As we head into back-to-school season and long, blissful weeks of sweater weather, it’s only natural to be tempted to spend hours in the bookstore browsing fresh titles and adding to our to-read piles.
Fortunately, this fall is packed with hotly anticipated new fiction from literary stars (like Jesmyn Ward and Jennifer Egan) and debut authors alike. The season’s abundance of politically-minded dystopias, atmospheric short story collections and familial sagas promises to tempt any reader.
Here are 28 of the books we’re most eager to get our hands on:
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng
The author of the breakout debut Everything I Never Told You finally returns with a moody mystery set in a tony Midwestern town that’s torn apart when a white couple adopts an infant whose mother, a Chinese immigrant, desperately wants her back.
Forest Dark, Nicole Krauss
A young novelist and an aging lawyer both make pilgrimages to Israel, seeking meaning amidst personal times of crisis, and get drawn down unexpected paths in this new work from the author of The History of Love.
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward
The author of National Book Award-winning novel Salvage the Bones returns to fiction with the story of a mother struggling with drug addiction and grief and her two young children, as they leave her parents’ home and set out on a fateful journey to rejoin the children’s father after his release from prison.
The Golden House, Salman Rushdie
Rushdie, the author of The Satanic Verses and Midnight’s Children, gets nitty-gritty about American politics in a New York saga set during the Obama years; the villain has already been speculated to be based on Donald Trump.
Sisters, Lily Tuck
A slender, suspenseful novel by a National Book Award-winning writer about a second wife haunted by her obsession with the displaced first.
Dinner at the Center of the Earth, Nathan Englander
Perhaps best-known and -loved for his short fiction, Englander’s newest work is a novel woven of the Israel-Palestine conflict and the high-stakes subterfuges and double-crosses of international espionage.
Five-Carat Soul, James McBride
McBride’s powerful novel The Good Lord Bird won the National Book Award in 2013, and he’s making his return with a collection of never-before-published short stories.
The Ninth Hour, Alice McDermott
Award-winning author McDermott takes readers back to early 20th century Brooklyn in this story about an Irish-American widow and the nuns who help support her and her unborn child after her husband dies in a suicide.
A Loving, Faithful Animal, Josephine Rowe
An acclaimed young Australian writer makes her novelistic debut with a stylistically rich portrait of an observant young girl whose father, a Vietnam vet, has left the family and whose mother and sister are spiraling into their own self-destructive orbits.
Return to the Dark Valley, Santiago Gamboa (translated by Howard Curtis)
A noir-inflected, sprawling short fiction collection from an eminent Colombian writer, Return to the Dark Valley is packed with vibrant characters and gripping stories.
City of Spies, Sorayya Khan
Based on the author’s own childhood in Islamabad, Pakistan, City of Spies is about the daughter of a Dutch mother and Pakistani father, who comes of age amidst a political upheaval in 1970s Pakistan.
Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan
Egan’s first novel since her Pulitzer Prize-winning 2010 book A Visit from the Goon Squad, this historical novel revolves around a female diver working at the Brooklyn Naval Yard during the war effort who stumbles into a man from her father’s past and finds herself seeking answers to his mysterious life and still-more mysterious disappearance.
Fresh Complaint, Jeffrey Eugenides
The author of Virgin Suicides and Middlesex has a new collection of short fiction hitting shelves this fall, including a title story about a teenage student who rebels against her strict immigrant family.
Dunbar, Edward St. Aubyn
The next installment in Hogarth’s ambitious Shakespeare retelling series, Dunbar reimagines King Lear as an aging wealthy family patriarch and media magnate who’s been confined to a mental health institution.
Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado
A debut collection, Her Body and Other Parties features genre-bending horror stories that push the limits of horror, humor and humanity.
The Relive Box and Other Stories, T.C. Boyle
Acclaimed author T.C. Boyle specializes in delving deeply into detailed historical moments and fully realized worlds in his fiction, and his new collection promises to deliver exactly that, from evocative speculative stories to funny and moving realist narratives.
The Invisible Life of Euridice Gusmao, Martha Batalha (translated by Eric M.B. Becker)
This debut novel by a Brazilian writer follows a gifted and ambitious young woman in 1940s Rio de Janeiro who sacrifices her artistic dreams to make the sensible marriage her parents want for her, after her bolder, more beautiful sister scandalously elopes.
The Power, Naomi Alderman
This speculative novel, in which teenage girls suddenly find themselves with an immense and dangerous new ability, has already won the 2017 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction and earned enthusiastic praise from Margaret Atwood.
A Selfie as Big as the Ritz, Lara Williams
This slim debut collection has already garnered a great deal of buzz, thanks to its dazzlingly romantic and darkly comic stories about young women trying to navigate an often unfriendly world and construct identities and lives for themselves.
As Lie Is to Grin, Simeon Marsalis
A black student at the University of Vermont grapples with his own fraught history and identity, and that of his community and country, in a charged and intellectually expansive debut.
The Doll’s Alphabet, Camilla Grudova
An odd, unsettling collection of stories that bring fresh and often disturbing life to the everyday objects that surround us.
Catalina, Liska Jacobs
A woman takes refuge from a massive personal crisis on Catalina Island, where her college buddies have gathered for a reunion, but her precarious mental and emotional state, and her self-destructive impulses, bode ill for the gathering.
Mrs. Osmond, John Banville
The Man Booker Prize-winning author takes on the ambitious challenge of continuing the story of Isabel Archer, the tragically naive heroine of Henry James’s weighty classic Portrait of a Lady.
Wonder Valley, Ivy Pochoda
An ensemble cast of six searching souls populates the sinister commune, deserts and bleak city streets where this dark-edged L.A. story unspools.
Future Home of the Living God, Louise Erdrich
In this acclaimed novelist’s new book, she imagines a chilling dystopian America, as an Ojibwe woman who was raised by adoptive parents in Minneapolis struggles with her own pregnancy and her heritage in the midst of a catastrophic spate of unexplained birth defects.
Heather, The Totality, Matthew Weiner
The “Mad Men” creator’s slim debut novel infuses this portrait of a moneyed family’s life with terror, as a stalker haunts their steps.
In the Fall They Come Back, Robert Bausch
The prolific Bausch’s latest novel is a prep school coming-of-age story that examines the all-too-flexible boundaries between teacher and student.
One Station Away, Olaf Olafsson
The three women (a pianist, a dancer and a comatose patient) whose stories unfold in the acclaimed Icelandic novelist’s new novel share one common point: Magnus, a neurologist who bears some relation, and some obligation, to each.
BEFORE YOU GO
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General Election: Nov 3, 2020
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