Big-name writers consider new and familiar terrain, and an interest in the power of the written word runs through the season’s notable fiction titles.
Beautiful World, Where Are You
Sally Rooney. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept. 7 ($28, ISBN 978-0-374-60260-4)
Irish wunderkind Rooney’s latest revolves around a group of young people navigating sex, relationships, and careers as they face down their 20s and come to grips with adulthood.
The Book of Form and Emptiness
Ruth Ozeki. Viking, Sept. 21 ($30, ISBN 978-0-399-56364-5)
Fourteen-year-old Benny avoids his mother’s house and hangs out at the library after he begins hearing voices from various household objects in this fantastical work from Booker finalist Ozeki.
Cloud Cuckoo Land
Anthony Doerr. Scribner, Sept. 28 ($30, ISBN 978-1-9821-6843-8)
Pulitzer-winner Doerr returns with the story of a long-lost book from ancient Greece and its effect on a series of characters at different points in history. PW gave it a starred review.
Miriam Toews. Bloomsbury, Oct. 5 ($24, ISBN 978-1-63557-817-1)
After nine-year-old Swiv is suspended from school for getting into a fight, she begins a therapeutic project of writing letters with her mother and grandmother to people absent from their lives. 250,000-copy announced first printing.
Colson Whitehead. Doubleday, Sept. 14 ($28.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54513-6)
NBA- and Pulitzer-winner Whitehead delivers a caper set in 1960s Harlem featuring a used furniture dealer who has one foot in the criminal world. The novel earned a starred review from PW.
Lean Fall Stand
Jon McGregor. Catapult, Sept. 21 ($26, ISBN 978-1-64622-099-1)
McGregor gradually pieces together the story of a doomed surveying expedition in present-day Antarctica and a survivor who can’t remember what happened out on the ice.
The Making of Incarnation
Tom McCarthy. Knopf, Nov. 2 ($27.95, ISBN 978-0-593-31987-1)
McCarthy returns six years after Satin Island to the themes of technology and the evolution of human experience, this time considering the history of motion studies leading up to CGI and drones.
The Morning Star
Karl Ove Knausgaard, trans. by Martin Aitken. Penguin Press, Sept. 28 ($30, ISBN 978-0-399-56342-3)
A bright new star appears in the sky and affects each member of a group of friends differently, in the first work of fiction from Knausgaard since his conclusion of the My Struggle series.
James Han Mattson. Morrow, Oct. 5 ($27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-307991-5)
Mattson delves into sex tourism and racial fetishism with a murder mystery set in a full-contact haunted house in 1997 Nebraska.
Louise Erdrich. Harper, Nov. 9 ($28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-267112-7)
NBA- and NBCC-winner Erdrich conceives of a haunted bookstore in contemporary Minneapolis, where the employees reckon with past injustices and present-day upheavals.
Literary Fiction Listings
Cosmogramma by Courttia Newland (Nov. 2, $24.95, ISBN 978-1-61775-978-9). Playwright, screenwriter, and novelist Newland delivers a collection of stories about characters from the African diaspora navigating a dystopian future.
The Archer by Shruti Swamy (Sept. 7, $25.95, ISBN 978-1-61620-990-2) is a coming-of-age novel about a young Bombay woman who in the 1970s discovers the Kathak dance discipline and tries to balance familial expectations with her own passions.
The Pastor by Hanne Orstavik, trans. by Martin Aitken (Oct. 5, $20 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-953861-08-5). NBA finalist Orstavik tells the story of a young German minister who reevaluates her reverence for scripture and language while trying to connect with a group of Sami villagers in Sweden.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova (Sept. 7, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-0254-8). After an Ecuadorian woman invites her descendants to her funeral while she is still alive, strange things begin to happen.
The Spectacular by Zoe Whittall (Sept. 14, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-9941-0).The latest from Whittall (The Best Kind of People) follows the missteps of a yoga instructor and her indie rocker daughter (a sex scandal and contraband cocaine, respectively) and a grandmother’s return to the Turkish village of her childhood.
Femlandia by Christina Dalcher (Oct. 19, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-20110-7). In a chaotic and violent near future, a woman and her 16-year-old daughter flee their home for a women-only colony, where babies are mysteriously conceived—all girls—despite an absence of men.
Shallow Waters by Anita Kopacz (Aug. 3, $26, ISBN 978-1-9821-7966-3) features a Yoruba deity taken from Africa as a child to the antebellum South, who then seeks her freedom on the Underground Railroad.
Search History by Eugene Lim (Oct. 5, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-617-7). A man becomes convinced his newly deceased friend has been reincarnated as a dog in a story occupied by themes of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and how to tell Asian American stories.
The Perishing by Natashia Deón (Nov. 2, $26, ISBN 978-1-64009-302-7). A Black immortal woman with no memories finds herself in 1930s Los Angeles, where she becomes a journalist, tries to learn about her past, and comes to believe her purpose is to save the world from destructive forces.
Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers (Oct. 5, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-309472-7). This account of a middle-aged reporter in 1950s London who investigates a woman’s claim of a virgin birth—miracle or hoax?—was a critical and commercial success in Britain.
The Women of Troy by Pat Barker (Aug. 24, $27.95, ISBN 978-0-385-54669-0). Booker-winner Barker continues her feminist retelling of Homer’s The Iliad, focused on the experiences of former Trojan queen Briseis after the siege. The novel earned a starred review from PW.
Afterparties: Stories by Anthony Veasna So (Aug. 3, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-304990-1). So, who died last year at 28, left behind a story collection, starred by PW, about a community of Cambodian Americans in California, including those with memories of the Khmer Rouge genocide.
Edge Case by YZ Chin (Aug. 10, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-303068-8). After a Malaysian woman’s husband disappears from their home in New York City, she roams the city in search of clues while coming to terms with the sacrifices of immigration and marriage.
Trust by Domenico Starnone, trans. by Jhumpa Lahiri (Oct. 19, $17 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-60945-703-7), is the story of the secrets each half of a couple revealed before they split, which were meant to bind them together and now prevent them from moving on.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Civilizations by Laurent Binet, trans. by Sam Taylor (Sept. 14, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-60081-5). In a counterfactual saga of warring civilizations, an Incan emperor leads a 16th-century expedition to Spain with a fleet of ships stolen from Christopher Columbus.
Crossroads by Jonathan Franzen (Oct. 5, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-18117-8). NBA-winner Franzen kicks off a trilogy about three generations of an American family, beginning with a pastor’s infatuation with a parishioner in 1971 that endangers his marriage
Dava Shastri’s Last Day by Kirthana Ramisetti (Nov. 30, $28, ISBN 978-1-5387-0386-1). A billionaire with terminal brain cancer hatches a plan to prematurely leak news of her own death, hoping to bask in the glowing obituaries, but the plan backfires after the press reports on compromising secrets from her past.
The Trees by Percival Everett (Sept. 21, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-064-2) involves a stymied investigation into a series of murders in a remote Mississippi town, each featuring a dead body resembling Emmett Till at the scene.
The Wrong End of the Telescope by Rabih Alameddine (Sept. 21, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-5780-5). Lebanese American painter and writer Alameddine spins a story of a doctor volunteering at a refugee camp in Greece, where she treats a Syrian woman who keeps her terminal liver cancer a secret from her family.
Tales from the Café by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, trans. by Geoffrey Trousselot (Oct. 12, $19.99, ISBN 978-1-335-63098-8). In the sequel to Before the Coffee Gets Cold, Kawaguchi introduces readers to four time travelers who visit lost loved ones.
The Postmistress of Paris by Meg Waite Clayton (Nov. 30, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-294698-0) draws inspiration from the true story of a Chicago heiress turned French Resistance operative who helped rescue artists from the Nazis.
Beautiful Little Fools by Jillian Cantor (Jan. 4, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-06-305126-3). The latest in post–public domain Gatsby fiction comes from Cantor, who retells Fitzgerald’s novel from the points of view of Daisy Buchanan, Jordan Baker, and a suffragette.
Olga by Bernhard Schlink, trans. by Charlotte Collins (Sept. 21, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-311292-6), serves up a decades-spanning romance beginning in the early 20th century, as a complex woman from a Prussian village remains devoted to the aristocrat she fell in love with as a girl.
Something New Under the Sun by Alexandra Kleeman (Aug. 3, $28, ISBN 978-1-9848-2630-5). A novelist goes to a near-future Hollywood to help with the adaptation of his novel and falls down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories revolving around a TV show’s relationship to a synthetic water product consumed by Californians.
Apples Never Fall by Liane Moriarty (Sept. 14, $28.99, ISBN 978-1-250-22025-7) offers another TV-ready plot in which a woman shows up at a retired couple’s doorstep in need of help. She and the husband go missing, and the couple’s children try to figure out what happened.
My Monticello: Fiction by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Oct. 5, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-80715-1). With violent white supremacists on the loose in the near future, a group of neighbors from Charlottesville, Va., hole up at Monticello in the title novella from Johnson’s collection of stories about race and home.
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
When Two Feathers Fell from the Sky by Margaret Verble (Oct. 12, $27, ISBN 978-0-358-55483-7) follows a Cherokee horse-diver and her eclectic group of friends at a haunted zoo in 1926 Nashville.
More Than I Love My Life by David Grossman, trans. by Jessica Cohen (Aug. 24, $26.95, ISBN 978-0-593-31891-1). Three generations of women cope with a legacy of abandonment, persecution, and self-determination in the latest from Israeli writer Grossman, which revolves around a granddaughter’s documentary film project; it received a starred review from PW.
The War for Gloria by Atticus Lish (Sept. 7, $28, ISBN 978-1-5247-3232-5). Six years after Lish’s PEN/Faulkner-winning Preparation for the Next Life, he delivers a story about class, illness, and a fraught father-son relationship, as a 15-year-old boy grapples with a history of violence in his family.
A Calling for Charlie Barnes by Joshua Ferris (Sept. 28, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-33353-5). A 68-year-old underachiever reckons with his life’s unrealized dreams after a cancer diagnosis and the Great Recession of 2008, with the help of his storyteller son.
Laserwriter II by Tamara Shopsin (Oct. 12, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-60257-4). Illustrator and writer Shopsin draws on her time working for an indie Apple computer repair shop in 1990s New York City in this take on the evolution of digital technology.
Awake by Harald Voetmann, trans. by Johanne Sorgenfri Ottosen (Sept. 7, $14.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8112-3081-0). Dutch writer Voetmann’s comic novel follows Pliny the Elder, his quest to complete his Natural History, and his nephew Pliny the Younger, who takes over after the Elder’s death in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius.
New York Review Books
When We Cease to Understand the World by Benjamin Labatut, trans. by Adrian Nathan West (Sept. 14, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68137-566-3), delves into a series of renowned scientists’ discoveries and unhinged behavior while posing questions about the net benefit or harm of their work.
Lemon by Yeo-Sun Kwon, trans. by Janet Hong (Oct. 12, $20, ISBN 978-1-63542-088-3). An 18-year-old woman’s unsolved 2002 murder continues to affect her younger sister and classmates in the years that follow, in South Korean writer Kwon’s psychological crime novel.
Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka (Sept. 28, $28.95, ISBN 978-0-593-32016-7). Nobel laureate Soyinka’s first novel since 1972 turns on the black market for body parts in a Nigerian hospital and a Yoruba man’s doomed appointment to the U.N.
In the Country of Others by Leila Slimani, trans. by Sam Taylor (Aug. 10, $26, ISBN 978-0-14-313597-5), kicks off a trilogy beginning with a romance between a French woman and a Moroccan soldier serving in the French army in WWII.
Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout (Oct. 19, $27, ISBN 978-0-8129-8943-4). Pulitzer-winner Strout returns to the title character from My Name Is Lucy Barton for a story of a divorced couple’s relationship as their children come-of-age.
Our Country Friends by Gary Shteyngart (Nov. 2, $28, ISBN 978-1-9848-5512-1). A Russian American writer offers refuge to a group of friends in the Hudson Valley during the first several months of Covid-19. The ensuing drama and follies culminate in, among other things, the staging of a Chekhov play.
Life Sciences by Joy Sorman, trans. by Lara Vergnaud (Oct. 12, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-63206-295-6). Seventeen-year-old Ninon grew up with stories of a centuries-old disease said to pass down through her family. After she’s hit by a series of ailments, she searches for a diagnosis.
I Love You, but I’ve Chosen Darkness by Claire Vaye Watkins (Oct. 5, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-33021-0) follows a new mother on a trip to Reno, Nev., where she relishes the time away from her baby, connects with old friends, and contends with memories of her first love.
Matrix by Lauren Groff (Sept. 7, $28, ISBN 978-1-59463-449-9) takes a turn to historical fiction with the story of a 17-year-old French woman cast out by her family in 1158 and sent to live in a decrepit English abbey, where she thrives by bonding with the nuns.
Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique (Oct. 19, $27, ISBN 978-1-59463-360-7). A romance between a Black American musician and a teacher from the Caribbean leads both to explore their family histories and identities in order to forge a lasting relationship.
The Eternal Audience of One by Rémy Ngamije (Aug. 10, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-6442-3). A family who fled Rwanda for Namibia in 1994 continue to deal with the stigma of their immigrant status, as the married couple’s son, now 24, navigates a new life as a law student in Cape Town.
The Magician by Colm Tóibín (Sept. 7, $28, ISBN 978-1-4767-8508-0) fictionalizes the life of Thomas Mann, spanning Mann’s upbringing in turn-of-the-century Germany, his literary success—which grows out of his secret homosexual desires—and his postwar married life in the U.S.
Simon & Schuster
All’s Well by Mona Awad (Aug. 3, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-6966-4). A theater professor battles her students and college administrators over her choice of play for a Shakespeare production, and finds relief in a fantastical plot involving three men who give her magical powers.
The School for Good Mothers by Jessamine Chan (Jan. 4, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-5612-1) offers a speculative twist on the monitoring of other people’s parenting in a story about a mother flagged by a state-sponsored surveillance program for neglecting her child.
I Wished by Dennis Cooper (Sept. 14, $25, ISBN 978-1-64129-304-4). Cooper returns to the subject of his muse and friend George Miles in his first novel in a decade, peopled with artists, prairie dogs, a serial killer, and Santa Claus.
In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Akínmádé Akerström (Sept. 7, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-7282-4038-1). A Black marketing executive is hired by a Swedish CEO to help fix a major PR disaster in a novel that also includes the perspectives of two other women on the powerful Swedish man, a Somalian refugee and a Jamaican American former model.
What Storm, What Thunder by Myriam J.A. Chancy (Oct. 5, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-951142-76-6) weaves a sprawling story of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, revolving around an intricate network of characters and the various ways in which they are connected.
The Lincoln Highway by Amor Towles (Oct. 5, $30, ISBN 978-0-7352-2235-9). An 18-year-old Nebraskan, having just finished in 1954 a juvenile sentence for manslaughter, is caught up in an escape plot involving two boys he served time with, which takes him to New York City.
This article has been updated with new bibliographic information for some titles.