Big-name writers entertain big ideas about the future and have fun with the past in this season’s crop. Explosive debuts and works in translation round out our list of notable titles.

Top 10

Activities of Daily Living

Lisa Hsiao Chen. Norton, Apr. 12 ($26.95, ISBN 978-0-393-88112-7)

Poet and Rona Jaffe Award winner Chen marks her fiction debut with a hybrid work about the renowned and elusive Taiwanese performance artist Tehching Hsieh.

The Candy House

Jennifer Egan. Scribner, Apr. 5 ($27, ISBN 978-1-4767-1676-3)

Egan returns with a companion to her Pulitzer and NBCC Award–winning A Visit from the Goon Squad. It’s a speculative story involving technology that allows people to access one another’s memories, set to the beat of electronic dance music.


NoViolet Bulawayo. Viking, Mar. 8 ($27, ISBN 978-0-525-56113-2)

Inspired by the 2017 coup in Zimbabwe, Bulawayo’s allegory of repression and revolution chronicles political upheaval in an unnamed country run by animals (think Orwell), where women’s rights are trampled upon from every direction.

The Kingdom of Sand

Andrew Holleran. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, June 7 ($27, ISBN 978-0-374-60096-9)

Groundbreaking gay writer Holleran (Dancer from the Dance) returns with a story of later-life grief and sexual desire.


Ottessa Moshfegh. Penguin Press, June 21 ($27, ISBN 978-0-593-30026-8)

A medieval village gets the Moshfegh treatment in the author’s latest, about a motherless boy, a drought and famine, and a selfish lord.

The Latecomer

Jean Hanff Korelitz. Celadon, May 31 ($28, ISBN 978-1-250-79079-8)

The college-age triplets of a privileged family receive the surprise news that a fourth sibling is on the way, developed from an embryo left over from their own in vitro conception.


Fernanda Melchor, trans. by Sophie Hughes. New Directions, Mar. 1 ($19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8112-3132-9)

Melchor follows up Hurricane Season with another nightmarish view of narco-controlled Mexican society, this time focusing on the misadventures of teenagers in a gated community.

Sea of Tranquility

Emily St. John Mandel. Knopf, Apr. 5 ($24, ISBN 978-0-593-32144-7)

Time travel, a pandemic, and a 23rd-century moon colony figure into the latest from Mandel, which follows a young man ostracized from his home, a famous writer, and a detective.

True Biz

Sara Novic. Random House, Apr. 5 ($27, ISBN 978-0-593-24150-9)

Novic returns after Girl at War with a story focused on characters who live and work at a school for the deaf.

Young Mungo

Douglas Stuart. Grove, Apr. 5 ($27, ISBN 978-0-8021-5955-7)

In Glasgow, two young men, a Protestant and a Catholic, embark on an illicit love affair in the sophomore effort from Booker winner Stuart.

Literary Fiction Listings


The Partition by Don Lee (Apr. 26, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-63614-031-5). Two decades after Lee’s classic collection, Yellow, he returns to the short form with stories about Asian Americans attempting to find their place, including three linked stories about a Hollywood actor.


Moldy Strawberries: Stories by Caio Abreu, trans. by Bruna Lobato (May 17, $20 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-953861-20-7). Brazilian writer Abreu’s English-language debut features characters whose vitality persists despite the 1980s AIDS crisis and political repression.

Atlantic Monthly

Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Faladé (Feb. 15, $27, ISBN 978-0-8021-5919-9). A Black Union soldier battles the Confederates in North Carolina and reckons with his status as a freedman.


A Ballad of Love and Glory by Reyna Grande (Mar. 15, $27, ISBN 978-1-9821-6526-0) charts a love story during the Mexican-American War involving an Irish American deserter and a Mexican nurse.


Mosquito by Gayl Jones (Feb. 15, $20 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8070-0662-7). A Black truck driver unknowingly transports a pregnant migrant from Mexico to the U.S., prompting the driver to get involved in the sanctuary movement to protect immigrants.

Bellevue Literary

City of Incurable Women by Maud Casey (Feb. 22, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-942658-86-3) comprises fictional portraits of the historical women diagnosed as hysterics by neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot in a Paris hospital.


Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Apr. 12, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-33769-1). Inspired by a true story, Perkins-Valdez follows a Black nurse who exposed mistreatment of her patients at an Alabama hospital in 1973.


The Great Passion by James Runcie (Mar. 15, $28, ISBN 978-1-63557-067-0) depicts Bach’s composition of his St. Matthew Passion from the perspective of a student who impresses the composer with his singing voice.


Bitter Orange Tree by Jokha Alharthi, trans. by Marilyn Booth (May 10, $26, ISBN 978-1-64622-003-8). Man Booker International Prize winner Alharthi returns with the story of an Omani woman studying in Britain, where she attempts to assimilate while reckoning with grief and memories of her past life.

Coffee House

Till the Wheels Fall Off by Brad Zellar (July 12, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-639-9). A boy bonds with his stepfather, Russ, over making playlists at the roller rink Russ runs in the 1980s.


Chorus by Rebecca Kauffman (Mar. 1, $26, ISBN 978-1-64009-518-2) offers a novel in stories about a family coping with a mother’s death and a teenage pregnancy, with a timeline spanning the early 20th century through the 1950s.


When We Were Birds by Ayanna Lloyd Banwo (Mar. 1, $27, ISBN 978-0-385-54726-0). The author debuts with the stories of a woman who grows up in a plantation house in modern-day Trinidad and Tobago, and a man who renounces his Rastafarian religion in order to work in a graveyard.


Mercy Street by Jennifer Haigh (Feb. 1, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-176330-4) follows a counselor at a women’s clinic in 2015 Boston who makes regular trips to her weed dealer to take the edge off, and a radical antiabortion activist who sets his sights on the clinic.


All the Lovers in the Night by Mieko Kawakami, trans. by Sam Bett and David Boyd (May 3, $28, ISBN 978-1-60945-699-3). A 30-something Tokyo copy editor tries to jump-start her life, in Kawakami’s latest.

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance by John Waters (May 3, $26, ISBN 978-0-374-18572-5). Legendary filmmaker Waters makes his fiction debut with the story of scam artist and thief Marsha Sprinkle, aka Liarmouth, and her misadventures in love and crime.

Grand Central

Half-Blown Rose by Leesa Cross-Smith (July 5, $28, ISBN 978-1-5387-5516-7). Kentucky writer Cross-Smith expands her oeuvre with the story of a Black middle-aged woman living in Paris after a public betrayal by her husband.


Sleeping Alone: Stories by Ru Freeman (June 7, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-088-8) is a collection featuring displaced characters in Sri Lanka, Dublin, Philadelphia, and elsewhere, each of whom contends with feeling foreign.


Free Love by Tessa Hadley (Feb. 1, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-313777-6). A London housewife comes into her own during the 1960s sexual revolution in the latest from Hadley, which conveys the effects of the era on each family member’s consciousness.

The Last Confessions of Sylvia P. by Lee Kravetz (Mar. 8, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-313999-2) imagines a nefarious actor in the life of Sylvia Plath who maliciously pushes her to write The Bell Jar.


Mercury Pictures Presents by Anthony Marra (July 19, $28, ISBN 978-0-451-49520-4) marks the return of NBCC John Leonard Prize winner Mara with the story of a woman who leaves Mussolini’s Italy for Hollywood.

Very Cold People by Sarah Manguso (Feb. 8, $26, ISBN 978-0-593-24122-6). Essayist and memoirist Manguso debuts with a novel covering the cold ground of a Massachusetts town, where her protagonist grows up a child of European immigrants and feels left out of the town’s colonial WASP heritage.


Good Intentions by Kasim Ali (Mar. 8, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-80960-5). A young British Pakistani man risks his family’s approval over his love for a Black journalist.

Sleepwalk by Dan Chaon (Apr. 5, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-17521-2) continues the author’s exploration of genre tropes with the story of a man named Will Bear who lives in a camper van and does bad things for worse people, and whose life is upended by a call from a young woman who says she’s his daughter.


Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley (May 24, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-31893-5). Mottley’s debut features a pair of young Black siblings finding their way in gentrifying Oakland, Calif.: Marcus by pursuing dreams of a rap career, and Kiara by finding ways to pay the bills, leading her to become a witness in a high-profile case involving police misconduct.

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin (July 12, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-32120-1). Two college friends design a video game that gives players the opportunities to experience second chances.

Little, Brown

How to Be Eaten by Maria Adelmann (May 17, $28, ISBN 978-0-316-45084-3). Adelmann follows the collection Girls of a Certain Age with a novel that plays out a series of fairy tales as fantasized—or feared—by a group of women in a trauma support group.


The Wind Whistling in the Cranes by Lidia Jorge, trans. by Margaret Jull Costa and Annie McDermott (Feb. 8, $30, ISBN 978-1-63149-759-9). FIL Prize–winning author Jorge spins a story of Portugal in the decades after the Carnation revolution, following two families living in a former canning factory.


Cult Classic by Sloane Crosley (June 7, $27, ISBN 978-0-374-60339-7). The essayist-turned-novelist imagines a surreal situation for a woman who repeatedly runs into her exes. This combines a New York City romance with a plot involving a business-oriented cult.


The Last Grand Duchess: A Novel of Olga Romanov, Imperial Russia, and Revolution by Bryn Turnbull (Feb. 8, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-7783-1170-6) follows Olga Romanov’s coming-of-age during the last gasp of imperial Russia.


Honey and Spice by Bolu Babalola (June 21, $25.99, ISBN 978-0-06-314148-3). After the hit collection Love in Color, Babalola returns with a novel about a Black British college student named Kiki, whose campus radio show warns listeners not to mess with players and “situationships”—until Kiki winds up testing her own advice.

New York Review Books

Telluria by Vladimir Sorokin, trans. by Max Lawton (May 24, $18.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68137-633-2), envisions a future world torn apart by a holy war, resulting in a Balkanized Europe and an Asia where people are addicted to a drug administered by a spike to the brain.

One World

Woman of Light by Kali Fajardo-Anstine (June 7, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-51132-8) follows up Sabrina & Corina, a finalist for the National Book Award, with a western set during the Great Depression involving an indigenous family.


W. by Steve Sem-Sandberg, trans. by Saskia Vogel (June 28, $28, ISBN 978-1-4197-5122-6). August Prize winner Sem-Sandberg retells Georg Buechner’s tragic play Woyzeck, exploring the lives and motivations of the real-life people who inspired the story of jealousy and murder.


When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East by Quan Barry (Feb. 22, $26, ISBN 978-1-5247-4811-1). Poet and novelist Barry sets her sights on the history and landscape of Mongolia with a quest narrative involving two brothers and their search for a reincarnated Buddhist teacher.

Penguin Press

Either/Or by Elif Batuman (May 24, $28, ISBN 978-0-525-55759-3). A first generation Turkish American, now a student at Harvard, travels to Turkey for a summer and finds many opportunities for self-discovery.

The Twilight World by Werner Herzog, trans. by Michael Hofmann (June 14, $25, ISBN 978-0-593-49026-6). German film director Herzog marks his first foray into fiction with a decidedly Herzogesque story inspired by a real-life Japanese soldier who stood guard on a tiny island—all by himself, eventually—for 29 years after WWII.


Booth by Karen Joy Fowler (Mar. 8, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-33143-9). Booker finalist Fowler tells a story of the family of Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, tracing the Booths’ rise to prominence in the theater world and their multiple scandals before and after the Southern secession.


A Down Home Meal for These Difficult Times: Stories by Meron Hadero (May 10, $26, ISBN 978-1-63206-118-8). Ethiopian American writer Hadero’s debut, winner of the publisher’s prize for New Immigrant Writing, features stories about immigrants and refugees throughout the world attempting to understand their new environments and make connections.


Trust by Hernan Diaz (May 3, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-42031-7). Diaz follows up his Pulitzer-finalist debut, In the Distance, with another story of American mythology, this time about a 1920s couple belonging to New York City’s ruling class and the stories told about them.


Tracy Flick Can’t Win by Tom Perrotta (June 7, $27, ISBN 978-1-5011-4406-6). It looked like Tracy’s star was on the rise at the end of Election, but Perrotta’s sequel envisions a fitting second act in midlife for the ruthless
protagonist: assistant principal at a
New Jersey public school.


Fellowship Point by Alice Elliott Dark (July 5, $28, ISBN 978-1-9821-3181-4). An 80-year-old woman puts her affairs in order after a cancer diagnosis, beginning with the final volume of her popular children’s book series and culminating in the legacy of a
pristine Maine peninsula she owns with a best friend and a nephew.

Seven Stories

The Absolute by Daniel Guebel, trans. by Jessica Sequeira (Apr. 5, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64421-160-1). Guebel portrays an unusual family’s progression through many generations, from 18th-century Russia to late 20th-century Argentina, chronicling their accomplishments in music, theology, art, and social experiments.

Simon & Schuster

Evening Hero by Marie Myung-Ok Lee (May 10, $27, ISBN 978-1-4767-3507-8). Lee returns 17 years after Somebody’s Daughter with the story of a Minnesota doctor who immigrated from Korea after the Korean War and has spent the past five decades harboring a consequential secret.

Soft Skull

Monarch by Candice Wuehle (Mar. 22, $26, ISBN 978-1-59376-707-5). The fever dreams of conspiracy theorists come to life in a 30-something woman’s story of her teenage years as a beauty queen, during which she was unwittingly groomed to be a sleeper agent by a secret government program related to the CIA’s MKUltra program.

Soho Press

After the Lights Go Out by John Vercher (June 7, $26, ISBN 978-1-64129-331-0). An aging mixed-race MMA fighter battles brain trauma; his white father, who has Alzheimer’s; his racist neighbors; and an unforgiving debt to a Philadelphia gym owner. The story finds him risking everything with one more big fight.

St. Martin’s

The Ruins by Phoebe Wynne (July 5, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-27206-5). Wynne follows Madam with a second modern gothic coming-of-age story, this time revolving around a chateau on the French Riviera that holds painful memories for a young English widow.

Strange Object

Country of Origin by Dalia Azim (Mar. 15, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64605-152-6). Egyptian American writer Azim debuts with the story of a young woman who flees Egypt for the U.S. after the 1952 revolution.

Tin House

The Maker of Swans by Paraic O’Donnell (June 7, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-953534-20-0). The Irish writer’s second book to reach American readers revolves around a fatal shooting on an English estate and the butler who witnesses his master wielding a gun.


A New Name: Septology VI–VII by Jon Fosse, trans. by Damion Searls (Mar. 1, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-945492-57-0). The concluding volumes of Fosse’s Septology round out his portrait of a reclusive Norwegian painter and the painter’s doppelgänger.

Two Dollar Radio

My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi (Mar. 22, $17.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-953387-16-5) imagines a volcano in Central Park towering over New York City; a boy who time travels from modern Mexico City to the Aztec era; and much more.


Horse by Geraldine Brooks (June 14, $28, ISBN 978-0-399-56296-9). Pulitzer winner Brooks offers a maximalist historical narrative based on the true story of a 19th-century racehorse; the horse’s enslaved groom; and the horse’s portraitist, a Union soldier.

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