Early reviews, and the opinions of your BookPage editors, indicate that the legendary battle of the "sophomore slump" has been won by two anticipated second novels on shelves this month: Joshua Ferris' The Unnamed and Elizabeth Kostova's The Swan Thieves. (Click on the author's name to read a BookPage interview.)
But there are a few other anticipated second novels on the horizon in 2010. Will they be as favored by the publishing gods? Go ahead, judge them by our summary of the publisher's description:
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Horns by Joe Hill (February)
The author of Heart-Shaped Box (and son of Stephen King) returns with a chilling tale of a young man bent on revenge after his girlfriend is murdered.
Beatrice and Virgil by Yann Martel (April)
His second novel needs no introduction (and besides, we've already been there on this blog!). Will it achieve the stratospheric success of Life of Pi?
The Map of True Places by Brunonia Barry (May)
The author of The Lace Reader returns with a new novel about a woman who lost her mother to suicide. Now a psychotherapist, she must with the suicide of her most troubled patient.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender (June)
Known for her short stories, Bender has published only one previous novel. This magical second work is about a young girl who discovers she can taste people's emotions in the food they cook, and must deal with what she learns about others. Loving the title and the concept on this one—if Bender's novels are as good as her stories, count me in!
Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch (July)
His new work (following the acclaimed Finn) is a “mythic” story about three brothers in upstate New York who live together in isolation—until one dies and the other two are suspected of his murder.