Allison Flood polls those in the know. Apparently the answer is “escapism”… We need to escape from the world. And since we can’t afford to visit it, we’ll have to read about visiting it. I can see that. But I really just need to escape from this office. I’ve fashioned a rope ladder out of bathroom hand towels, but I’ll have to hang jump the last 10 feet. Maybe if I toss all the coffee cups on my window sill onto the street, I can create a cushion on which to land.
Mike Jones at Simon & Schuster feels that as we “perhaps won’t be doing as much exotic travelling as we used to … books which bring alive the beauty and diversity of the British countryside, its landscape and its history may do well”; if only there was more to come from Roger Deakin.
And escapism is a tip from a couple of editors. “I have a feeling there’s changes in taste afoot: a move back to more ‘big’, airport novels; historical moving into different eras; a real reduction in ‘chic’,” says Trevor Dolby at Preface, while Marsha Filion at the independent publisher Oneworld is “betting [her] new fiction list on the hope that people will flock to pure escapism on a global scale”. She’s not after bonkbuster-style escape though: “With the pound down and unemployment at a high, we reckon a new generation of armchair tourists is about to be born with a keen appetite for books that whisk away readers to other lands and immerse them in other cultures.”