When I was writing my thoughts on yesterdays post all about Sanjeev Sahota’s debut novel ‘Ours Are The Streets’ it got me thinking, what are all of our thoughts on debut novels? I ask this because it made me think about mine and how my attitude has slowly changed towards them and so I thought that I would do a little post where we could discuss debuts.
I don’t know if I ever used to pay attention to whether a book was a debut or not, I simply picked up books based on the premise or the good things that I had heard about them. In fact if I looked back at the last decade of reading it wouldn’t be until my new love for reading, and the blogging that followed it, that I would really note if a novel was a debut or not. Yet if someone told me that a book was someone’s first and they didn’t then have a huge back catalogue to read I am not sure I would have run towards it, in fact I am still not sure I would and I find that a bit bizarre. Which seems harsh when someone has taken years to write it and finally put pen/pencil to paper, or finger to computer…
Could it be a case of too many books and too little time? I mean for example if it’s a choice between Margaret Atwood’s latest offering and a debut novel I know which one I would probably plump for… the Atwood of course. I know I like her work, I know I am in safe hands yet I can never be sure if this will be the case with a debut novelist. I also have the added benefit with established authors that should I love the latest Atwood and then need a binge there is much more work of hers I can throw myself into, in fact at some point I must.
However having said that I have just realised that I haven’t actually read Margaret Atwood’s debut novel! Maybe I should dig out ‘The Edible Woman’ and see if I would have continued, that might be a little exercise maybe. This of course could be applied to any author I love for some reason Atwood sprung into my mind when I started this. I haven’t read Daphne Du Maurier’s debut either, maybe that’s another I could give a whirl.
Yet I do often wonder, shouldn’t I as a blogger try and highlight some of the new talent out there? Should I not be highlighting debut authors who won’t get read instantly like some of the more recognised names? I think that to do it totally would probably be forcing an issue, and go against my resolution of 2011 to read at a whim, if I only sought out debuts (it would also not help Mount TBR go down very much, see I don’t even own that many debuts – or if I did they have languished so long that the author now has a second or third book out, oops) to read. Maybe a few debuts a month might be an idea?
So what are your thoughts on debut novels? Do you make sure to seek them out? Are you wary of them? Would you rather go with more established authors over a debut, or vice versa? What’s the best debut novel you have ever read? Any other debut musings you would like to share?