The Girl Who Lived Twice
The saga of Lisbeth Salander continues in The Girl Who Lived Twice, the latest installment of David Lagercrantz’s continuation of Stieg Larsson’s Millennium novels. The book finds Salander teaming up with longtime ally Mikael Blomkvist to uncover the truth behind a mysterious death in Stockholm. Complicating things is the dead man’s absence from various governmental records, suggesting there’s far more going on here than meets the eye.
Margaret Atwood’s novel The Handmaid’s Tale has captivated readers for decades, and the acclaimed television adaptation of it has only increased its cultural weight. Now, Atwood has returned to the terrifying theocratic society of her earlier novel with a sequel, set 15 years later and told by a trio of narrators. Given that it already has a place on this year’s Booker Prize longlist, expectations are mightily high for this one.
Year of the Monkey
Patti Smith returns to her evocative descriptions of life, art, and memory in her new book, Year of the Monkey. Rather than the New York City landscapes she’s described in her earlier books, Smith opts for a dreamlike expansiveness here. This book explores Smith’s life in 21st-century America and journeys across the country, including memorable stops in Kentucky and California.
Red at the Bone
Jacqueline Woodson evocatively describes life in modern America in her work. Whether she’s writing for adults or younger readers, she’s won abundant acclaim for her prose, including some of the literary world’s highest honors. With her new novel Red at the Bone, Woodson tells the story of the disparate people who make up one family, and the way that generations can inform and overlap with one another.
Night Boat to Tangier
Kevin Barry’s fiction abounds with some of the most memorable characters you’re likely to encounter, from futuristic Irish gangsters to a version of John Lennon haunted by his own past. In his latest novel, Barry examines the fraught friendship between two criminals entering their golden years and facing an ambiguous future.
The Nobody People
The novels of Bob Proehl sparkle with imaginative ruminations on contemporary society and forays into the uncanny. His previous novel, A Hundred Thousand Worlds, explored the legacy of science fiction within pop culture; with The Nobody People, he’s made a leap into the more overtly speculative. Here, Proehl tells the story of a secret society of people with unique paranormal abilities, banding together and facing down horrifying adversity.
The Giver of Stars
The latest novel from Jojo Moyes takes a foray into the bygone days of the 20th century. This book focuses on a trio of women living in Great Depression-era Kentucky who take part in a unique library system: one in which the deliveries are made on horseback. Moyes drew on inspiration from true events for this novel, telling a compelling human story against a sweeping historical backdrop.
With her new novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Elizabeth Strout returns to the milieu of her acclaimed novel Olive Kitteridge. Olive, Again continues the story of the title character amidst her life in a small town in Maine, delving into both her experiences as well as the lives of many of the residents of the region around her. The result is a moving, humanistic take on life and change.
Lee Child’s latest novel starring his recurring hero Jack Reacher opens with an act of goodwill, which sets in motion a tense collision between rival gangs. Reacher endeavors to help an aging couple who’ve found themselves in over their heads; this act earns him the enmity of two violent groups, each with their own designs on him—all of which makes for a tense, gripping read.
Rico, the teenage protagonist of Nic Stone’s new novel, grapples with questions of class as she searches for the person who purchased a winning lottery ticket from the gas station where she works. Jackpot utilizes a classic structure—an oddly-matched pair investigating a mystery—even as it poses deeply relevant questions about economic inequality along the way.
In Madeleine Roux’s futuristic thriller, a young woman working a salvage job on a spacecraft finds herself trapped on a vessel whose crew has been infected by a bizarre alien organism. Her mission turns out to have consequences that may impact all of humanity, leaving both her and the ship’s captain—himself struggling with the alien infection—with a harrowing decision to make.
Edmund Morris’s expansive biographies have told the life stories of historical figures like Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. His latest biography takes on another sprawling, contentious life: that of inventor Thomas Edison. Over the course of 800 pages, Morris explores the scope of Edison’s life and work, including his advances in the world of recording technology.
Paul McCartney and Kathryn Durst
Paul McCartney is a beloved musician and an acclaimed poet; now, in collaboration with illustrator Kathryn Durst, McCartney’s also the author of a charming book for young readers. As the title suggests, it’s about the bonds between grandparents and grandchildren, told via a globetrotting adventure story.
The Water Dancer
Ta-Nehisi Coates is best known for his incisive works of nonfiction, including the award-winning memoir Between the World and Me. With his first novel, Coates demonstrates a different side of his writing skills: The Water Dancer is set against a backdrop of slavery in the United States, and focuses on a young man separated from his family but gifted with uncanny abilities. It’s a voyage into the past like no other.
Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen
Dexter Palmer reinvents himself with each new novel. His previous book, Version Control, was a heady story of time travel and grief, set in a near-future New Jersey. With Mary Toft; or, The Rabbit Queen, he journeys to 18th-century England, where a woman has developed the strange condition of giving birth to dead rabbits. The surreal narrative that follows reveals Palmer’s skill at evoking changing landscapes, ethical dilemmas, and the mysteries that surround humanity.
In a series of haunting novels, Marie NDiaye has memorably summoned moods of alienation, both familial and societal, onto the page—and told gripping stories along the way. In her new novel, she explores questions of creative greatness and the legacies that geniuses can leave behind—all in the process of telling the life story of a renowned female chef in France.
It might be difficult to comprehend as thermometers reach their peak and humidity infuses the air, but fall is just around the corner. The days will get shorter, leaves will turn, and a chill breeze will filter through the evening air. As the nights grow longer and the need for cozier spaces grows, your reading time may well increase.
Thus: this list, featuring a wide-ranging array of books out this fall to whet many a literary appetite. Some offer thrills or insights into everyday life, while others offer windows into the past or gripping psychological portraits of fictional characters who feel as real as our oldest friends. Some of these books return to previously visited fictional settings, while others chart whole new territory.
Featured Image: @Pinningnarwhals/Twenty20