Hot new books of September

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Stylist Team
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With heavy-hitters from the likes of Zadie Smith, J.K. Rowling and Salman Rushdie to mysterious thrillers (The Collini Case, Bloodline) and some stunning historical novels, we've lined up a seriously good reading list for you this month. Get clicking to see what's in store...

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  • Joseph Anton, Salman Rushdie

    On 14 February 1989, Rushdie was telephoned by a BBC journalist and told that he had been 'sentenced to death' by the Ayatollah Khomeini. For the first time he heard the word fatwa. His crime? To have written a novel called The Satanic Verses, which was accused of being 'against Islam, the Prophet and the Quran'.

    So begins the extraordinary story of how a writer was forced underground, moving from house to house, with the constant presence of an armed police protection team. He was asked to choose an alias that the police could call him by. He thought of writers he loved and combinations of their names; then it came to him: Conrad and Chekhov - Joseph Anton.

    Release date: 18 September

  • The Casual Vacancy, J K Rowling

    When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems.

    Described as "a big novel about a small town," The Casual Vacancy is Rowling's eagerly awaited offering following the Harry Potter franchise. A deliciously adult book told with Rowling's characteristic charm.

    Release date: 27 September

  • NW, Zadie Smith

    This is the story of a city. The north-west corner of a city. Here you'll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between.

    Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds. And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell's door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation . . .

    The Man Booker-shortlisted Smith returns with a new tragi-comedy about the modern urban zone - familiar to town-dwellers everywhere - and its quietly devastating encounters.

    Release date: 6 September

  • Zoo Time, Howard Jacobson

    Novelist Guy Ableman is in thrall to his vivacious wife Vanessa, a strikingly beautiful red-head, contrary, highly strung and blazingly angry. The trouble is, he is no less in thrall to her alluring mother, Poppy. More like sisters than mother and daughter, they come as a pair, a blistering presence that destroys Guy's peace of mind, suggesting the wildest stories but making it impossible for him to concentrate long enough to write any of them.

    By turns angry, elegiac and rude, Zoo Time is a novel about love - love of women, love of literature, love of laughter, showing Jacobson at his brilliant best.

    Release date: September 2012

  • Philida, André Brink

    “This is what it is to be a slave: that everything is decided for you from out there. You just got to listen and do as they tell you. You don’t say no. You don’t ask questions. You just do what they tell you. But far at the back of your head you think: Soon there must come a day when I can say for myself: This and that I shall do, this and that I shall not.”

    Shortlisted for this year's Man Booker Prize, Philida is based on a real woman, brought and sold by one of André Brink’s own forebears and is the unforgettable story of her determination to survive and be free.

    Release date: 6 September

  • The Black Count, Tom Reiss

    Born in St Dominigue in 1762, the son of a French nobleman and a sugar plantation slave, General Alexandre Dumas did not have an auspicious start in life. Things got worse when his father sold him into slavery to pay his passage back to Normandy. But six months later, Dumas' fortunes changed. His father bought him out of slavery and raised him in France, where Dumas went to the nation's finest schools and fencing academies, and having enrolled in the army became known as France's most handsome and strongest soldier. By the time Napoleon invaded Egypt, Dumas was his top cavalry commander.

    In this extraordinary biography, Tom Reiss traces the almost unbelievable life of the man who inspired not only Monte Cristo, but all three of the Musketeers: the novelist's own father. One for those die-hard Count of Monte Cristo fans.

    Release date: 20 September

  • The Chocolate Money, Ashley Prentice Norton

    The glamorous Babs Ballentyne is heiress to a great American chocolate fortune and quite frankly, does whatever the hell she wants. Naked Christmas cards. Lavish parties in her Lake Shore Drive penthouse with lewd installations. An affair with a married man who “admires her centerfold” after hours on the golf course of his staid country club while his wife is asleep at home.

    In the middle of it all is Babs’s sensitive, bookish ten-year old daughter Bettina. Bettina is enthralled by her narcissistic mother and wants nothing more than her affection and approval. Can Bettina break free to forge her own identity - or is she simply doomed to being her mother’s daughter forever?

    Packed with an unflinching honesty and acerbic wit, The Chocolate Money is the perfect coming-of-age novel that will have you laughing through even its darkest moments.

    Release date: 13 September

  • Dodger, Terry Pratchett

    Dodger is a tosher – a sewer scavenger living in the squalor of Dickensian London. Not a pickpocket, well not only a pick pocket, more a concerned citizen who tidies things up that are left lying about. Everyone who is nobody knows Dodger. Anyone who is anybody doesn’t. But when he rescues a young girl from a beating in the middle of a ferocious storm, suddenly everybody wants to know him. And a chance encounter with Charlie Dickens changes Dodger’s life forever. Dodger’s tale becomes one of skulduggery, dark plans and even darker deeds.

    Fittingly timed with Charles Dicken's bicentenary, this fantasy tale is evocative of Dickensian London at its most dark and twisted.

    Release date: 13 September

  • Next of Kin, John Boyne

    1936: London is abuzz with gossip about the affair between Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson. But the king is not the only member of the aristocracy with a hard decision to make. Owen Montignac, the handsome and charismatic descendent of a wealthy land-owning family, is anxiously awaiting the reading of his late uncle’s will. For Owen has run up huge gambling debts and casino boss Nicholas Delfy has given him a choice: find £50,000 by Christmas - or find yourself six feet under.

    From the author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas comes this sensational story of blackmail, murder and intrigue in a world hurtling towards war.

    Release date: 13 September

  • The Misunderstanding, Irène Némirovsky

    Yves Harteloup, scarred by the war, is a disappointed young man, old money fallen on hard times, who returns for the summer to the rich, comfortable Atlantic resort of Hendaye, where he spent blissful childhood holidays. He becomes infatuated by a beautiful, bored young woman, Denise, whose rich husband is often away on business. Intoxicated by summer nights and Yves' intensity, Denise falls passionately in love, before the idyll has to end and Yves must return to his mundane office job.

    Written when she was just 21, Irène Némirovsky's novel traces the story of two lovers in the mournful Paris autumn, as their relationship unravels in the wake of the Great War.

    Release date: 6 September

  • This is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz

    A collection of linked narratives about love - passionate love, illicit love, dying love, maternal love - told through the lives of New Jersey Dominicans, as they struggle to find a point where their two worlds meet.

    Energetic and inventive, tender and funny, This is How You Lose Her lays bare the infinite longing and inevitable weaknesses of the human heart

    Release date: 6 September

  • Winter Journal, Paul Auster

    Exactly one month before his sixty-fourth birthday, Paul Auster sat down and wrote the first entry of Winter Journal, his unorthodox examination of his own life. Through a great chorus of multiple voices, Auster takes us from childhood to the brink of old age, summoning forth a universe of physical sensations, pleasures and pains; moving from the awakening sexual desire as an adolescent to the ever deepening bonds of married love; from the shocks of violent accidents to an account of his mother’s sudden death; from meditations on eating and sleeping, to the “scalding, epiphanic moment of clarity” that set him on a new course as a writer.

    "Paul Auster has been an unswerving voice no matter what form he chooses, no matter what tale he imagines and tells. A generous heart always. A style of the high wire always." - Michael Ondaatje

    Release date: 6 September

  • The Collini Case, Ferdinand von Schirach

    A murder. A murderer. No motif. For thirty-four years Fabrizio Collini has worked diligently for Mercedes Benz. He is a quiet and respectable person until the day he visits one of Berlin's most luxurious hotels and kills an innocent man.

    '''Young attorney Caspar Leinen takes the case. Getting Collini a not-guilty verdict would make his name. But too late he discovers that Collini's victim - an industrialist of some renown - is known to him. Now Leinen is caught in a professional and personal dilemma. Collini admits the murder but won't say why he did it, forcing Leinen to defend a man who won't put up a defence.

    Then he makes a discovery that goes way beyond his own petty concerns and exposes a terrible and deadly truth at the heart of German justice . . .

    A masterful tale of courtroom drama, this bestseller has been topping the German book charts since its publication there and its UK release is highly anticipated.

    Release date: 13 September

  • Bloodline, Felix Francis

    When Mark Shillingford commentates on a race in which his twin sister Clare, an accomplished and successful jockey, comes in third, he can't help but be suspicious. As a professional race-caller, he knows she should have won. Did she lose on purpose? Was the race fixed? Why on earth would she do something so out of character? That night, Mark confronts Clare with his suspicions, but she storms off after an explosive argument. It's the last time Mark sees her alive. Hours later, Clare jumps to her death from the balcony of a London hotel... or so it seems.

    This pacy thriller is Felix Francis' second novel, set in the cut-throat world of horse racing. Trust us, you won't be able to put it down.

    Release date: 13 September

  • The Elephant Keepers' Children, Peter Hoeg

    Peter and Tilte are trying to track down two notorious criminals: their parents. They are the pastor and the organist, respectively, of the only church on the tiny island of Finø. Known for fabricating cheap miracles to strengthen their congregation's faith, they have been in trouble before. But this time their children suspect they are up to mischief on a far greater scale.

    When Peter and Tilte learn that scientific and religious leaders from around the world are assembling in Copenhagen for a conference, they know their parents are up to something. Peter and Tilte's quest to find them exposes conspiracies, terrorist plots, an angry bishop, a deranged headmaster, two love-struck police officers, a deluded aristocrat and much more along the way.

    Release date: 20 September

  • A Dark Place to Die, Ed Chatterton

    On a freezing October morning, Detective Inspector Frank Keane is called to the scene of a crime on Liverpool's shoreline.The body of what looks like a man, brutally tortured and burned, has been tied to a pole on the beach. With very little evidence to go on, Keane and his partner, DS Emily Harris, rely on their gut feeling that this murder is gang-related and their investigation takes them, once again, into the murky underworld of organised crime.

    Previously an author of children's novels, Ed Chatterton turns his hand to crime writing with this impressive debut.

    Release date: 27 September

  • The Greatcoat, Helen Dunmore

    One cold winter night when her husband is out on call, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she sleeps and is beset by dreams. She wakes to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside. His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing has prepared her for the truth about Alec's life, nor the impact it will have on hers ...

    Helen Dunmore's first ever ghost story is at once eloquent and haunting and a beautiful interpretation of the novella.

    Release date: September 2012

  • The Dark Garden, Eden Bradley

    When Rowan Cassidy meets Christian Thorne in an exclusive club, he challenges everything she’s ever believed about herself. He then makes an outrageous proposal: give herself over to him completely for thirty days and discover her most secret fantasies and her true nature.

    If you're still riding on the high of Fifty Shades, the relaunched Black Lace series (including new title The Dark Garden) will give you your fill of erotic fiction for the month.

    Release date: 13 September

  • Merivel: A Man of His Time, Rose Tremain

    Robert Merivel, courtier to Charles II is no longer a young man -- but off he goes to France in search of the Sun King and to Switzerland in pursuit of a handsome woman. Versailles -- all glitter in front and squalor behind -- is a fiasco: Merivel is forced to share an attic (and a chamber pot) with a Dutch clock-maker while attempting to sustain himself on peas and jam and water from the fountains. Switzerland, by contrast, is perhaps a little too comfortable. But the lady, a clever botanist, leads Merivel deliciously on -- until her jealous husband bursts in with duelling pistols...

    A big-hearted rogue who loves his daughter, his country house and the English king, Merivel is every man - and he speaks directly to us down the centuries.

    Release date: 6 September

  • A Possible Life, Sebastian Faulks

    Terrified, a young prisoner in the Second World War closes his eyes and pictures himself going out to bat on a sunlit cricket ground in Hampshire. Across the courtyard in a Victorian workhouse, a father is too ashamed to acknowledge his son. A skinny girl steps out of a Chevy with a guitar; her voice sends shivers through the skull. Soldiers and lovers, parents and children, scientists and musicians risk their bodies and hearts in search of connection - some key to understanding what makes us the people we become.

    From the acclaimed author of Birdsong comes this novel of fragmented journeys and times, and a group of people united in the chaos.

    Release date: 13 September