The power of art, community, and friendship provides a counterweight to a crumbling world in this fall’s notable fiction titles.
Bliss Montage: Stories
Ling Ma. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, Sept. 13 ($25, ISBN 978-0-374-29351-2)
One woman learns the painful rituals of yeti lovemaking, another puts up 100 ex-boyfriends in her house with her husband, and another is lured into a complex past involving a strong recreational drug in these fantastical stories.
Stephen Markley. Simon & Schuster, Jan. 10 ($27.99, ISBN 978-1-982123-09-3)
Markley once again swings for the fences in his door-stopping sophomore novel. It’s got a climate crisis, global political turmoil, drug addiction, ecoterrorism, and more, as the many characters try to save the world.
Barbara Kingsolver. Harper, Oct. 18 ($29.99, ISBN 978-0-06-325192-2)
Kingsolver reimagines Charles Dickens’s David Copperfield in contemporary Appalachia in this account of a boy, born in a trailer to a single mother, who navigates the perils of his social class.
The House of Fortune
Jessie Burton. Bloomsbury, Aug. 30 ($28, ISBN 978-1-63557-974-1)
With characters from Burton’s BBC-adapted The Miniaturist, this standalone story of 1705 Amsterdam involves an Austenesque marriage plot for a young mixed-race woman.
Namwali Serpell. Hogarth, Sept. 27 ($27, ISBN 978-0-593-44891-5)
A woman named Cassandra sees the face of her little brother, Wayne, who was lost at seven in an accident, everywhere she goes. After Cassandra meets a man named Wayne who also lost someone long ago, the already-twisty story becomes increasingly complex.
Liberation Day: Stories
George Saunders. Random House, Oct. 18 ($28, ISBN 978-0-525-50959-2)
The Booker winner returns to the short form with a collection featuring stories set in such locations as a Hell-themed amusement park attraction. Others, perhaps inspired by Saunders’s reporting on the 2016 Trump campaign, imagine dystopian political situations.
Now Is Not the Time to Panic
Kevin Wilson. Ecco, Nov. 8 ($27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-291350-0)
A lonely 16-year-old and a reclusive artist collaborate on a series of Xeroxed posters in rural 1990s Tennessee, their cryptic slogan prompting a satanic panic from residents.
Our Missing Hearts
Celeste Ng. Penguin Press, Oct. 4 ($28, ISBN 978-0-593-49254-3)
Ng channels Covid-era attacks on Asians and Asian Americans and forced separation of refugee families at the U.S. border for an alternate dystopian present, where a boy searches for his missing mother whose poetry inspired a series of art pranks against the authoritarian regime.
The Passenger and Stella Maris
Cormac McCarthy. Knopf, Oct. 25 ($30, ISBN 978-0-307-26899-0); Dec. 6 ($26, ISBN 978-0-307-26900-3)
In the first of two volumes, rescue diver Bobby Finger becomes embroiled in intrigue surrounding a submerged airplane’s missing passenger. In the second, Bobby’s sister, Alicia, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, reflects on madness, science, and the meaning of life.
Ernesto Mestre-Reed. Soho, Sept. 6 ($27, ISBN 978-1-64129-364-8)
The Cuban American author’s first novel in almost two decades revolves around a young queer man who joins a group of counterrevolutionaries in late-1990s Havana.
The Complicities by Stacey D’Erasmo (Sept. 20, $27,
ISBN 978-1-64375-196-2) explores a man’s white-collar crime through the stories of three women in his life, primarily his ex-wife, who tries to build a new life in a scrappy Massachusetts beach town.
The Women Could Fly by Megan Giddings (Aug. 9, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-311699-3). Witches and a totalitarian patriarchy drive Lakewood author Giddings’s latest genre-bending affair. At its heart is a young Black woman, whose mother, accused of being a witch, has disappeared.
And Other Stories
Get ’em Young, Treat ’em Tough, Tell ’em Nothing by Robin McLean (Oct. 18, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-913505-53-0). McLean follows up the revisionist western Pity the Beast with a collection exploring the neglected remnants of America’s frontier.
Kibogo by Scholastique Mukasonga, trans. by Mark Polizzotti (Sept. 13, $18 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-953861-36-8), dives headlong into a premise involving a Catholic missionary who runs afoul of the church after fusing his message with the story of a Rwandan martyr.
Emergency by Daisy Hildyard (Aug. 2, $23, ISBN 978-1-66260-147-7). British writer Hildyard offers an autofiction of the lockdown, overlaid with memories of and present-day excursions around the narrator’s home in rural Yorkshire.
Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan (Oct. 4, $29.99, ISBN 978-1-984818-38-6). A woman moves with her teenage daughter from Boston to her New Hampshire hometown to take over her father’s beekeeping business after her surgeon husband’s misdeeds come to light.
Let No One Sleep by Juan José Millás, trans. by Thomas Bunstead (Aug. 23, $16.99 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-942658-93-1). This story of obsession follows a woman who becomes a taxi driver after overhearing her neighbor’s opera music. After the neighbor moves away, the woman drives all over Madrid looking for him.
Mademoiselle Revolution by Zoe Sivak (Aug. 2, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-33603-8). A biracial and bisexual heiress flees Haiti during the revolution for Paris, where she gets involved with Robespierre and his mistress.
Witches by Brenda Lozano, trans.
by Heather Cleary (Aug. 16, $26, ISBN 978-1-64622-068-7), draws on the historical figure of Mazatec curandera María Sabina for a story about a present-day Mexico City journalist who interviews a folk healer in San Felipe after the journalist’s cousin’s murder.
Participation by Anna Moschovakis (Nov. 8, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-56689-657-3). Poet and translator Moschovakis delivers another novel of a literary community, after Eleanor, this time focusing on two book groups who take on the names Love and Anti-Love, and who become embroiled in political discourse.
The Deceptions by Jill Bialosky (Sept. 6, $26, ISBN 978-1-64009-024-8). A poet and empty nester finds solace from her rocky marriage in the Metro-
politan Museum of Art’s classical sculpture galleries and in a friendship with a fellow poet.
Beneath the Sands of Monahans by Charlie Alcorn (Sept. 20, $28, ISBN 978-
1-64605-219-6). An oilman cashes out of his business and hits it big on sports betting, and a Mexican heiress tries to recover a cartel fortune, in Alcorn’s Texas saga.
Sam by Allegra Goodman (Jan. 3, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-44781-9) traces the coming-of-age of a free-spirited girl named Sam through stories of Sam’s beloved but often absent father and a teacher whose attention becomes inappropriate.
Mount Chicago by Adam Levin (Aug. 9, $30, ISBN 978-0-385-54824-3) imagines a massive sinkhole engulfing a good deal of present-day Chicago, along with protagonist Solly Gladman’s family. Solly, an author and comedian, finds a big fan in an up-and-comer working for the mayor.
Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atkinson (Sept. 27, $29, ISBN 978-0-385-54797-0) takes readers to London’s gleaming Soho district in the 1920s, where a strong and supportive mother’s criminal empire comes under threat.
Unleashed by Cai Emmons (Sept. 6, $26, ISBN 978-0-593-47144-9). A married couple’s conflicts reach a tipping point during California’s wildfire season, while their college freshman daughter struggles to find herself in Los Angeles.
The Hero of This Book by Elizabeth McCracken (Oct. 4, $26.99, ISBN 978-0-06-297127-2). In the latest from PEN/New England Award winner McCracken, a writer reflects on how much she’s willing to share about her late mother in her work.
On the Rooftop by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton (Sept. 6, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-313996-1) echoes Fiddler on the Roof with the story of a singing group comprising sisters and of the effect of gentrification on the Black community of San Francisco in the 1950s.
Ghost Town by Kevin Chen, trans. by Darryl Sterk (Oct. 4, $27, ISBN 978-1-60945-798-3). A gay Taiwanese man returns home from Berlin after serving a prison sentence for his boyfriend’s murder.
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
No One Prayed Over Their Graves by Khaled Khalifa, trans. by Leri Price (Aug. 9, $30, ISBN 978-0-374-60192-8). Syrian writer Khalifa traces the impact of a 1907 flood in Aleppo on two friends, each of whom lose most of their family and neighbors.
How Not to Drown in a Glass of Water by Angie Cruz (Sept. 13, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-250-20845-3) follows a 50-something woman’s attempt to reenter the job market after the Great Recession. As she undergoes career counseling, she reflects on the past and her estranged son.
The Light Pirate by Lily Brooks-Dalton (Dec. 6, $28, ISBN 978-1-5387-0827-9) adds to the unstoppable and expanding trend of climate fiction. Here, a Florida family’s two boys disappear during preparations for a catastrophic hurricane.
Dr. No by Percival Everett (Nov. 1, $16 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-64445-208-0). NBCC Sandrof Award winner Everett combines James Bond references with pure mathematics for a plot involving a heist at Fort Knox.
Sugar Street by Jonathan Dee (Sept. 13, $26, ISBN 978-0-8021-6000-3), a road novel from the Pulitzer finalist, follows a man as he attempts to rid himself of his privileged past and start over in a small, working-class town.
Act of Oblivion by Robert Harris (Sept. 6, $28.99, ISBN 978-0-06-324800-7) involves a manhunt in the New World, after two men who plotted the assassination of King Charles I in 1649 flee from their trials for treason to the American colonies.
Everything the Light Touches by Janice Pariat (Oct. 25, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-321004-2). Pariat’s über novel features a young woman in present-day India; another hiking the Himalayas in the Edwardian era; Goethe’s travels in Italy; and Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus touring Lapland, Finland, in 1732.
The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza (Aug. 9, $26.99, ISBN 978-1-250-81985-7) is a debut about a young woman from Galveston, Tex., who grew up being told that her family descended from an extinct tribe that once settled on the island.
Lessons by Ian McEwan (Sept. 13, $30, ISBN 978-0-593-53520-2). The Booker Prize winner traces a man’s life story, beginning with the end of the Cold War in Europe and stretching around the globe to the present day.
The Marriage Portrait by Maggie O’Farrell (Sept. 6, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-32062-4) follows up the NBCC-winning Hamnet with a tale of Renaissance Italy, where a young woman is pulled away from her dreams to make art by a duke’s proposal.
Less Is Lost by Andrew Sean Greer (Sept. 20, $31, ISBN 978-0-316-30139-8) marks the sequel to the Pulitzer-winning Less, again featuring a road trip with writer Arthur Less, this time across the U.S. in a camper van.
About Face by William Giraldi (Sept. 6, $28,
ISBN 978-1-324-09135-6). Embedded in the title is a joke; it’s about a journalist writing a profile of a spiritual guru named Face. The action unfolds in present-day Boston, where the journalist and the guru each have their own dangerous run-ins.
Flight by Lynn Steger Strong (Nov. 8, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-313514-7). A group of siblings gather for Christmas in upstate New York after their mother’s death, where they try to come to terms with what to do about the house they jointly inherited.
Mika in Real Life by Emiko Jean (Aug. 2, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-06-321568-9). The adult debut by Jean is a tale of an aimless 30-something woman who fabricates a life story to share with the newly surfaced daughter she gave up for adoption 16 years earlier.
Kick the Latch by Kathryn Scanlan (Sept. 6, $17.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-0-8112-3200-5) marks the author’s latest experiment, this one using parts of an interview transcript with a horse trainer.
New York Review Books
My Phantoms by Gwendoline Riley (Sept. 13, $16.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-68137-681-3). English writer Riley delves into a 40-something woman’s complicated memories of her father, from whom she’s estranged, and her mother, Helen, who she sees once a year until Helen insists on drawing her back into Helen’s life.
Dinosaurs by Lydia Millet (Oct. 11, $26.95, ISBN 978-1-324-02146-9) again exhibits the NBA, NBCC, and Pulitzer finalist’s interest in the porous boundaries between neighbors, this time with the story of a fishbowl-like house in Arizona.
Mother of Strangers by Suad Amiry (Aug. 2, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-31655-9). Two teenagers fall in love in Jaffa during the 1947–1949 Palestine War in journalist Amiry’s fiction debut, which follows the changes brought by the war through its central characters.
The Two Lives of Sara by Catherine Adel West (Sept. 6, $27.99, ISBN 978-0-7783-3322-7). This sophomore novel from West explores the rich Black culture during the civil rights era in Memphis with a story of love and secrets.
The Old Place by Bobby Finger (Sept. 20, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-42234-2). A retired schoolteacher disrupts her routine small-town Texas life after revealing a long-held secret to her neighbor, in Finger’s debut.
Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout (Sept. 20, $28, ISBN 978-0-593-44606-5). In the latest from the Pulitzer winner, Lucy Barton copes with the early lockdown by leaving Manhattan for Maine, where she holes up with her ex-husband and old friend, William.
Victorious by Yishai Sarid, trans. by Yardenne Greenspan (Sept. 13, $22, ISBN 978-1-63206-312-0). A psychologist for the Israeli Army offers healing for soldiers, as well as combat training.
Best of Friends by Kamila Shamsie (Sept. 27, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-42182-6). Two London women, lifelong friends, reckon with their complicated upbringing in Karachi and their fundamental differences in this story by Pakistani writer Shamsie, winner of the Women’s Prize.
People Person by Candice Carty-Williams (Sept. 6, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-5011-9604-1). The British writer’s second novel follows a lonely 30-something influencer who reconnects with her many half-siblings, then finally gets to know her father.
A Quiet Life by Ethan Joella (Nov. 29, $27, ISBN 978-1-982190-97-2). Three characters adjusting to a huge loss—a widower, a mother of a missing daughter, and a woman whose father was killed in a robbery—converge in Joella’s novel.
Simon & Schuster
The Last Chairlift by John Irving (Oct. 18, $35, ISBN 978-1-5011-8927-2). The Pulitzer finalist and Academy Award winner returns to fiction after seven years with the story of an Aspen, Colo., skier in 1941.
The Mitford Affair by Marie Benedict (Jan. 1, $27.99, ISBN 978-1-72822-936-2) marks another story of famous historical women by this author. The story revolves around novelist Nancy Mitford and her sisters Diana and Unity, both of whom raise eyebrows for their ties to fascist Germany.
The House in the Orchard by Elizabeth Brooks (Sept. 27, $27.95, ISBN 978-1-953534-39-2). A dual narrative orbits around an old house in Cambridgeshire, England, tracing its occupation by London orphan Maude in 1876 and a war widow in 1945, whose husband was Maude’s nephew.
Perish by LaToya Watkins (Aug. 23, $27, ISBN 978-0-593-18591-9). This debut author spins a Faulkneresque story of a Black family in Texas, framed by a family gathering at a matriarch’s deathbed.
I Fear My Pain Interests You by Stephanie LaCava (Sept. 27, $19.95 trade paper, ISBN 978-1-83976-602-2). The protagonist, a daughter of punk rock musicians, is a New Yorker burned by bad relationships who leaves for the West Coast in hope of starting a new life.
The Unfolding by A.M. Homes (Sept. 6, $27, ISBN 978-0-7352-2535-0). Homes’s first novel in a decade imagines an alternate history involving a political conspiracy following Obama’s presidential win in 2008, which leads to installing a new president known as “The Big Guy.”