Fall/Winter BEA Book Buzz Preview: Fiction

As usual, our free Buzz Books samplers both open with Sarah Weinman's broader surveys of over 100 notable books from the forthcoming season. We'll be running portions of those overviews the next few days to help round out your BEA radar -- and you Buzz14can read the complete previews anytime in the new editions of Buzz Books. Download yours now from any major ebookstore -- including Kindle, iBookstore, or Nook -- or get the "trade edition" here as an EPUB or through NetGalley or Edelweiss. With thousands of downloads already, it's the "big book" of BEA, letting you grab 30 galley excerpts all at once. In our final installment of previews from the Buzz Books intro, we look at forthcoming literary and commercial fiction.

Literary Fiction

In this edition of Buzz Books, we’re featuring excerpts from such major literary forces as Michel Faber’s The Book of  Strange New Things (Hogarth, October); Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings (Riverhead, October);  and German author Daniel Kehlmann’s F (Pantheon, January).

Anticipation is running high for David Mitchell’s The Bone Clocks (Random House, September), a future-set novel spanning 60 years reminiscent of his 2004 breakout Cloud Atlas, as well as The Paying Guests (Riverhead, September), the latest historical fiction from Sarah Waters; Marilynne Robinson’s Lila (FSG, September), her first novel since Home, revisiting the same world from the wife’s perspective; and Laughing Monsters (FSG, November), Denis Johnson’s first full-length novel since the National Book Award-winning  Tree of Smoke. Richard Ford revisits his alter-ego Frank Bascombe in Let Me Be Frank with You (Ecco,  November) while Stewart O’Nan’s West of Sunset (Viking, January) looks to bring this underrated writer  the attention he deserves.

Margaret Atwood offers her first short story collection in many years with Stone Mattress (Nan Talese/Doubleday, November), while Alice Munro’s Family Furnishings: Selected Stories 1995-2014 (Knopf, November) offers a compendium of what the Nobel winner has been up to for the past 20 years. Hilary Mantel takes a break from Thomas Cromwell and her double-Booker-winning historical trilogy for contemporary short stories, collected in The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher & Other Stories (Holt, September) and recent MacArthur ‘genius’ Donald Antrim moves back to short stories with The Emerald Light in the Air  (FSG, September).

We also expect to see a lot of review attention devoted to Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven (Knopf, September), already garnering significant hosannas, as well as being a BEA Editor’s Buzz pick; David Bezmogzis' The Betrayers (Little, Brown, September); James Ellroy's Perfidia (Knopf, September), the start of a new LA noir quartet set during World War II; Christos Tsiolkas' already UK-acclaimed Barracuda (Hogarth, September); Miriam Toews' All My Puny Sorrows (McSweeney’s, November) and Martin Amis's The Zone of Interest (Knopf, September 30).

There are even more emerging voices and potential breakouts to keep an eye on. Laird Hunt presents the story of a young woman’s bid to take part in the Civil War in Neverhome (Little, Brown, September); Giller-longlisted Elisabeth de Mariaffi turns the clock back to 1980s Toronto with The Devil You Know (Touchstone, January); Brian Morton looks at a woman in her seventies determined to keep living life on her terms with Florence Gordon (HMH, September) and Dylan Landis offers an edgy contemporary tale with Rainey Royal  (Soho, September).

Debut Fiction

The fall season is nowhere near as plentiful with debut works as was the spring and summer. That said, there are still a number of new voices whom publishers – and readers -- hope to hear from again and again for long careers. Naturally, our sampler is full of excerpts from first novels, like Matthew Thomas’s sweeping Queens-set saga We Are Not Ourselves (S&S, September) and Katy Simpson Smith's The Story of Land and Sea (Harper, September), both garnering significant advance attention (and not just for their sizable advances); Judy Chicurel’s 1970s-set novel-in-stories If I Knew You Were This Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let You Go (Amy Einhorn, November); Nayomi Meenaweera’s Island of A Thousand Mirrors (St. Martin's, September), already garnering raves after publication in India last year; Audrey Magee’s Baileys Women’s Prize-shortlisted The Undertaking (Grove Press, September); and The Miniaturist (Ecco, September) a Victorian-set thriller by Jessie Burton.

In other debuts to watch out for, 5 Under 35 selection Merritt Tierce is already attracting considerable buzz for Love Me Back (Doubleday, September), about a single mother’s self-destructive path. Mountain Goats singer-songwriter John Darnielle also moves into novel territo- ry for the first time with Wolf in White Van (FSG, October), an adventure involving literary-minded young men. Vanessa Manko arrives with fanfare with The Invention of Exile (Penguin Press, August) while Alix Christie goes back in time to the dawn of the printing press with Gutenberg’s Apprentice (Harper, September). Folio Prize and Baileys Women’s Prize-nominated debut A Girl is a Half Formed Thing (Coffee House, September) by Elmear McBride will finally land in America, while John Vaillant, noted for his adventurous nonfiction, publishes his first novel The Jaguar’s Children (HMH, February) and S.M. Hulse provides her own spin on the outsider returning to his hometown with Black River (HMH, January.) Finally, filmmaker Miranda July enters the novel terrain with The First Bad Man (Scribner, January).

Commercial Fiction

This is the time for perennial bestsellers – whether they write books annually or show up less frequently - to take their rightful place on the bestseller lists. We expect nothing less from Jan Karon, whose Somewhere Safe With Somebody Good (Viking, September) is her return to Mitford after nine years away; Tana French's newest Dublin thriller The Secret Place (Viking, September, and in this Buzz Books); Jodi Picoult’s Leaving Time (Ballantine, October) her first for her new publisher; Lee Child’s latest Reacher thriller Personal (Delacorte, November); John Grisham’s untitled legal thriller (Doubleday, October); film director David Cronenberg’s first foray into writing novels with the horror-tinged Consumed (Scribner, September); Phillipa Gregory’s trilogy closer The King’s Curse (Touchstone, September) and, in our sampler, Lev Grossman’s capper to his fantasy trilogy, The Magician’s Land (Viking, August); Anne Rice’s return to her iconic vampire character with Prince Lestat (Knopf, October) and Stephen King’s supernatural tale of addiction, Revival (Scribner, September), among many others.

Women's fiction and romance prove to be strong sellers in any season, and this fall good bets emerge from the likes of Caitlin Moran’s How to Build a Girl (Harper, October), the first novel for adults from the noted UK columnist and feminist; Eloisa James tantalizes with Four Nights with a Duke (Avon, December), while Abbi Glines remains firmly on New Adult ground with You Were Mine (Gallery, December). Sarah Maclean continues her Rule of Scoundrels series with Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover (Avon, November) and J.R. Ward keeps up her Fallen Angels series with Immortal (NAL, October).

In mysteries and thrillers, Michael Connelly returns to his series detective Harry Bosch in The Burning Room (Little, Brown, November) while Jonathan Kellerman teams up with son (and fellow author) Jesse on The Golem of Hollywood (Putnam, October). Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley doorstoppers continue with Just One Evil Act (Dutton, October) while Sophie Hannah’s still-untitled turn at a Hercule Poirot novel (Morrow, September), blessed by the estate of Agatha Christie, will attract notable attention. Louise Penny will storm the bestseller list anew with her latest Inspector Gamache chronicle The Long Way Home (Minotaur, August), and James Grippando hopes to break out even further with Cane and Abe (Harper, September). Finally, Patricia Cornwell moves Kay Scarpetta to a new publisher with Flesh and Blood (William Morrow, November).

Looking at newer crime genre voices, Bill Loehfelm examines the underbelly of New Orleans with Doing the Devil’s Work (Sarah Crichton, January) while Andrew Grant moves publishers for a new series of thrillers beginning with Run (Ballantine, October). Helen Giltrow’s debut The Distance (Doubleday, September) is already making a splash, while Becky Masterman’s long-awaited sequel to award-nominated Rage Against the Dying arrives in the form of Fear the Darkness (Minotaur, February). And in Buzz Books, Kim Zupan moves definitely into Cormac McCarthy territory with The Ploughmen (Holt, October).

For more otherworldy fare, Lauren Oliver moves into adult fiction for the first time with Rooms (Ecco, September), while Lauren Beukes offers another propulsive fantastical thriller with Broken Monsters (Mulholland, October), the first in a new series. One of the genre’s oc- togenarian masters, Gene Wolfe, is back with a new novel, The Land Across (Tor, November), and William Gibson finally seems to be writing our actual present with The Peripheral (Putnam, October). Mira Grant continues her parisitology series with Symbiont (Orbit, November) and Pierce Brown keeps his Red Rising Trilogy going with Golden Son (Del Rey, January).