Fall 2017 Fiction Preview: Buffalo, Brooklyn, and the Bard

Fall 2017 Fiction Preview: Buffalo, Brooklyn, and the Bard

Oh, fall. We’ve been waiting for you. This season promises to be especially wonderful because of all of the exciting new books coming out, including some from fan favorites Salman Rushdie, Celeste Ng, Jennifer Egan, and Jeffrey Eugenides. With so many great books to pick up this fall, we just couldn’t choose, so we’ve highlighted a whopping 14 novels and story collections on our list. Grab some hot cider, get cozy in your favorite flannel shirt, and settle in for a fall full of reading.

The Golden House

The girl next door

Readers, we don’t have to tell you who Salman Rushdie is. This autumn, he’s back with a new novel about a real estate mogul. Nero Golden comes to the United States with his family, and they quickly install themselves in a large home in a glamorous part of Manhattan. There, they begin new lives. All the while, their neighbor, René, is watching them. What does René see when watching the Golden clan? Lots of things. Beneath the veneer of glitz and money, René also glimpses something much darker. Rushdie’s latest doesn’t disappoint.

On shelves: September 5

Sing, Unburied, Sing

On the road

National Book Award winner Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing is undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated books of the season. Mam, Pop, Jojo, Kayla, and Leonie are family. Leonie is the mother of Jojo and Kayla, but the children live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, as Leonie is struggling with addiction. They reside in rural Mississippi, where Mam is losing a battle with cancer. When Jojo and Kayla’s father is released from prison, Leonie decides to take the children and go to the Mississippi State Penitentiary to see him. Their journey will take readers deep into the inner workings of a family that they won’t soon forget.

On shelves: September 5

Little Fires Everywhere

Won’t you be my neighbor

Settle into Shaker Heights, Ohio in this new novel from Celeste Ng. Mia Warren and her daughter, Pearl, are just settling into their rental home in Shaker Heights, which they are leasing from Elena Richardson and her family. The families grow close, but they have real differences: Elena is highly motivated by order and boundaries, whereas Mia is more of a free, artistic soul. When conflict over an adoption forces the entire town to choose sides, Elena and Mia find themselves in vehement disagreement with one another. Soon, Elena decides to investigate Mia’s background, and she finds far more than she bargained for.

On shelves: September 12

Solar Bones

On and on

There are long sentences, and then there are long sentences. In Solar Bones, Mike McCormack serves up one seriously extensive sentence—in fact, this entire novel is just one. The day is All Souls’ Day, and Marcus Conway is thinking. He’s peering into his past and looking all around him, musing about his life and circumstances. In a starred review, Kirkus wrote: “This transcendent novel should expand McCormack’s following on this side of the Atlantic and further establish him as a heavyweight of contemporary Irish fiction along with the likes of Anne Enright and Kevin Barry.”

On shelves: September 12

Forest Dark

When in Tel Aviv

Jules Epstein is a man in turmoil. He has just lost his parents, his marriage, and his career in short span of time. That’s enough to send anyone into a tailspin, and spin Jules does. He has started giving away his belongings, befuddling those who know him in the process, and booked a trip to Tel Aviv. There, he encounters a rabbi who gives Jules some unexpected news about his ancestors. An American novelist checks into the Tel Aviv Hilton looking for some space, both for her work and from her failing relationship. While she doesn’t meet Jules, their stories compliment one another in this engrossing novel.

On shelves: September 12

The Ninth Hour

A convent-ional family

A young husband commits suicide in Brooklyn, leaving a wife behind with a baby on the way. The baby, Sally, is then left with just one parent, and the nuns who helped in the wake of her father’s death become a huge part of her life. Readers will come to cherish and understand each of the nuns in this story, and will feel deeply attached to Sally. This story spans generations, but remains focused in on the importance of family, connection, and love. National Book Award winner Alice McDermott’s latest will thrill her fans and win her new ones, too.

On shelves: September 19

Savage Country

Buffalo buffalo buffalo

Do you dream about the West? Do you keep spurs in your closet and a lasso on the back of your door? If so, then Robert Olmstead’s new novel is the ideal book to pick up this fall. The year is 1873 and Elizabeth Coughlin has lost almost everything, including her husband. He had been planning something before he died: a buffalo hunt. Elizabeth decides to go on the hunt anyway along with her brother-in-law Michael. Their journey will be perilous, and Elizabeth and Michael will face dangerous weather, potentially deadly wildlife, and the hardships of life on the road. For readers captivated by the West: look no further.

On shelves: September 26


Updating the Bard

Sure, you’ve read King Lear. But you haven’t read Edward St. Aubyn’s take on King Lear. And that, we promise, is a thing to behold. Meet Henry Dunbar, a retired business tycoon. He has three daughters: Abby, Megan, and Florence, and his relationship with them has grown more… complicated since he watched Abby and Megan take over the family company. Henry isn’t used to sitting things out, and he is displeased with his surroundings: He’s in a posh sanitarium, and he knows he’s got to get out. Readers of Shakespeare and St. Aubyn will be equally delighted with this adaptation.

On shelves: October 3

Fresh Complaint

Short and sweet

Jeffrey Eugenides needs no introduction, but we’ll refresh your memory: He won a Pulitzer Prize for his novel Middlesex. Now, he’s back with his first collection of short stories, Fresh Complaint. In the title story, readers will meet a woman whose arranged marriage isn’t working out for her. In “Air Mail,” Mitchell from The Marriage Plot returns, and is traveling in Thailand. While the plots may be somewhat disparate, they are connected thematically, In a starred review, Kirkus wrote: “Sprightly or serious, Eugenides consistently writes about complex lives with depth and compassion.”

On shelves: October 3

Manhattan Beach

A visit from Jennifer Egan

Speaking of Pulitzer Prizes, the author of Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan, has one too. While her most famous novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, plays with form in inventive ways, this new book is more conventional in its approach than readers might expect. In it, readers will make the acquaintance Anna Kerrigan, a child living in New York City in the 1930s. Anna’s father disappears, and it is only years later when she encounters an old business acquaintance of her father’s that she more fully comprehends what his life must have been like. Early reviews of the novel have been nothing short of glowing, proving just how much talent and range Egan has.

On shelves: October 3

Without Merit

Sister, sister

Merit Voss’ life is, admittedly, a little different. She lives in an old church with her mother, father, and her father’s new wife (who used to be her mother’s nurse). She’s a twin—her sister’s name is Honor—and she likes trophies, and collects as many as them as she can. When a boy named Sagan moves in with the Voss family, however, things get even more complicated. Then Luck moves in, too. This is all a lot for Merit to process, and when she begins to act out and spill her family’s secrets, the Voss clan will never be the same again. This book includes illustrations by Brandon Adams which truly bring the narrative to life.

On shelves: October 3

Voices in the Dark

Sound and fury

This unique volume is a graphic novel adaptation of The Karnau Tapes, a 1995 novel by Marcel Beyer. Ulli Lust wrote and illustrated the book, which was then translated by John Brownjohn and Nika Knight. If all of this sounds kind of complicated, then we’ll get right to the point: You don’t want to miss this one. The story is about an audio engineer named Hermann Karnau living and working in Germany under the Nazis. His work brings him into contact with Joseph Goebbels and his daughter, Helga. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly wrote: “It’s a rare adaptation that, rather than simply transcribing the source material, transcends it.”

On shelves: October 17

In the Midst of Winter

Let it snow

Readers, rejoice! Isabel Allende is back with another novel. As the title suggests, this book picks up in the middle of the coldest season in Brooklyn. It’s snowing, and two cars get into an accident. The drivers are Evelyn Ortega and Richard Bowmaster. Meanwhile, Lucia Maraz decides to stay at home through the blizzard and wait things out. These three lives will intertwine in unexpected ways in this deeply affecting novel. All three have experienced different kinds of profound loss, and love may even bloom before readers have turned the final page.

On shelves: October 31

Future Home of the Living God

In reverse

Many of us are probably somewhat familiar with the notion of evolution as described by Charles Darwin. But what if we started evolving backwards? That’s the premise of Louise Erdrich’s new novel Future Home of the Living God. In Erdrich’s dystopian tale, the United States is in turmoil, and babies born to humans more closely resemble humans’ primitive ancestors. Cedar Hawk Songmaker is pregnant, and she is grappling with what to make of this development. For readers who are jonesing for more fiction in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale, Louise Erdrich’s fictional vision of the near future will be completely gripping.

On shelves: November 14


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