By Ron Charles, book reviewer for the Washington Post.
The fall book season is upon us, and because publishers delayed some releases last spring because of COVID, this fall will be one of the largest ever! Here are just a few of the great works of fiction coming up:
Later this month, Marilynne Robinson will publish "Jack" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux). It's the fourth volume in her Pulitzer Prize-winning series about two families from Gilead, Iowa.
This time, the focus is on Jack, the Prodigal Son who may finally have found a reason to live and stay sober: He's fallen in love. But can there be any future for a white man and a black woman in mid-20th century America?
"Jack" by Marilynne Robinson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), published September 29
Marilynne Robinson (Macmillan)
Phil Klay, a former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq, is about to publish his first novel. "Missionaries" (Penguin Press) is about the militarization of the drug war in Colombia – a bloody conflict that draws in U.S. and South American soldiers, mercenaries, journalists, and local people just trying to survive.
This is a story that promises to make the costs of endless war shockingly clear.
"Missionaries" by Phil Klay (Penguin Press), published October 6
Twenty-five years ago, Alice Hoffman published a bestselling gothic novel called "Practical Magic," about two sisters raised by modern-day witches.
Now, just in time for Halloween, comes "Magic Lessons" (Simon & Schuster), a prequel that takes us back to the beginnings of this bewitched family.
"Magic Lessons" by Alice Hoffman (Simon & Schuster), published October 6
Last year, President Obama said Bryan Washington's short story collection, "Lot," was one of his favorite books of 2019.
That's raised expectations high for Washington's first novel, "Memorial" (Riverhead). It's about Benson and Mike, a mixed-race gay couple living in Houston. Just as Mike flies to Japan to see his dying father, Mike's mother arrives from Japan, which means his partner has a long, awkward visit ahead.
"Memorial" by Bryan Washington (Riverhead), published October 27
Next month, at the age of 83, Don DeLillo will publish a novella called "The Silence" (Scibner), which sounds eerily relevant for a country grappling with civil unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.
It's set in New York a few years in the future. On Super Bowl Sunday, suddenly the lights go out, computers go dark. Who's ready for this disruptive calamity?
"The Silence" by Don DeLillo (Scribner), to be published October 20
Don DeLillo (Simon & Schuster)
In November, Danielle Evans will release her long-awaited second collection, "The Office of Historical Corrections" (Riverhead). Evans is a master at creating poignant moments of crisis that capture the complexity of race in America, and this new collection sounds like it was made for our era.
"The Office of Historical Corrections" by Danielle Evans (Riverhead Books), published November 10.
That's just a taste of the books I'm looking forward to this fall.
For more info:
- Ron Charles, The Washington Post
- Ron Charles' Totally Hip Video Book Review
- indiebound.org (for ordering from independent booksellers)
- Fall 2020 Preview: Adult Books (Publishers Weekly)
Story produced by Robin Sanders and Aria Shavelson.