Books Fall Preview: Fiction
New novels from Jonathan Franzen and Anthony Doerr, a political thriller by Hillary Clinton and Louise Penny, a Korean murder mystery — and more.
Here’s a third smart, sexy novel from Rooney, who received widespread acclaim for her first two, “Conversations With Friends” and “Normal People.” This book has a clear autobiographical bent: Alice is a young novelist who has rocketed to worldwide fame. Her close friendship with Eileen anchors the book, with their email exchanges alighting on everything from political and social upheaval to their romantic lives.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Sept. 7 | Read our review | Read our profile of Rooney
De Beauvoir may be most closely associated with Jean-Paul Sartre, but this loosely autobiographical novel, written in 1954 and put aside for decades, suggests that her more significant relationship was with her childhood friend Zaza.
Ecco, Sept. 7 | Read our review
Family tensions bubbling over in Australia, jump cuts between past and present — it’s another novel from Moriarty, known for books like “Big Little Lies” and “Nine Perfect Strangers.” This time, she focuses on the Delaney family, headed by two retired tennis stars, and the fallout after their mother goes missing.
Holt, Sept. 14 | Read our review
In 1960s Harlem, Ray Carney, a furniture salesman, is trying to lead a mostly upright life — until he’s drawn into a heist that goes awry. Our reviewer called this, Whitehead’s first novel since he won Pulitzer Prizes for “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys,” “a rich, wild book.”
Doubleday, Sept. 14 | Read our review | Read our profile of Whitehead
It’s been two decades since Jones released a new novel, and she returns with a multipart series centered on Almeyda, a young enslaved girl in colonial Brazil, who makes her way to a utopia where Black people are free. After the settlement is destroyed, Almeyda crosses the country in search of her lost husband.
Beacon Press, Sept. 14 | Read our review
As with his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “The Overstory,” Powers’s new book encourages readers to look beyond ourselves. A widowed father, Theo, is an astrobiologist researching the possibility of life throughout the galaxy. His son, Robin, is struggling with outbursts at school and difficult emotions, but finds relief in an experimental neurofeedback therapy, which allows him to access his dead mother’s feelings.
Norton, Sept. 21 | Read our review | Read our profile of Powers
Mina, a trans Lebanese American doctor, arrives in Lesbos to volunteer at a refugee camp, and the experience takes on an unexpectedly personal dimension after she meets Sumaiya, a Syrian woman trying to hide the extent of her illness from her family.
Grove, Sept. 21 | | Read our review | Read our profile of Alameddine
The Nobel laureate’s first novel in nearly 50 years reads like a sendup of an imaginary Nigeria, equally a mystery and political satire, centered on a black market for human flesh and the doctor trying to get to the bottom of what’s going on.
Pantheon, Sept. 28 | Read our review | Read our profile of Soyinka
In his first novel since he won a Pulitzer Prize for “All the Light We Cannot See,” Doerr follows five characters across a millennium, from 15th-century Constantinople to a futuristic spaceship, all linked by a love of books, myth and storytelling.
Scribner, Sept. 28 | Read our review | Read our profile of Doerr
Set in the 1970s in a Chicago suburb, this novel, the first in a planned trilogy, follows the Hildebrandt family. Russell, an associate pastor whose ethical code is wavering, and Marion, who deals with long-buried traumas, head up the family, which goes on to confront moral and spiritual questions.
Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Oct. 5 | Read our review
It’s 1990s Nebraska, and a group of four contestants is close to completing an escape room known for its horrors. But when one of them is killed by an intruder, the survivors — including a love-struck international student who came to track down a former teacher and a grieving teenage girl — are left to reckon with a bigger challenge involving guilt, race and power.
William Morrow, Oct. 5 | Read our review
Set over a 10-day stretch in 1954, this new novel from the author of “A Gentleman in Moscow” follows a teenager trying to rebuild his life. Emmett has returned to Nebraska after serving a sentence for involuntary manslaughter, with plans to collect his younger brother and start fresh in California. But when he discovers two unexpected interlopers, his path is radically redirected, leading him on a picaresque journey to New York.
Viking, Oct. 5 | Read our review | Read an excerpt
An author (also named Claire Vaye Watkins) leaves behind her husband and child for a book event in Nevada, where she re-encounters old friends, memories and, most important, desires.
Riverhead, Oct. 5
Liu has built an international following for his groundbreaking speculative trilogy, “The Three-Body Problem,” which leaps from Beijing to Inner Mongolia to a far-off planet. This collection, translated by Ken Liu, Elizabeth Hanlon, Zac Haluza, Adam Lanphier and Holger Nahm, promises to take us “to the edge of the universe and the end of time.” The title novella inspired a popular film adaptation.
Tor Books, Oct. 12
After four years of political turmoil and diminished American standing overseas, Ellen Adams joins a new presidential administration, headed by a former rival, as secretary of state. At the president’s first congressional address, a State Department employee receives a coded threat — and before long, a wave of terrorist attacks threaten to upend the global order.
Simon & Schuster/St. Martin’s Press, Oct. 12 | Read our review
The Connecticut suburbs are the backdrop for this new satire following three couples, anchored by an upscale school with a megalomaniacal headmistress. Before long, prepper impulses, wandering eyes and a cancer diagnosis emerge, and rattle each of the marriages. Welcome to the neighborhood!
Grove, Oct. 12 | Read our review
In 2002, as South Korea hosts the World Cup, a striking teenage girl is found dead. The country is transfixed, nicknaming the case the High School Beauty Murder. Years later, the case is still unsolved. The victim’s sister, Da-On, still obsessed with the murder, revisits some of its principal figures in unnerving, elliptical chapters. Kwon is a Korean author, and this is her first book translated into English.
Other Press, Oct. 12
The present-day romance between Fly, a musician, and Stela, a science teacher, in New York City is interspersed with tales of their ancestors’ past loves and losses, in the Virgin Islands, Ghana and the United States.
Riverhead, Oct. 19
Shteyngart, the author of “Super Sad True Love Story,” “Little Failure” and other books, offers readers what may be the first major pandemic novel. In March 2020, a group of friends gather in the country to weather the pandemic together. The ensemble includes the Levin-Senderovskys, a Russian American family; a fabulously wealthy Korean American app developer; and a movie star, whose presence threatens to upend it all.
Random House, Nov. 2
It’s 1930s Los Angeles, and Lou, a teenage girl, wakes up in an alleyway with no recollection of how she got there. She eventually becomes the first Black journalist for The Los Angeles Times but is unnerved by memories from the past and the future; before long she wonders if she’s a god with a specific purpose.
Counterpoint, Nov. 2
Whether you want biographies, novels or essay collections, we can help you find your next book to read. Here are 57 titles to get you started.