30 Dec Gareth’s Books of 2014
This is the last of the bookshop team’s favourite books of the year – and here are Gareth’s nominations. All the titles are on the shelves and here they’re in alphabetical order:
Donna J. Amoroso, Traditionalism and the Ascendancy of the Malay Ruling Class in Colonial Malaya (SIRD).
“We did the editorial work on the manuscript and the book is a fitting tribute to a fine scholar – easily the best study of colonial Malaya’s political history in a long while. With Jojo Abinales.”
Dinaw Mengestu, All Our Names (Sceptre).
“Through three fine books, Mengestu really has established himself as a fine writer on the global stage, and his latest is an impressive portrait of compromised friendship and history in flux. Someone to be discovered by more readers.”
Neel Mukherjee, The Lives of Others (Chatto & Windus).
“This is storytelling at its best, exploring the vicissitudes of family life against the backcloth of Indian society coming to terms with the long shadow empire.”
Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage (Harvill Secker).
“A new novel from Murakami is always an event – and his new book doesn’t disappoint. It focuses on an archetypal Murakami character: a lonely young Japanese man whose life has been dislocated by a traumatic event he cannot make sense of. But by the end, he is poised on the brink of a new consciousness in which ‘not everything was lost to the flow of time’.”
Marilynne Robinson, Lila (Virago).
“The third in a loose trilogy, this is a stunning tour de force, marked by sadness and suffering, but also a kind of redemption for its characters.”
Arundhati Roy, Capitalism: A Ghost Story (Haymarket Books).
“There have been other books, better known, on what it wrong with capitalism (Piketty’s flawed Capital being the most obvious) but Arundhati Roy brings a different kind of passion, which balances fierce attach on the mega corporations with a love for humanity.”
Jose Saramago, Skylight (Harvill Secker).
“This is actually a youthful work from the master, but only published and translated this year – and it is a wonderfully mature evocation of love, life and loss in Lisbon.”
Sudeep Sen, Fractals (Gallerie).
“An author at this year’s George Town Literary Festival, this was the best book of new(ish) poetry – technically very fine and possessing a singular voice that takes inspiration from visual art, photography, film and finds original ways of expressing universal emotions. “
Derek Walcott, Collected Poems, 1948–2013 (Faber and Faber).
“An updated collection, drawing on his work from over 65 years, and evoking, as always, his vivid engagement with the sensory world. It includes one of my favourite lines in all poetry: ‘I had no nation now but the imagination’.”
Alfred Russel Wallace, The Malay Archipelago (NUS Press).
“Not new, of course, but at last a properly scholarly edition of Wallace’s classic – nicely produced and a harbinger of a new kind of knowing, observed and understood in this part of the world.”