A dystopian novel, a magical prequel, historical novels, and a story collection: this fall’s literary fiction has enough prizewinners and bestsellers for everyone.
James McBride. Riverhead, Sept. 26
The National Book Award winner’s story collection tells of a legendary Civil War–era toy, five strangers thrown together, an American president inspired by an overheard conversation, and the Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band members recounting stories from their messy lives.
Nicole Krauss. Harper, Sept. 12
The author of The History of Love offers a novel of metamorphosis and self-realization. In present-day Israel, two visiting Americans—one a young wife, mother, and novelist, the other an elderly philanthropist—experience existential crises and transcendence.
In the Midst of Winter
Isabel Allende. Atria, Oct. 31
Allende’s latest novel begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for a love story between two people who thought they were in the winter of their lives.
Little Fires Everywhere
Celeste Ng. Penguin Press, Sept. 12
Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist and single mother, rents a house from the picture-perfect Richardson family. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair and Mia’s mysterious past.
Jennifer Egan. Scribner, Oct. 3
Anna, sole provider for her mother and her severely disabled sister, meets a man who may hold clues to her father’s disappearance.
The Ninth Hour
Alice McDermott. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept. 19
The National Book Award winner relates a tale of an aging nun aiding the widow and unborn child of a young immigrant in Catholic Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century.
Leni Zumas. LB/Boudreaux, Jan. 16
In Zumas’s novel, abortion is once again illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo.
The Rules of Magic
Alice Hoffman. Simon & Schuster, Oct. 10
In this prequel to Hoffman’s bestseller Practical Magic, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique.
Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jesmyn Ward. Scribner, Sept. 5
When the father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, Leonie packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out for Parchman farm, on a journey rife with danger and promise.
The World Goes On
László Krasznahorkai, trans. by George Szirtes, Ottilie Mulzet, and John Batki. New Directions, Nov. 15
These 11 stories from the Man Booker International winner range from the banks of the Ganges to a Portuguese marble quarry.
Literary Fiction Listings
The Book of Love and Hate by Lauren Sanders (Oct. 3, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-61775-582-8). Jennifer Baron, a failed speed skater, tries to stay sober after her Olympic downfall. She’s running her father’s business, a billion-dollar foundation, when he mysteriously disappears. Soon she’s invited to a conference that turns out to be a covert meeting with her father and a corporate spy.
Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (Aug. 22, hardcover, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-504-1). Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, has an affair with her boss—and blogs about it. Slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics. She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine.
Twist by Harkaitz Cano, trans. by Amaia Gabantxo (Oct. 3, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-0-914671-82-4). In the politically charged Basque country in the 1980s, two ETA militants are brutally murder by the Spanish army. Their friend and fellow activist, Diego Lazkano, who revealed his comrades to the authorities, has been tormented by guilt ever since.
See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Aug. 1, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-2659-7) recasts a famous murder case. On the morning of August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden calls out to her maid: someone’s killed Father. Shifting among the perspectives of the unreliable Lizzie; her older sister, Emma; the housemaid Bridget; and the enigmatic stranger, Benjamin, the events of that fateful day are slowly revealed.
In the Midst of Winter by Isabel Allende (Oct. 31, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-5011-7813-9) begins with a minor traffic accident—which becomes the catalyst for an unexpected love story between two people who thought they were deep into the winter of their lives.
Little Broken Things by Nicole Baart (Nov. 21, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-5011-3360-2). A suspenseful novel for fans of Liane Moriarty and Amy Hatvany uncovers an affluent suburban family whose carefully constructed facade starts to come apart with the unexpected arrival of an endangered young girl.
Wolf Season by Helen Benedict (Oct. 10, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-942658-30-6). A hurricane’s destruction of a small New York town changes the lives of three women: Rin tries to protect her blind daughter and three wolves under her care; Naema, an Iraqi doctor, faces life-threatening injuries; and Beth raises a troubled son while her Marine husband is deployed.
All the Dirty Parts by Daniel Handler (Aug. 29, hardcover, $22, ISBN 978-1-63286-804-6). High schooler Cole runs cross country, sketches, jokes around with his friends. But none of this quite matters next to the allure of sex. As Cole gets a not-quite-savory reputation around school, Handler’s novel looks at the erotic impulses of this all-too-typical young man.
A Loving, Faithful Animal by Josephine Rowe (Sept. 12, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-936787-57-9). On New Year’s Eve, 1990, in a small Australian town, Ru’s father, a Vietnam War veteran, has disappeared. This time Ru thinks he might be gone for good. Rowe’s debut novel is a portrait of one family searching for what is redeemable from the ruins of war.
Montpelier Parade by Karl Geary (Aug. 22, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-936787-55-5). Vera is beautiful, wealthy, and unknowable; Sonny is young and hungry for the world. The moment they meet in 1980s Dublin will change the course of their lives. Geary’s debut novel is about desire, grief, ambition, art, and the choices we must make.
The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova (Oct. 10, trade paper, $15.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-490-6). Dolls, sewing machines, tinned foods, mirrors, malfunctioning bodies—the stories in this collection are by turns childlike and naive, grotesque and very dark.
In the Distance by Hernán Diaz (Oct. 10, trade paper, $16.95, ISBN 978-1-56689-488-3). A young Swedish immigrant finds himself penniless and alone in gold rush–era California. He travels East in search of his brother, moving on foot against those pushing West. Driven back again and again, he meets naturalists, criminals, religious fanatics, swindlers, and lawmen, and his exploits turn him into a legend.
A Kind of Freedom by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Aug. 15, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-61902-922-4) is a tale of love and the consequences of American racial disparity spanning three generations of a New Orleans family.
The Imagined Land by Eduardo Berti, trans. by Charlotte Coombe (Oct. 10, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-941920-61-9). Berti conjures a star-crossed love story in prerevolutionary China. The desires of a young girl, visited in her dreams by her grandmother’s ghost, clash with the strict expectations of her parents, exploring the balance between modernity and tradition, mysticism and memory.
The Girls in the Picture by Melanie Benjamin (Jan. 16, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-101-88680-9). The author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator’s Wife presents a portrait of the close friendship and powerful creative partnership between two of Hollywood’s earliest female superstars: Frances Marion and Mary Pickford.
The Twelve-Mile Straight by Eleanor Henderson (Sept. 12, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-242208-8). Cotton County, Ga., 1930: two babies—one light-skinned, the other dark—are born to a white sharecropper’s daughter. Those living on the farm must contend with their complicity in a series of events that leave a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Vanishing Princess by Jenny Diski (Dec. 5, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-0-06-268571-1) is the only story collection from Diski, who died of cancer in April 2016. The collection channels both the social examination of her nonfiction and the dreamlike landscapes of her novels. 10,000-copy announced first printing.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Fresh Complaint by Jeffrey Eugenides (Oct. 3, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-20306-1). The first collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author ranges from the reproductive antics of “Baster” to the account of a young traveler’s search for enlightenment in “Air Mail” (selected by Annie Proulx for The Best American Short Stories 1997), with characters in the midst of personal and national crises.
The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott (Sept. 19, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-28014-7) sketches a portrait of the Irish-American experience by the National Book Award–winning author. Sister St. Savior, an aging nun, appears, unbidden, to aid a widow and the unborn child of a young immigrant following a fire in Catholic Brooklyn in the early part of the 20th century.
The Seventh Function of Language by Laurent Binet, trans. by Sam Taylor (Aug. 1, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-26156-6). Paris, 1980. The literary critic Roland Barthes dies after lunch with the presidential candidate François Mitterrand. The world of letters mourns a tragic accident. But what if it wasn’t an accident? What if Barthes was murdered? A genre-bending read from the author of HHhH.
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado (Oct. 3, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-55597-788-7). In this short story collection, Machado bends genre to shape narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
Fire Sermon by Jamie Quatro (Jan. 9, hardcover, $24, ISBN 978-0-8021-2704-4). Maggie, married for 20 years and an emerging writer, begins corresponding with one of her literary idols. What begins as a platonic exchange between two like-minded intellectuals transforms into something dangerous, an erotically charged liaison that challenges Maggie’s commitment to husband, family, and her deeply held moral and spiritual beliefs.
TheMystery.doc by Matthew McIntosh (Oct. 3, hardcover, $35, ISBN 978-0-8021-2491-3). A young writer attempts to write the follow-up to his first novel, searching for a form that will express the world as it has become. Pop-up ads, search results, web chats, snippets of conversation, lines of code, and film and television stills mix with alchemical manuscripts and classical works of literature.
Say My Name by Allegra Huston (Jan. 9, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-3071-4) is a debut novel about a woman in a stale, 20-year marriage who embarks on an affair with a much younger man and discovers a new, adventurous self. 80,000-copy announced first printing.
Hanna Who Fell from the Sky by Christopher Meades (Sept. 26, hardcover, $24.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-2873-5). Hanna has never been outside her secluded community. On her 18th birthday, Hanna will become the fifth wife of a man more than twice her age. But days before the wedding, Hanna meets Daniel, a stranger who challenges her to question her fate and follow her own will. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss (Sept. 12, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-243099-1) is a novel of metamorphosis and self-realization from the author of The History of Love. In present-day Israel, two visiting Americans—one a young wife, mother, and novelist, the other an elderly philanthropist—experience existential crises and transcendence. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich (Nov. 14, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-269405-8). In this dystopian novel, the National Book Award–winning author of The Round House paints a portrait of a young woman fighting for her life and her unborn child against oppressive forces that manifest in the wake of a cataclysmic event. 150,000-copy announced first printing.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Miss Kopp’s Midnight Confessions by Amy Stewart (Sept. 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-544-40999-6). The author of Girl Waits with Gun and Lady Cop Makes Trouble continues her fictionalized journey into the real lives of the forgotten but extraordinary Kopp sisters. 60,000-copy announced first printing.
Firefly Cove by Davis Bunn (Dec. 26, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-1-4967-0832-8). Doctors told Lucius he had a “bad ticker,” but the determined boy hung on and surprised everyone. Now, at 28, his time is finally running out. So he returns to the one place he ever felt happy—the California seaside town of Miramar Bay—near the only woman he ever truly wanted.
The Misfortune of Marion Palm by Emily Culliton (Aug. 8, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-5247-3190-8). This debut follows a Brooklyn Heights wife and mother who has embezzled a small fortune from her children’s private school and makes a run for it, leaving behind her trust fund poet husband, his maybe-secret lover, her two daughters, and a school board who will do anything to find her.
Stay with Me by Ayobami Adebayo (Aug. 22, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-451-49460-3). Set in Nigeria, this novel gives voice to both husband and wife as they tell the story of their marriage—and the forces that threaten to tear it apart.
Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang (Aug. 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-399-58938-6). This debut collection bridges generations and continents, moving from the fraught halls of a public school in Flushing, Queens, to the tumultuous streets of Shanghai, China, during the Cultural Revolution of the 1960s.
The Good People by Hannah Kent (Sept. 19, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-316-24396-4). Hedged in by gossip and joined by their desperation, three women in 19th-century Ireland are drawn together in the hope of rescuing a child from a superstitious community determined to rid itself of the strange and unknowable. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews (Sept. 5, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-38219-9). Three brothers are caught up in a whirlwind week of love, blackmail, and betrayal that culminates in an assassination plot, set against the dramatic backdrop of 1930s New York. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
Red Clocks by Leni Zumas (Jan. 16, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-316-43481-2). Abortion is illegal in America, in-vitro fertilization is banned, and the Personhood Amendment grants rights of life, liberty, and property to every embryo. In a small Oregon fishing town, five very different women navigate these new barriers alongside age-old questions surrounding motherhood, identity, and freedom. 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Mannequin Makers by Craig Cliff (Sept. 12, trade paper, $16, ISBN 978-1-57131-127-6). Excitement is rare in Marumaru, New Zealand. When a young Maori man arrives one day in 1903—announcing the imminent visit of a famous strongman—the entire town turns out to greet him, save one.
The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash (Oct. 3, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-231311-9). Set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, this is the chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, a tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, trans. by George Szirtes, Ottilie Mulzet, and John Batki (Nov. 15, hardcover, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-8112-2419-2). In these 11 stories from the Man Booker International winner, a traveler encounters a giant of a man on the banks of the Ganges, and a child laborer in a Portuguese marble quarry wanders off into a surreal realm utterly alien from his daily toils.
The Burning Girl by Claire Messud (Aug. 29, hardcover, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-393-63502-7). Julia and Cassie have been friends since nursery school, sharing everything including their desire to escape the limitations of their small Massachusetts hometown. But in adolescence, their paths diverge, and Cassie sets out on a journey that will put her life in danger and shatter her oldest friendship.
New York Review Books Classics
Katalin Street by Magda Szabo, trans. by Len Rix (Sept. 5, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-68137-152-8). From the author of The Door, this is a tale about a group of friends and lovers torn apart by the German occupation of Budapest during WWII, investigating the ways in which we inflict suffering on those we love.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (Sept. 12, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-7352-2429-2). Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist and single mother, arrives in the idyllic bubble of Shaker Heights with her teenage daughter, Pearl, and rents a house from the picture-perfect Richardson family. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair and Mia’s mysterious past.
The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (Jan. 9, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-0-7352-1318-0). It’s 1969 in New York City, and a traveling psychic claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. Four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness sneak out to hear their fortunes. Though the siblings keep the dates secret from one another, their prophecies inform their next five decades.
Brass by Xhenet Aliu (Jan. 30, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-399-59024-5) is a debut novel about the stark realities behind the American Dream. A waitress at the Betsy Ross Diner, Elsie hopes her nickel and dime tips will add up to a new life. Then she meets Bashkim, at once worldly and naive, a married man who left Albania to chase his dreams.
The Golden House by Salman Rushdie (Sept. 5, hardcover, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-399-59280-5). When the aristocratic Golden family moves into Greenwich Village, their past is a mystery. The narrator is an aspiring filmmaker who decides the Golden family will be his subject. He gains the trust of this strange family, even as their secrets gradually unfold.
Green by Sam Graham-Felsen (Jan. 2, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-399-59114-3). Boston, 1992. Dave (who longs to be called Green) is the white boy at his mostly black middle School, where he is lonely, constantly taunted, and desperate to fit in. Dave’s life takes a turn for the better when he befriends Marlon, who lives in the public housing around the corner from Dave’s gentrifying block.
Beyond the Rice Fields by Naivo, trans. by Allison M. Charette (Oct. 3, trade paper, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-63206-131-7). The first novel from Madagascar to be translated into English, Naivo’s story delves into the upheavals of the nation’s colonial past through the twin narratives of a slave and his master’s daughter.
Five-Carat Soul by James McBride (Sept. 26, hardcover, $27, ISBN 978-0-7352-1669-3). In the National Book Award–winner’s story collection, an antiques dealer discovers that a legendary toy commissioned by Civil War Gen. Robert E. Lee now sits in the home of a black minister in Queens. And members of the Five-Carat Soul Bottom Bone Band recount stories from their own messy lives.
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Oct. 3, hardcover, $28, ISBN 978-1-4767-1673-2). Anna works at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, sole provider for her mother and her severely disabled sister. At a night club, she meets Styles, the man she visited with her father before he vanished, and she begins to understand the reasons her father might have disappeared.
Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Sept. 5, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-2606-2). When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.
Passage by Khary Lazarre-White (Sept. 26, hardcover, $21.95, ISBN 978-1-60980-783-2) is the story of Warrior, a young black man navigating the snowy winter streets of Harlem and Brooklyn in 1993. Surrounded by deep family love and a sustaining connection to his history, he confronts the urban forces that surround him—both supernatural and human—including some that seek his very destruction.
Simon & Schuster
Girl in Snow by Danya Kukafka (Aug. 1, hardcover, $26, ISBN 978-1-5011-4437-0). When popular high schooler Lucinda Hayes is murdered, no one in her sleepy Colorado suburb is untouched—not the boy who loved her too much; not the girl who wanted her perfect life; not the officer assigned to investigate her murder. These three characters must each confront their darkest secrets.
The Mountain by Paul Yoon (Aug. 15, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-5011-5408-9). Yoon spins six thematically linked stories, across several continents and time periods, with characters connected by their traumatic pasts, newly vagrant lives, and quests for solace in their futures.
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (Oct. 10, hardcover, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-5011-3747-1). In this prequel to Hoffman’s bestseller Practical Magic, Susanna Owens knows that her children are dangerously unusual: difficult Franny, with blood red hair; Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts; and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Sept. 19, hardcover, $25, ISBN 978-1-61695-853-4). It is All Souls Day, and the spirit of Marcus Conway sits at his kitchen table and remembers. In flowing, relentless prose, Conway recalls—in a single sentence—his life in rural Ireland: as a boy and man, father, husband, citizen.
If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss (Aug. 22, trade paper, $15.99, ISBN 978-1-4926-4745-4). In a North Carolina mountain town filled with moonshine and rotten husbands, Sadie Blue is the latest girl to face a dead-end future at the mercy of a dangerous drunk. When a stranger sweeps in, Sadie begins to think there might be more to life than being Roy’s wife.
The Exact Nature of Our Wrongs by Janet Peery (Sept. 19, hardcover, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-12508-8). On a summer evening in the blue-collar town of Amicus, Kans., the Campbell family gathers for a birthday dinner for their ailing patriarch. When Billy, the youngest sibling—with a history of addiction, grand ideas, and misdemeanors—passes out, the family takes up the unfinished business of Billy’s sobriety.
Kiss Me Someone by Karen Shepard (Sept. 12, hardcover, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-941040-75-1). Shepard’s collection is inhabited by women who walk the line between various states: adolescence and adulthood, stability and uncertainty, selfishness and compassion. They navigate the obstacles that come with mixed-race identity and instabilities in social class, and they use their liminal positions to leverage power.
A Working Woman by Elvira Navarro, trans. by Christina MacSweeney (Oct. 10, trade paper, $14.95, ISBN 978-1-931883-65-8). In this novel about feminine friendship, potent sexuality, and madness, Elena transcribes the ravings of her roommate Susana, acting as part therapist, part confessor while Susana recounts the shocking tale of her boyfriend, the only person who will fulfill her singular sexual appetites.
After the Flare by Deji Bryce Olukotun (Sept. 12, trade paper, $16.99, ISBN 978-1-944700-18-8). After a solar flare knocks Earth offline, Nigeria has the only operating space program, and the future depends on engineer Kwesi Bracket and his team.
A Column of Fire by Ken Follett (Sept. 12, hardcover, $36, ISBN 978-0-525-95497-2). After the first two books of the Kingsbridge series, The Pillars of the Earth and World Without End, the saga continues with Follett’s new epic.