Haruki Murakami pictured outside Hans Christian Andersen's house in 2016 (Getty)

    Nine books to read this autumn

    11 October 2018

    Night Train by Thom Jones

    The late American author, who died in 2016, was a master of the short story. His singular vision of America hones in on ex-boxers, Vietnam vets and others on the edge of society, eccentrics with names like Hey Baby, Eagle and Cancer Frank. Jones’s classic stories, The Pugilist at Rest and The Black Lights, feature in this collection alongside previously unpublished work. A brilliant book both for Jones devotees and newcomers to his work. Released October 16

    Kill ‘Em All by John Niven

    John Niven brings back his monstrous anti-hero Steven Stelfox for this sequel to his hit debut novel, Kill Your Friends. The record executive is not quite the booze and drug fiend he once was – now Donald Trump and getting as filthily rich as possible are his main obsessions. And, when a Michael Jackson-esque pop star is threatened with blackmail on the eve of a big comeback tour, Stelfox hatches a plan to foil the blackmailers and make a ludicrous amount of cash in the process. The constant stream of infective can get a little wearing, but fans of Kill Your Friends will be delighted to be back in Stelfox’s grubby world. Out now

    The Infinite Blacktop by Sara Gran

    Gran is one of the most distinctive, and under-rated, crime novelists out there. This is the third outing for her hero, Claire deWitt, an old school private eye solving  Noirish mysteries in our violent contemporary world . Either jump straight in with this new book, or for the full story, go back to the start with The City of the Dead. Out now

    The Flame by Leonard Cohen

    Leonard Cohen’s last album, You Want it Darker, released in 2016, provided a magnificent full-stop to a legendary career. Cohen died just 19 days after its release. Now comes a post-script that fans will be delighted to delve into, a collection of his final writings, featuring lyrics, poems, prose pieces and illustrations. Read more about it on Spectator USA. Out now

    Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

    The latest from the wildly-popular Japanese author tells the story of a portrait painter holed up in the mountain home of a famous artist. What unfolds is a long and sprawling tale that involves Nazis, a metaphysical underworld and a Great Gatsby-esque character at the centre of it all. Out now

    Melmoth by Sarah Perry

    A woman discovers a manuscript ‘filled with testimonies from the darkest chapters of human history, which all record sightings of a tall, silent woman in black, with unblinking eyes and bleeding feet.’ This is Melmoth, who also happens to be ‘the loneliest being in the world’, and who spends her unending life seeking out the guilty and bereft to join her in her wanderings. An ambitious modern twist on the gothic novel from the author of Sunday Times Bestseller, The Essex Serpent. Out now

    Letters Home by Philip Larkin

    Providing access to the final unpublished archive of the great poet’s writing, this collection of letters to his family, including playful sketches that Larkin drew of his mother, demonstrates what the volume’s editor James Booth has called an “empathetic and positive relationship” between Larkin and his parents. Released on November 1

    Normal People by Sally Rooney

    Everyone else is reading this deftly written tale of complicated modern love, so why not find out what all the fuss is about? Out now

    Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

    The US writer’s fourth novel is the story of a hedge-funder manager in the throes of a mid-life crisis, who flees New York as he struggles to deal with bad investment decisions, his unhappy wife and autistic son. Writing in The Spectator, Alex Preston described it as ‘a book of compelling moral complexity’. Out now