By Beth Roberts
2023 looks set to be an exciting year for publishing. The year started with the publication of Prince Harry’s Spare, which became the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time according to the Guinness World Records, and it doesn’t look like things will be slowing down! From highly anticipated sophomore novels to novels that are being published in English for the first time, we are here to count down our top ten most highly anticipated books in 2023.
10. The Consultant – Im Seong Sun, Trans. An Seon Jae (April 2023)
Published in English for the first time in 2023, The Consultant is Korean writer Im Seong Sun’s exciting debut novel. The titular consultant works as an assassin specialising in ‘natural deaths’, but what happens when his next customer is someone he cares about? Will the consultant be able to escape the anonymous Company he works for? Find out when you read the book! A blending of tense crime writing and astute social commentary, The Consultant is a must-read for 2023.
9. The List – Yomi Adegoke (July 2023)
From Yomi Adegoke, the best-selling co-author of Slay in Your Lane, The List is an exciting page-turner centring on Ola Olajide, whose life is turned upside down when her fiancé Michael appears on ‘The List’. A novel about the online world, secrets and allegations, The List seems sure to be an engrossing read! The List has already been picked up by HBO, the BBC and A24, with Adegoke creating and executive producing the television series, so make sure you stay ahead of the curve and read the novel before the series hits your screen!
8. Rootless – Krystle Zara Appiah (March 2023)
Krystle Zara Appiah’s Rootless is described by Waterstones as “a poignant-heart breaking debut about a British-Ghanaian marriage in crisis. The novel focuses on best friends Efe and Sam, who meet as teenagers and later marry. Tension arises when their desires and goals in life clash: Sam wants to start a family, but Efe would prefer to stay child-free. What happens when an unplanned pregnancy brings these tensions to a head? Find out in this heart-wrenching love story.
7. Rose and the Burma Sky – Rosanna Amaka (February 2023)
A novel about the pains of war and the remnants of early love, Rose and the Burma Sky is sure to deeply resonate with readers. Amaka’s novel follows the story of Obi and Rose, who live in a village in south-east Nigeria. Obi’s heart is broken when Rose becomes pregnant by another man and, although he is shipped off to fight in the Burma Campaign during the Second World War, he cannot shake his memory of Rose and her mysterious lover. Fellow author Jendella Benson describes Rose and the Burma Sky as “both an unrequited love story and a mystery”, and we just can’t wait to see how these threads intertwine!
6. Wandering Souls – Cecile Pin (March 2023)
Cecile Pin’s Wandering Souls follows three siblings, Anh, Thanh and Minh, who flee their village in Vietnam to embark on a dangerous crossing to Hong Kong. Their mother, father and younger siblings travel in a different boat, but only one boat survives the harrowing journey. The siblings are moved from refugee camp to resettlement centre until they arrive in Britain, where they must start their new lives. A magical realist touch graces the novel in the form of the voice of their lost younger brother, Dao, who follows their long, meandering journey. A moving and emotional tale, Wandering Souls looks sure to be an inspiring and important novel.
5. Hungry Ghosts – Kevin Jared Hosein (February 2023)
Set in the landscape of 1940s colonial Trinidad, Hungry Ghosts tells the story of the wealthy farming family, the Changoors and the impoverished Saroops. When Dalton Changoor goes missing, Hans Saroop is promised a hefty salary to move to the farm and work as a watchman. As Dalton’s disappearance entangles the community together, the lives of both families will become permanently changed. Described by the late, great Hilary Mantel as a “deeply impressive book”, with pages filled with “energy and inventiveness”, we are so excited to sink our teeth into this mystery!
4. The Last Tale of the Flower Bride – Roshani Chokshi (February 2023)
An unravelling tale of fantasy, myth and Gothicism, Roshani Chokshi’s The Last Tale of the Flower Bride blends genres in a mysterious and beautiful way. A scholar of myths marries the enigmatic Indigo Maxwell-Castenada, who implores her new husband not to pry into her past. When Indigo’s estranged aunt reveals she is dying, she and her husband must return to her childhood home, the House of Dreams, where her husband must make the difficult choice between fantasy and reality. With glowing reviews from Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Sue Lynn Tan, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride looks sure to be a fascinating read!
3. I Went to See My Father – Shin Kyung-Sook, Trans. Anton Hur (April 2023)
A story about pain, loss, family and love, I Went to See My Father is a beautiful tale brought to life by the brilliant Shin Kyung-Sook in Korean and adapted into English by award-winning translator of Cursed Bunny, Anton Hur. The novel follows Hon, who returns home to see her cattle-farmer father following the loss of her daughter in a tragic accident. After finding a chest full of letters and documents, Hon learns more and more about her father, including his experiences during the Korean War, his hidden lover affair and the ghosts that still haunt him. I Went to See My Father was an instant bestseller in Korea and we hope that its success will continue to grow to new heights in its English-language debut!
2. Victory City – Salman Rushdie (February 2023)
Following the brutal and heinous attack on Salman Rushdie in August of last year, the Booker Prize-winning author returns with Victory City, a story set in fourteenth-century southern India. Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for the goddess Parvati after witnessing the death of her mother. Parvati promises that Pampa will be instrumental in the forming of Bisnaga – ‘victory city’ – a place in which women will have equal agency. Described by Michael Cunningham as “a major accomplishment by one of our greatest living writers”, Victory City is an absolute must read and we are so excited to get our hands on a new Rushdie novel!
1. Small Worlds – Caleb Azumah Nelson (May 2023)
Following his explosive and deeply moving debut, Open Water, Caleb Azumah Nelson returns with Small Worlds, a beautifully lyric tale about father-son relationships and the power of music and dance. The story follows Stephen over three summers of his life, following him from London to Ghana and back as he dances his way through relationships, places and loves. Stephen uses dance as a way to solve his problems and Nelson’s talent for musicality and rhythm are present throughout the pages of Small Worlds. After the huge success of Open Water and with the glowing reviews for Small Worlds already seeping out, we are on the edge of our seats with anticipation for this exciting sophomore novel.
As you can see, there’s lots to look forward to in 2023. Are you excited for any of the books on our list to be released? Which book are you most anticipating? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Beth Roberts (she/her) is a PhD student at the University of Surrey researching historiographic metadrama and contemporary American feminist playwrights. She is particularly interested in the works of Lauren Gunderson and Jaclyn Backhaus, on whom her thesis is focused. Beth is also a writer of historical fiction in the form of short stories, novels and plays. Her short story ‘Her Last Temptation’ was published in MTP’s August 2020 Anthology and her article ‘Fragmentation as Methodology: Subjectivity, Objectivity and Romantic Love in Emilie: La Marquise du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight (2010)’ will be published in Feminist Encounters’ special edition on ‘Situated Knowledges of Gender and Love’.
One thought on “The Ten Books We’re Most Looking Forward to Reading in 2023”
Wonderful recommendations – thanks Beth, these will keep us busy 🤩