If you’re looking for some fictional relief from the ups and downs of the political season, New Yorker fiction editor Deborah Treisman has some fall reading to recommend:
Two of my picks came out earlier this summer: Colson Whitehead’s “The Underground Railroad” (Doubleday), a book whose surreal reimagining of the history of slavery manages to make it feel more real than ever; and C.E. Morgan’s “The Sport of Kings” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), a book of dazzling ambition and verve that takes on race and racehorse breeding in the South.
Just out is Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Here I Am” (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), the story of a marriage falling apart that’s both painfully funny and excruciatingly sad.
Zadie Smith’s spirited new novel, “Swing Time” (Penguin), which comes out in November, follows two girls who want to be dancers, and whose trajectories carry them in different directions, from the housing projects of London to the world of international pop stardom.
Also in November, you’ll see Michael Chabon’s “Moonglow” (HarperCollins), a work of “fictional nonfiction” that draws on Chabon’s grandfather’s deathbed confessions and the complicated intrigues of his own family history, to take you from the Second World War to the space race to a Florida retirement home and beyond.
Lastly, if you can wait until February, you have to read George Saunders’ first novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo” (Random House), a strange and strangely compelling tale about a group of dead souls, who are hovering in unresolved limbo in a Georgetown cemetery, when President Lincoln comes to visit the tomb of his newly-dead son. It’s a vivid, grotesque and beautiful look at the pettiness and generosity in all of us, living and dead.
So enjoy the distraction of these books, at a time when we need it most!