Saying goodbye to summer — and with it, some of the hottest books of the season — is never easy. But the most anticipated books of the fall offer some comfort, returning to beloved stories and characters from years past.
This season, look forward to highly anticipated sequels to Margaret Atwood’s 1985 classic The Handmaid’s Tale, André Aciman’s Call Me By Your Name and Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner Olive Kitteridge. And there are plenty of brand new stories coming this fall, too, including revealing celebrity memoirs, newsworthy nonfiction and novels from Ta-Nehisi Coates, Salman Rushdie and more. Here, the 42 most anticipated books of fall 2019.
Dominicana, Angie Cruz (Sept. 3)
It’s 1965 when 15-year-old Ana Cancion becomes Ana Ruiz. In Angie Cruz’s coming-of-age novel, the teenager has just married a man twice her age and moved from her home in the Dominican Republic to a walk-up in Washington Heights. Navigating the intimidating chaos of New York City and a volatile arranged marriage, Ana is crippled with a sense of isolation and desperate to leave — until she’s persuaded by her husband’s kinder younger brother to give her new life a chance. But as political unrest rattles the Dominican Republic, Ana’s sense of self is upended yet again, and she’s forced to choose which version of her life she wants to live.
Quichotte, Salman Rushdie (Sept. 3)
The titular character of Man Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie’s 14th novel is a traveling salesman pining after a woman he’s only seen on the television screen. Quichotte, which is on the short list for the 2019 Man Booker Prize, follows the protagonist as he sets off across the country in pursuit of love. But wait, a twist reveals Quichotte is himself a fictive creation, a character written by spy novelist Sam DuChamp. As DuChamp wrestles with his own midlife crisis, Rushdie paints a larger portrait of American culture and plays in the space between fiction and reality.
The Testaments, Margaret Atwood (Sept. 10)
The last time readers saw Offred, a woman forced into reproductive slavery in the Republic of Gilead, she was being whisked away in a van, unsure of her fate. But in The Testaments, which picks up more than 15 years later, Margaret Atwood will finally reveal what happened to the iconic characters who were first introduced in her 1985 dystopia, The Handmaid’s Tale. The new book — the most anticipated of the season — is on the short list for the Booker, despite a strict embargo.
Ducks, Newburyport, Lucy Ellmann (Sept. 10)
Also short-listed for the 2019 Booker, Ducks, Newburyport follows the stream-of-consciousness internal monologue of an Ohio housewife who runs through thoughts on many subjects: Jane Fonda, Obamacare, her four children and more. Lucy Ellmann’s eighth novel — 1,000 pages long and primarily composed of run-on sentences — is an experimental narrative that probes the anxieties of life in contemporary America.
Talking to Strangers, Malcolm Gladwell (Sept. 10)
Malcolm Gladwell examines why interactions between strangers can sometimes yield catastrophic consequences. The author of five previous bestsellers examines high-profile news cases including the death of Sandra Bland and the murder trial of Amanda Knox to argue that the way we misperceive each other can have an outsized impact on the world around us.
The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11, Garrett M. Graff (Sept. 10)
Journalist and historian Garrett M. Graff presents readers with a harrowing account of the September 11 attacks, told through the voices of many who were personally affected. Graff weaves together the stories of airline workers, first responders, generals at the Pentagon and more to contextualize and seek to further understand the trauma, humanity and history of 9/11.
The Institute, Stephen King (Sept. 10)
Luke Ellis is a 12-year-old living in Minnesota when his parents are murdered and he is kidnapped. In horror-master Stephen King’s latest novel, Luke is taken to the Institute, a mysterious facility that houses children with powerful abilities like telepathy and telekinesis — all of whom arrived the same way he did. Although Luke is comforted by the presence of the other kids, he wants out. But no one has ever successfully escaped the Institute, where punishments are severe and the captive population keeps growing.
Frankly in Love, David Yoon (Sept. 10)
Frank Li’s parents want him to date a Korean girl, but he’s smitten with Brit, his white classmate. In David Yoon’s young adult debut, the Korean-American teen teams up with family friend Joy Song, who is dealing with a similar dilemma, to pretend to date each other in order to appease their parents. But when Frank begins to realize that this fake relationship might be something real, he finds himself facing grown-up questions about family and identity.
A Single Thread, Tracy Chevalier (Sept. 17)
More than a decade has passed since the Great War, but Violet Speedwell is still coming to terms with the deaths of her brother and fiancé. In the latest from the author of Girl With a Pearl Earring, Violet struggles with her status as an unmarried “surplus woman” and decides it’s time to move out of her mother’s home and start living more freely. When she relocates to Winchester, she meets a dynamic society of embroiderers and joins them in making kneelers for the town’s Cathedral. But when the threat of another war looms, Violet’s newfound independence is threatened.
Coventry: Essays, Rachel Cusk (Sept. 17)
With her acclaimed Outline trilogy, Rachel Cusk proved her expertise in offering sharp observations on life through a fictional narrator. Cusk translates that skill into nonfiction in her first collection of essays. The British novelist shares her voice on everything from motherhood and marriage to art in these pieces, which jump between memoir, criticism and writing about writing.