Prequels, sequels, and new offerings from prizewinners are joined by big debuts in our picks for notable fall fiction, which include works by Martin Amis, Susanna Clarke, and Marilynne Robinson.
Emma Cline. Random House, Sept. 1 ($27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9864-1)
Cline’s second book after bestseller The Girls sets a range of fraught domestic scenes in Southern California and the Southwest, in stories that explore pain under a placid surface.
Dolores Reyes, trans. by Julia Sanches. HarperVia, Nov. 17 ($24.99, ISBN 978-0-06-298773-0)
Argentine feminist activist Reyes blends magical realism and mystery in her debut about a woman who, after eating the soil around her slum, has visions that reveal details about her mother’s death.
The Evening and the Morning
Ken Follett. Viking, Sept. 15 ($38, ISBN 978-0-525-95498-9)
In a prequel to Follett’s The Pillars of the Earth, set in 997 England, a young boat builder, a noblewoman, and a monk clash with a powerful, corrupt bishop. 1,000,000-copy announced first printing.
Ayad Akhtar. Little, Brown, Sept. 8 ($28, ISBN 978-0-316-49642-1)
Pulitzer-winning playwright and novelist Akhtar offers a tale of autofiction about a Staten Island–born man named Ayad and his Pakistani immigrant father as they navigate Trump’s America.
Martin Amis. Knopf, Oct. 6 ($28.95, ISBN 978-0-593-31829-4)
Amis returns with a novel of his roots, featuring a cast of literary luminaries, friends, and influences including Saul Bellow, Christopher Hitchens, and Iris Murdoch, as well as his father, Kingsley Amis.
Marilynne Robinson. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept. 15 ($27, ISBN 978-0-374-27930-1)
The fifth entry in Robinson’s Gilead cycle follows a romance between a white minister’s son and a black preacher’s daughter in post-WWII St. Louis. 250,000-copy announced first printing.
Bryan Washington. Riverhead, Oct. 6 ($27, ISBN 978-0-593-08727-5)
Washington expands on the Houston he introduced readers to in the blockbuster collection Lot with the story of Benson and Mike, two lovers whose relationship is tested when Mike visits family in Japan.
Phil Klay. Penguin Press, Oct. 6 ($28, ISBN 978-1-984880-65-9)
Klay (whose Redeployment won a National Book Award) follows an American military liaison and a reporter into a civil war in Colombia in a tale that evokes Heart of Darkness.
Susanna Clarke. Bloomsbury, Sept. 15 ($27, ISBN 978-1-63557-563-7)
In this fantastical tale, a man named Piranesi explores the bounds of his expansive house, where an ocean current rips through its rooms, and a man named the Other is researching “A Great and Secret Knowledge.”
What Are You Going Through
Sigrid Nunez. Riverhead, Sept. 8 ($26, ISBN 978-0-593-19141-5)
Nunez follows up her National Book Award–winning The Friend with another novel about death and women’s friendship, this one involving euthanasia.
Out of Mesopotamia by Salar Abdoh (Sept. 1, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61775-860-7) draws on Abdoh’s experience reporting on the war against ISIS in Iraq and Syria in this tale of an Iranian television writer who crosses the border to get a first-hand look at the front lines.
With or Without You by Caroline Leavitt (Aug. 4, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-779-3). In this account of a doomed relationship and second chances, a middle-aged man’s rock and roll dreams won’t die, and his girlfriend wakes up from a coma with a newfound talent as a portraitist.
Igifu by Scholastique Mukasonga, trans. by Jordan Stump (Sept. 15, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-939810-78-6). Rwandan writer Mukasonga’s collection contrasts stories of survival and healing with those of violence. In the title story, a five-year-old girl is saved by her mother from a force of hunger called the “igifu”; in another, a woman loses her entire family to genocide.
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman (Sept. 8, $28, ISBN 978-1-5011-6083-7). Backman’s comedy of manners revolves around a cast of Swedes held hostage by a desperate, sympathetic bank robber who remains masked through most of the action.
Sergeant Salinger by Jerome Charyn (Jan. 5, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-942658-74-0). Charyn applies his brand of sensational, adventure-driven historical fiction to a story of J.D. Salinger, following the author as a young draftee during WWII. Salinger sees action at D-Day, becomes an intelligence operative, and comes back to New York City with plenty of demons.
The Royal Governess: A Novel of Queen Elizabeth II’s Childhood by Wendy Holden (Aug. 25, $26, ISBN 978-0-593-10132-2) tells the story of the influential Marion Crawford, who becomes a tutor for sisters Elizabeth and Margaret in 1933, when the future queen is nine years old, and stays with them through WWII and Elizabeth’s first meeting with Philip.
What Happens at Night by Peter Cameron (Aug. 4, $26, ISBN 978-1-948226-96-7). An American couple visits a fictional, northern European city, planning to adopt a child from an orphanage. While enduring delays, the couple spend their days at an elegant hotel, where inscrutable, Kafkaesque encounters with strangers and an overall dreamy atmosphere leave them feeling adrift.
One Night Two Souls Went Walking by Ellen Cooney (Nov. 10, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-597-2). A hospital chaplain is comforted—and spooked—by a dog who might be a ghost in Cooney’s tale of a woman who visits a series of patients on their death beds while working through her own heartache.
The Ancestry of Objects by Tatiana Ryckman (Sept. 8, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64605-025-3). In this story of a suicidal young woman’s affair with an older man, Ryckman continues her exploration of obsession and desire, as the protagonist
filters through her memories in search of her voice.
Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce (Nov. 24, $25, ISBN 978-0-593-23095-4). Spinster Margery Benson leaves behind the drudgery of 1950 London for New Caledonia in the South Pacific, in search of a mythical golden beetle she learned of as a child. In tow with Margery is an assistant who will help lead her into adventure.
The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood (Nov. 17, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54525-9). Masood’s comic novel follows the separate paths of two Muslims from Pakistan and Iraq to the U.S., and explores the consequences of what happens when their very different lives come together in California.
The Arrest by Jonathan Lethem (Nov. 10, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-293878-7). What would the world look like if everything stopped working? After an event known as “The Arrest,” cars, computers, and other technology goes permanently cold. In the new normal, Lethem follows an L.A. screenwriter to rural Maine, where he finds a new life on an organic farm.
Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam (Oct. 6, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-266763-2). A family vacation on Long Island turns into a tense ordeal after the owners of the rented house show up with news of a blackout in New York City, and announce they’ll be staying with their renters.
My Devotion by Julia Kerninon, trans. by Alison Anderson (Aug. 25, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60945-614-6). Fénéon Literary Prize–winner Kerninon’s debut revolves around the turbulent relationship between Helen and Franck, both from diplomatic families, who meet as teenagers in Rome, and their transformation after Franck becomes a successful painter.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Likes by Sarah Shun Bynum (Sept. 1, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-19194-8). Ordinary situations—a Waldorf school’s Elves’ Faire, a crew of trash pickers in suburban California—take on a strangeness in the latest from Bynum (Ms. Hempel Chronicles). 50,000-copy announced first printing.
The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld (Sept. 22, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-034-5). In Rijneveld’s debut, a Booker International Prize finalist, a 10-year-old girl’s religious parents blame her for her brother’s death in an ice-skating accident, and the family gradually drifts into incest and mental illness.
Earthlings by Sayaka Murata, trans. by Ginny Tapley Takemori (Oct. 6, $25, ISBN 978-0-8021-5700-3) follows up Convenience Store Woman with the story of a woman who grew up wondering if she’s an alien and, as an adult, continues to struggle to find her place in Japanese society as she imagines another world out there.
To Be a Man: Stories by Nicole Krauss (Nov. 3, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-243102-8). Men come to terms with themselves in Krauss’s collection. In one story, an older man reflects on his sexual awakening as a teenager visiting Paris; in another, a man survives a long illness and faces down his decades of failed attempts at novel writing.
The Cold Millions by Jess Walter (Oct. 6, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-286808-4). Bestseller Walter returns with a story of two brothers, train-hopping hoboes who get caught up with a vaudeville singer and the struggle for miners’ rights in the early 20th-century American West.
Monogamy by Sue Miller (Sept. 8, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-296965-1). Miller’s first novel since The Arsonist has earned a starred review from PW. The story follows a grief-stricken woman through the aftermath of her Rabelaisian husband’s death in Cambridge, Mass.
A Traveler at the Gates of Wisdom by John Boyne (Aug. 11, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-23015-2). The latest from Boyne, who is known for his bestselling YA fiction, is an epic beginning in Palestine in 1 CE, when an infant son is shown mercy by his father, who was conscripted by King Herod to kill the potential king of the Jews.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
A Lie Someone Told You about Yourself by Peter Ho Davies (Jan. 5, $24, ISBN 978-0-544-27771-7) examines a family’s decisions about whether to have a child over the course of two pregnancies.
The Titanic Sisters by Patricia Falvey (Jan. 26, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-4967-3256-9). Two sisters from Ireland go on separate paths in the U.S. after surviving the sinking of the Titanic, in Falvey’s historical.
Perestroika in Paris by Jane Smiley (Dec. 1, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-525-52035-1). A racehorse and a German shorthaired pointer help each other get by while living unattended in a series of Paris parks. When they meet a boy named Etienne, who takes a liking to them, adventures ensue for all.
Red Pill by Hari Kunzru (Sept. 1, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-451-49371-2). Kunzru continues to explore technology, culture, and social divisions with this tale of an American writer in Berlin who becomes obsessed with a reality TV show about cops, which he believes is meant to make people embrace white supremacy.
The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline (Sept. 15, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-235634-5). Bestseller Kline (Orphan Train) imagines the lives of three women seeking new beginnings in 19th-century Australia. Two English convicts and an Aboriginal orphan endure hardships and find opportunities, as Kline dissects the country’s growing pains.
Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M. Danforth, illus. by Sara Lautman (Oct. 20, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-294285-2), blends a gothic tale of mysterious deaths at a since-closed Gilded Age girls’ school with contemporary pop culture commentary. After the school is reopened, following interest in its history of embracing feminism and queerness, a horror film is made about the deaths, and calamity strikes all over again.
The Lost Writings by Franz Kafka, edited by Reiner Stach, trans. by Michael Hofmann (Sept. 29, $16.95, ISBN 978-0-8112-2801-5). This collection ranges from fragments to stories that run several pages long, most of which have never before been translated into English.
The Perfect Nine by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o (Oct. 6, $23.99, ISBN 978-1-62097-525-1). Kenyan writer Thiong’o, long considered a favorite for the Nobel Prize, offers an epic novel in verse about the founding of the Gikuyu people, filtering a myth of the families’ search for suitable suitors for their daughters through a feminist perspective.
New York Review Books
Peach Blossom Paradise by Ge Fei, trans. by Canaan Morse (Oct. 20, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68137-470-3). In Chinese writer Ge’s historical about a failed period of reform in 1898, a woman finds herself up against a hierarchical, patriarchal society.
Adrianne Geffel: A Fiction by David Hajdu (Sept. 22, $25.95, ISBN 978-0-393-63422-8). Music critic Hajdu (Positively 4th Street) returns with his debut work of fiction, a comic novel about an avant-garde musician who channels her inner pain into impenetrable noise, which only encourages music writers to spread buzz about her.
Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters (Jan. 12, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-13337-8). Peters’s debut novel follows trans couple Reese and Amy as Reese revels in her hard-fought comforts and security as a trans woman living in New York City. The couple is also planning for a child, until Amy detransitions.
Clerk by Guillermo Saccomanno, trans. by Andrea G. Labinger (Oct. 13, $15.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-948830-25-6). Saccomanno channels Philip K. Dick in this dystopian tale of a city besieged by violent uprisings, dangerous children, and acid rain, among other deadly problems. At the center is a clerk who recounts how things got the way they did and dreams of a new life.
The Bass Rock by Evie Wyld (Sept. 1, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-101-87188-1). A rock off the coast of Scotland connects three women at different points in history: a woman who was accused of witchcraft centuries ago, and a contemporary mother and daughter reckoning with the past.
The Sun Collective by Charles Baxter (Nov. 17, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-5247-4885-2). Baxter turns his lens to a cultlike group of activists in Minneapolis, including former actor Tim Brettigan and a woman addicted to a new drug. As Tim’s parents search for him, Baxter explores the problems that lead people to misplace their hope.
The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim (Sept. 8, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-1017-4). In Kim’s debut, 26-year-old Margot Lee sifts through the details of her mother Mina’s past after her sudden death, learning of Mina’s experience as a Korean War orphan and her winding path to Los Angeles’s Koreatown, where Margot grew up.
Cher Ami and Major Whittlesey by Kathleen Rooney (Aug. 11, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-14-313542-5). A homing pigeon and a gay WWI veteran tell their stories of combat in Rooney’s creative take on the two real-life historical figures. 100,000-copy announced first printing.
The Queen of Tuesday by Darin Strauss (Aug. 18, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-9276-2) follows up the author’s NBCC-winning memoir Half a Life with a blend of history and metafictional autobiography in a story about the time his grandfather and Lucille Ball might have kissed.
Just Like You by Nick Hornby (Sept. 29, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-19138-5). In this story of a romance between a 40-something woman and a 20-something man, Hornby bridges the age gap and explores the couple’s class and cultural divides as they reckon with true love.
Cuyahoga by Pete Beatty (Oct. 6, $27, ISBN 978-1-982155-55-1). Beatty’s debut blends the refined western diction of Charles Portis with a Pynchonian, cartoonish view of 19th-century Ohio. The hero is Big Son, struggling to provide for himself amid the growing rivalry between Ohio City and Cleveland.
Simon & Schuster
Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman (Oct. 6, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-982108-84-7) returns to the story of the Owens family with another prequel to Practical Magic, this one taking place in 17th-century Salem, where matriarch Maria Owens is accused of witchcraft.
The Revolution According to Raymundo Mata by Gina Apostol (Jan. 12, $27, ISBN 978-1-64129-183-5) triangulates the story of Filipino revolutionary Mata with a plurality of voices: a nationalist, a Freudian theorist, and a translator who also featured in Apostol’s Insurrecto, a PW best book of 2018.
The Arctic Fury by Greer Macallister (Dec. 1, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-72821-569-3). Based on the true story of an Arctic voyage in the 1850s, Macallister’s latest pursues an often-posed question: how would things turn out if you put women in charge? After Lady Franklin’s husband is lost at sea, and a series of expeditions run by men fail to turn up answers, she hires a group of women.
The Other Mother by Matthew Dicks (Nov. 10, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-10346-8). “This mother is not my mother,” begins Dicks’s coming-of-age novel about a boy whose life is disrupted after his father’s death and his mother’s remarriage. Now, he’s the only one who knows his mother has vanished and been replaced by a simulacrum.
A Girl Is a Body of Water by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi (Sept. 1, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-951142-04-9). Ugandan writer Makumbi follows a 12-year-old girl’s search for her mother and exploration of her sense of self, all the while examining the clash between empowering folklore and her country’s male-dominated modern society.
That Time of Year by Marie Ndiaye, trans. by Jordan Stump (Sept. 8, $19.95, ISBN 978-1-931883-91-7). A Parisian man on vacation in an unnamed Francophone seaside village faces a crisis after he can’t find his wife and child, and the local bureaucracy is far from helpful. Ndiaye blends horror elements with a meditation on postcolonial power structures.
Like a Bird by Fariha Róisín (Sept. 15, $26, ISBN 978-1-951213-09-1). In Róisín’s debut novel of racism and victim-blaming (after a poetry collection and a book of essays), a young woman is kicked out of her parents’ apartment on the Upper West Side after she is raped.
True Story by Kate Reed Petty (Aug. 4, $26, ISBN 978-1-984877-68-0). Petty’s debut dissects the murky details of a woman’s sexual assault at a lacrosse party 16 years earlier, when she was a high schooler in a Baltimore suburb. 75,000-copy announced first printing.
The Push by Ashley Audrain (Jan. 5, $26, ISBN 978-1-984881-66-3). New mother Blythe Connor fears there’s something different about her infant daughter, while her husband, Fox, insists she’s imagining things. 100,000-copy announced first printing.