Pull up  a chair and grab one of Aoife Byrne’s top picks for year ahead”

Z – Therese Anne Fowler

Fowler’s biographical novel centres on southern aristocrat Zelda Fitzgerald, viagra best known as the wife of prolific author F. Scott Fitzgerald and popularly known as the first American celebrity flapper (a title given to her by her husband).

Z is set in the glamorous era of the Jazz Age and the Roaring Twenties, viagra in the most opulent settings of Hollywood, the Parisian salons and the south of France. The lavish locations throw into sharp relief the well documented lifestyle that made the couple’s tumultuous relationship notorious.

The novel distinguishes itself in its challenging of widespread conceptions and speculations of Zelda Fitzgerald as an extremely difficult and emotionally erratic alcoholic.  Therese Anne Fowler follows Zelda’s struggle for both artistic and personal identities independent of her famous husband.  The novel continually surprises in its touching account of Zelda’s obsession with ballet and painting in order to develop a creative talent to rival her husband’s. As the author explores the renowned literary circles of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gertrude Stein, and Ernest Hemingway, she nonetheless manages to set a scene where Zelda’s talent and struggles are always given centre stage.

Set for release in bookshops in April, its publication coincides with the upcoming big budget film release of The Great Gatsby, starring Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan, and Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby.

WHITE BONES – Graham Masterson

Graham Masterton’s Cork-based serial killer novel is an ambitious attempt to rival the current trend for Scandinavian crime fiction, setting the gritty drama within an Irish backdrop.

White Bones is the second of Masterton’s crime novel series, and follows Detective Superintendent Katie Maguire’s attempts to uncover a serial killer that appears to have been in operating in rural Ireland for over eighty years. Contemporary Scandinavian crime literatures, for instance Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Henning Mankell’s Wallander series, and Jo Nesbø’s The Phantom, are all strong influences on the novel.

Graham Masterton’s years as a bestselling horror writer have also influenced White Bones, as the more grisly parts of the novel demonstrate. What’s interesting here is the way in which Masterton attempts to re-explore the Irish national past; he uses the uncovering of the fictional murders as a tool through which Katie Maguire can uncover perhaps more unsettling truths about the seemingly picturesque and outwardly tranquil milieu of rural Ireland.

White Bones will be released for publication in March, and is also available for pre-order.

The Hope Factory -Lanvanya Sankaran

Lavanya Sankaran’s debut novel The Hope Factory is a witty, poignant and inspiring exploration of life in modern India. Like her critically acclaimed 2006 short story collection, The Red Carpet, the novel is set in the city of Bangalore, India’s ‘Silicon Valley’, and provides a fresh, rich and balanced perception of how people of very different backgrounds interactin the centre of India’s third most populous city.

The Hope Factory is set around the focalising characters Anand, a wealthy Bangalore businessman with a young family, and Kamala, a maid in Anand’s family home. The novel encapsulates the instability of lives of the main characters and their families as they attempt to adapt to the demands of a newly industrialised and ever expanding city. Exploring both the possibilities and the problems of life in the fast paced Bangalore, Lavanya Sankaran is nuanced in her examination of how the industrial city influences Anand and Kamala’s very different lives, objectives and backgrounds.

The Hope Factory will be released in April, and it is available for pre-order in both hardback and Kindle e-book edition.