Fall is a grand time for fiction, with something for everyone: plenty of suspense and thrillers, literary fiction, short stories, historical fiction, sci-fi, and comedy.
The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict
For those who enjoyed The Paris Wife comes a new novel of a half-famous marriage: “The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight….Theirs becomes a partnership of the mind and of the heart, but there might not be room for more than one genius in a marriage” (from the publisher’s summary).
The Mothers by Brit Bennett
Secrets and decisions among a trio of teenagers in a Black community in Southern California have lifelong ramifications. A Greek chorus of church women – the “Mothers” – help narrate this “unflinching…deeply affecting” story, haunted by the question “What if?”
The Guineveres, Sarah Domet
Four teenage girls, each named Guinevere, are abandoned at a convent within a two-year span. They devise an escape plan, which fails, and as penance are assigned to care for wounded soldiers; they hope the soldiers will be their new ticket out. Many reviewers compared this “phenomenal, character-driven” story to Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides.
The Trespasser by Tana French
This is the sixth Dublin Murder Squad novel, and it features Detective Antoinette Conway, who readers will remember from The Secret Place (2014). French reliably produces “tightly plotted, character-driven crime fiction,” and though some feel this novel slows down in the middle, the conclusion is satisfying.
News of the World by Paulette Jiles
A LibraryReads favorite for October and National Book Award finalist, News of the World is the story of a septuagenarian veteran who travels throughout North Texas after the Civil War reading newspapers aloud to crowds of people. In one town, he is hired to transport a ten-year-old girl who has been living with the Kiowa Indians back to her relatives, though she does not remember them – or, in fact, much of the English language. Jiles’ language, on the other hand, is lyrical in this “riveting drama” (Publishers Weekly).
The Lost Boy, Camilla Lackberg
Scandinavian crime fiction in the same vein as Stieg Larsson and Karin Fossum, this “multilayered thriller” featuring detective Patrik Hedstrom and his wife Erica explores the question: Is there anything a mother wouldn’t do to protect her only child?
Mister Monkey by Francine Prose
In her 18th novel, about an off-off-Broadway production of a musical based on a children’s book called Mister Monkey, “Prose is at her consummate, canny best in this superbly incisive comedy of errors, a cleverly choreographed relay in which each character subtly passes the narrating baton on to the next” (Booklist).
Today Will Be Different by Maria Semple
Everyone has those “one thing after another” days, but when Maria Semple’s (Where’d You Go, Bernadette?) protagonists have them, it’s much funnier than when it happens to you. Get in line to spend a day in the life of Eleanor Flood.
Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith
A collection of “thoughtful, sensitive, imaginative, and acidly funny short stories about characters besotted by language and books” (Booklist) from Man Booker Prize finalist Ali Smith is a must-read for readers, writers, and fans of libraries everywhere. Conversations and interviews with other writers are interspersed between the stories.
Crosstalk by Connie Willis
Romantic comedy meets social satire meets science fiction: Briddey Flannigan and her new fiance undergo an operation to increase their communication and empathy, deepening the link between them – but something goes haywire. Both entertaining and thought provoking. Think Dave Eggers’ The Circle meets the movie Timer.
For more suggestions, check out the October LibraryReads and our very own Book Recommendations page. And in case you missed it, here’s the September edition of Brand New Books. What will YOU read this month?