SEPT. 5

Wednesday’s Child
By Yiyun Li
FSG: 256 pages, $27

From the award-winning author of “The Book of Goose” comes a collection of short fiction with unexpected power, though its economy is no surprise: Li’s elegant prose gives no quarter to the superfluous. We meet a woman helping to deliver a baby on a train to Brussels, a heartsick divorcée visiting China and several others on unusual missions, all achingly real and needy and yet mysterious in the ways we humans always are to each other. (BP)

The Fraud
By Zadie Smith
Penguin: 464 pages, $29

Smith’s first historical novel, set in 19th-century London, focuses on the real-life “Tichborne Trial,” during which an Australian butcher claimed to be heir to an English estate. The author, never afraid to display — or debate — her influences, gives Charles Dickens a cameo even as she demonstrates how many people at the margins were ignored in the works of literature we regard as classic. (BP)

SEPT. 12

Gangsters Don’t Die
By Tod Goldberg
Counterpoint: 384 pages, $28

The final book of Goldberg’s trilogy finds David Cohen, a Chicago gangster masquerading as a Las Vegas rabbi, contemplating the imminent collapse of his empire. As ever, Goldberg is adept at writing about mob hits, explosions, corpses and other cases of criminal bad news with a smirking, noirish tone. But he writes with sensitivity too, from painterly depictions of the Palm Desert and Salton Sea to riffs on the Talmud that suggest Cohen’s faith isn’t entirely a put-on. (MA)

How I Won a Nobel Prize
By Julius Taranto
Little, Brown: 304 pages, $27

Taranto’s sharp debut is set at the Rubin Institute, an East Coast think tank that’s one part MIT, two parts Elon Musk’s Twitter feed: Its faculty of cancelees crows about finding a safe haven from woke culture. Helen, the narrator, is a brilliant scientist who’s grudgingly followed her advisor there, generating all manner of crises for her marriage, research and sense of ethics. It’s a fine launchpad for a satire of the culture wars. (MA)

SEPT. 19

The Wolves of Eternity
By Karl Ove Knausgaard, translated by Martin Aitken
Penguin: 800 pages, $35

In his second epic novel since his autobiographical blockbuster, “My Struggle,” Knausgaard tells the story of two long-lost half-siblings, one a Norwegian man stumbling into adulthood in the ’80s and the other an accomplished biologist in present-day Russia. The nature and possibility of immortality is a recurring theme, and digressions abound — communicating trees, broken families, Chernobyl, death, etc. But by sticking close to his characters, Knausgaard addresses those heady topics with an easy-going grace. (MA)

The cover of "Land of Milk and Honey," featuring an abstract illustration of multiple colors reflecting land and water.

Beyond the Door of No Return
By David Diop, translated by Sam Taylor
FSG: 256 pages, $27

The French author’s follow-up to 2021’s “At Night All Blood Is Black,” which won the International Booker Prize, is set in 18th-century colonial Senegal and Paris. French botanist Michel Adanson records his journey to Senegal to gather specimens, also documenting his obsession with a young woman born into royalty who returned from the sea after being kidnapped into slavery. In poetic prose, Diop explores fantastical fables and the brutal history of French imperialism. (LB)

SEPT. 26

Land of Milk and Honey
By C Pam Zhang
Riverhead: 240 pages, $28

Earth’s living resources have all but died out, so when a 29-year-old American chef, exiled in London, gets the chance to hole up in an Italian mountain filled with vanished flora and fauna (from semolina flour to strawberries), she can’t resist. Of course, what she finds there is not just thrilling but also deeply chilling. The questions she asks herself will soon be on all our lips. (BP)

OCT. 3

The Maniac
By Benjamin Labatut
Penguin: 368 pages, $28

Labatut’s 2021 debut, “When We Cease to Understand the World,” was a surprise critical and commercial success; who knew so many readers would be game for melancholy fictional studies of quantum scientists? This time, Labatut explores the genius and pathos of the likes of John von Neumann, a polymath who worked on the Manhattan Project, and the creators of an AI bot that in 2016 bested the world champion of the board game Go. Intellectual nightmare fuel for those who fear the machines coming for us all. (MA)

The cover of "Family Meal" by Bryan Washington, featuring two forks intertwining.

OCT. 10

Family Meal
By Bryan Washington
Riverhead: 320 pages, $28

In this sequel of sorts to 2020’s “Memorial,” Cam returns from Los Angeles to Houston after the death of his partner, Kai; he runs into his estranged longtime friend TJ, and they consider a new relationship. But Kai’s ghost keeps visiting Cam, who wonders if he even knows how to love in any way after such a loss. Full of hauntings and other returns, “Family Meal” closes the circle between loved ones beautifully, and draws it wide. (BP)

OCT. 17

Vengeance Is Mine
By Marie Ndiaye, translated by Jordan Stump
Knopf: 240 pages, $28

Maître Susane, an attorney in Bordeaux, finds her uneventful life disturbed after a man named Gilles Principaux asks her to defend his wife against charges of a horrendous crime. M. Susane begins to break down over recovered memories of Principaux, shown through her strained relationship with her Mauritian housekeeper, Sharon. As Ndiaye has done before (in “The Cheffe,” for example), she sets a slow burn going and watches it almost disinterestedly until a final explosion that demonstrates the long aftereffects of childhood damage. (BP)

Tremor
By Teju Cole
Random House: 256 pages, $28

No other writer walks a high-wire act the way Cole does. His 2011 novel, “Open City,” made many readers hungry for his next, and “Tremor” is worth the wait. Once again, ephemeral discoveries (in this case, a young professor’s find of a Nigerian chi wara mask in an antiques store) lead to gorgeous fractals of thought on culture, race and history, revealing inner currents of anger, memory and hope. (BP)

OCT. 24

The cover of "Let Us Descend" by Jesmyn Ward features a multicolored illustration of a bee.

Let Us Descend
By Jesmyn Ward
Scribner: 320 pages, $28

Two-time National Book Award-winner Jesmyn Ward (the first woman and the first Black American to achieve that feat) follows her fierce and tender novel “Sing, Unburied, Sing” with a historical narrative about survival, iron will and spiritual rebirth. Taking its title from Dante’s “Inferno,” the story follows Annis through the hell of enslavement and the saving grace of ancestral memories. (BP)

OCT. 31

Absolution
By Alice McDermott
FSG: 336 pages, $28

Across her four-decade career, McDermott has specialized in well-mannered people thrust into tight ethical spots. Here, that’s Tricia, the wife of an attorney stationed in Vietnam in 1963 as the war there intensifies. McDermott’s writing is often called “gemlike,” but that speaks to pressure as much as prettiness, as Tricia navigates war, marital strife and the increasing oppressiveness of the crowd of military wives that surrounds her. (MA)

DEC. 5

Songs on Endless Repeat: Essays and Outtakes
By Anthony Veasna So
Ecco: 240 pages, $28.99

Before his death in 2020 at 28, Cambodian American writer So was poised for greatness on a number of fronts: He was an irreverent writer about immigrant enclaves, queer life and the Bay Area’s nether reaches. This book, the follow-up to his posthumous story collection, “Afterparties,” collects excerpts from his unfinished novel, “Straight Thru Cambotown,” and a clutch of essays on “Queer Eye,” “Crazy Rich Asians” and more that demonstrate he was also a stellar cultural critic in the making. (MA)

Orbital
By Samantha Harvey
Atlantic Monthly Press: 193 pages, $24

Harvey’s last novel, “The Western Wind,” was an ingenious murder mystery set in the 15th century. In “Orbital,” she zips ahead to a very near future in which six people from different countries work together on a space station. Their otherworldly environs only serve to heighten their essential and shared humanity as they contemplate six days’ worth of trips around the earth. (BP)

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