Thursday, December 17, 2009

The decade's best unread books

"While people are busy ranking the hit books of the last 10 years," wrote someone at the Guardian, "many a publishing insider is quietly mourning a volume that unaccountably never made the 'best of' or bestseller lists, but should have." The paper invited "publishers, agents and translators [to] speak up for the ones that really shouldn't have got away."

One book that fit the bill:
The one book I would say I felt almost physically heartbroken about not succeeding with in the last decade was The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson. She's the most phenomenally talented (and bestselling) American author, whose unique voice just sings off the page, and this brilliant novel tells the tale of a woman who has to search through her own past to uncover what really happened to a little girl who has just been found dead in her swimming pool. It's as pacy as a thriller, but so rich that you feel you're reading something much deeper. There were a number of reasons it wasn't the success we hoped for – primarily I think that it trod the line between commercial and literary in a way that made the retailers struggle to understand it. But I'd urge anyone to read it – I feel absolutely sure they wouldn't be disappointed.--Isobel Akenhead, Hodder & Stoughton women's fiction editor
Read about the other books mentioned at the Guardian.

Read excerpts from The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, and learn more about the author and her books at Joshilyn Jackson's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

My Book, The Movie: The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

--Marshal Zeringue