comic awkwardness from the television screen to the written page in his debut novel. 

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HawthorneAt Hawthorn Tme
Harrison, Melissa
U.K.: April 23, 2015 | Bloomsbury
U.S.: July 7, 2015 | Bloomsbury USA

Harrison mixes nature writing with fiction in an elegiac novel that tracks the advance of spring in the English countryside and the lives of the inhabitants of the village of Lodeshill. Howard and Kitty have moved from London for a rural retirement; local boy Jamie is repairing an old car he hopes will let him escape the village; Jack is a drifter, political protester, and agricultural labour who has no real place in society but a closer connection to nature tha n any of the others. The Telegraph praised “a deep seam of melancholy running through Harrison’s novels that echoes Thomas Hardy’s more plaintive moments.”

Last Night on Earth
Maher, Kevin
U.K.: April 4, 2015 | Little, Brown
U.S.: None yet

Jay's daughter Bonnie describes her own traumatic, oxygen-deprived birth in the first chapter of a novel that is by turns moving, laugh-out-loud fumaher cover nny, and disconcerting. Using various flashback techniques, Maher tracks Jay’s arrival in London from Ireland, his infatuation with Shauna, and the disintegrat ion of their marriage as she turns to her shrink for more than professional comfort. Jay’s fierce love for his daughter, his quick wit, and his innocence abroad make him a lovable, engaging central character.

 

Catherine Hickley is a Berlin-based arts journalist. Her first book, The Munich Art Hoard: Hitler’s Dealer and His Secret Legacy, will be published by Thames & Hudson (except in North America) on Sept. 21.