Globe & Mail Highlights Walt & Skeezix & Paul Moves Out

“Books; Batman's back, U2 is touring for the first time in four years and our theatre critic is suggesting you reserve early for a play called The Dishwashers. Here's what to look forward to in the new year . . .” / The Globe and Mail / Rebecca Caldwell / January 1, 2005

The beginning of the calendar year is usually a chance for those in the publishing industry to do some much-needed hibernating after the abundant harvest of the fall season and the overindulgences of the holidays. This year, however, starts with a bang, as well as some happiness and heat.

First, in January, there's Stephen Marche's Raymond and Hannah (Doubleday Canada), a distinctly modern love story about a couple whose intense one-night stand turns into the affair of a lifetime.

February brings Anne Giardini's The Sad Truth About Happiness (HarperCollins Canada), a comic novel about one woman's quest for contentment confounded by her sisters.

In March comes Kristen den Hartog's Origin of Haloes (McClelland & Stewart), a story about a pregnant young gymnast whose lies about the identity of the father of her child change her life. Later that month sees the release of Camilla Gibb's third novel, Sweetness in the Belly (Doubleday Canada). Set in Thatcher's London, it's the story of a white Muslim woman who flees her native Ethiopia and her lover during the revolution.

Perhaps the most anticipated book of next season arrives in April: Joseph Boyden's debut novel Three-Day Road, achronicle of the experience of two native Canadians serving as snipers in the First World War. For many publishers, it was the book that got away from them during manuscript-auction time, finally ending up at Penguin Canada.

Another big book to appear in April is the non-fiction title Confessions of an Innocent Man: Torture and Betrayal in a Saudi Jail (M&S), by William Sampson. His account of his gruesome 21/2 years in prison awaiting execution also offers a probing analysis of 21st-century geopolitics, particularly U.S.-Saudi relations.

Two mysteries to look for in April: Sugarmilk Falls (M&S), expected to be a breakout book for crime writer Ilona van Mil, about a clash over the ownership of a strip of Ontario sugarbush; and a third in the John Cardinal series, Blackfly Season (Random House Canada), by Giles Blunt.

In June, Montreal's Drawn & Quarterly will release Walt & Skeezix, the first in a series of Frank King's legendary Gasoline Alley strips, edited and designed by Chris Ware with an introduction by Jeet Heer. D&Q will also release Michel Rabagliati's latest Paul tale, Paul Moves Out, the sequel to 2003 fave Paul Has a Summer Job.

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