Best New Fiction: September 2013


How did we end up here friends? The end of the Summer is almost upon us! Even though it’s going to start to get colder, it’s not all bad news, right? Football season will start soon and the kids are headed back to school. That means your husband will be out of your hair and your kids won’t be pestering you as much, so you should find more time to read, right? Unless, like me, your a guy, which means that reading anything other than Fantasy Football websites for the next four months is completely out of the question. SIGH. Either way, September promises to be a strong month, and I’ve hand-picked ten of what I feel are the strongest upcoming releases to highlight below.

Enjoy, and we’ll meet up again here when it gets closer a little to everyone’s favorite candy-filled holiday.

by Margaret Atwood

Could there be any better way to start off the month? Well, I suppose there could be, but from a literary standpoint, this is quite the event. On September 3rd Ms. Atwood will finish what she started in Oryx and Crake and continued in The Year of the Flood. Welcome back to the world ravaged by the Waterless Flood Pandemic. Maddaddam promises to pick up where the first two volumes intersect as Toby returns to narrate this third and final entry in the series. Haven’t read the first two books? Forgotten what happened? Don’t worry! Atwood kicks things off with a section entitled “The Story So Far” which will get you up to speed. Fans of all things post-apocalyptic don’t want to miss this one.

Release Date: September 3rd (United States)

Expo_58Expo 58
by Jonathan Coe

If somewhere out there in the world there exists a more well-rounded writer than Jonathan Coe, I’ve yet to encounter him. Whether he’s delivering a stunning biography (Like a Fiery Elephant) or a laugh out loud fictional tale (The Terrible Privacy of Maxwell Sim), Coe manages to consistently engage the reader in a way that very few can seldom manage. Expo 58 is set at the biggest World’s Fair of the 20th Century. In 1958, with the Cold War approaching its height, Thomas Foley is sent to Brussels, where he’s tasked with watching over The Brittania, a pub that serves as the centerpiece of Britain’s presence at the fair. It should be an easy assignment, but who thought it would be a smashing idea to place the American and Soviet pavilions right next to one another, and just why is Thomas being tailed two agents from the British Secret Service? Knowing Coe’s track record, the answers to these questions should be both hilarious and brilliant.

Release Date: September 5th (UK)

The_LowlandThe Lowland
by Jhumpa Lahiri

In case you couldn’t tell from all of my recent ramblings, I’ve got Booker fever.  Mostly that’s because of BookerMarks, the collaborative site that I’m a part of that has brought together 8 different bloggers to shadow the award.  Yes, I did just find yet another way to mention it. The Lowland finds former Pulitzer Prize winner (Interpreter of Maladies) Jhumpa Lahiri tackling the ties that bind by the way of a story involving a boy named Subhash and his close bond with his brother Udayan.  As the world changes rapidly around them, will the two manage to stick together, or will their personal beliefs and actions ultimately tear them apart forever?

Release Date: September 8th (UK) / September 24th (United States)

Nine_InchesNine Inches: Stories
by Tom Perrotta

Tom Perrotta (Little Children, The Leftovers, Senior Season) isn’t the first name that generally comes to mind when one thinks of short story writers, but the master of suburbia is quite accomplished in this regard. Two years ago, his excellent story The Smile on Happy Chang’s Face was chosen as the first ever Boston all-city read as part of the Boston Book Festival. Not easily convinced by my kind words alone? You can read the title story to this collection, Nine Inches, in all it’s glory by clicking here. What’s better than trying before you buy? Well, having the whole thing be free, yeah, but you know what I mean. Perrotta’s got a gift for peeking into seemingly ordinary lives and revealing the secrets they lay buried there. Be prepared for an amazing excavation.

Release Date: September 10th (United States)

by Paul Harding

What could I possibly say about the gorgeously devastating Pulitzer Prize winner Tinkers, that hasn’t already been written? Back in the day, listening to Cold Water Flat sing about magnetic north poles, I would have never guessed that their drummer would go on to become such an accomplished writer. With Enon, Harding returns to familiar territory, by exploring the life of Charlie Crosby, grandson of Tinkers George Crosby. Don’t expect cupcakes and rainbows. Harding has proved that he’s great at capturing the exquisite beauty of human suffering, and Enon promises to be no exception. How can a father possibly come to terms with death of a child without it destroying his life? I’m guessing that it won’t be easy.

Release Date: September 10th (United States)

More_Than_ThisMore Than This
by Patrick Ness

Think quick: what’s the last book that made you cry? For me, the answer is Patrick Ness’ Carnegie Medal winning young adult novel A Monster Calls. Back in April I told you about Ness’ new adult novel The Crane Wife. Now I’m just as happy to report that he’s set to return to the young adult genre in just a few short weeks with More Than This. A teen boy named Seth has drowned…or has he…he remembers dying…he remembers his head getting bashed against the rocks…yet here he is…alive and well in the town where he lived as a child. Is this the afterlife? Is he alone? As Seth begins his search for answers the only certainty is that truth is never quite as simple as it first appears to be.

Release Date: September 10th (United States)

The_FacadesThe Facades
by Eric Lundgren

Written by debut author Eric Lundgren, Critical Era’s official November selection is getting insanely positive reviews from every one I know that’s had a chance to read it, to the point where I’m kind of jealous that I haven’t had the chance to experience it for myself yet. Thankfully the wait will be over soon. In the city of Trude, an opera star has vanished, and when the police come up empty-handed, it’s left up to her husband Sven Norberg to unravel the mystery behind her disappearance. Navigating a landscape that’s populated by some of the most bizarre figures imaginable, Sven risks losing everything he still has, in order to discover what happened to the woman who’s already gone.

Release Date: September 12th (United States)

Me_We_ReapedMen We Reaped
by Jesmyn Ward

I’m totally cheating by including a memoir on a list that claims to be all about best new fiction, but hey, when you win the National Book Award for your debut novel Salvage the Bones, even if I disagreed with the victory, you earn my respect. In Men We Reaped, Ward recounts the 5 painful years in her life in which she lost 5 men to suicide, drugs, and accidents. She stopped to ask herself one simple question: Why? And the answer she arrived at changed everything. This is their story, but this is her story as well. The question now is: Will telling it change anything for the better?

Release Date: September 17th (United States)

The_Salinger_ContractThe Salinger Contract
by Adam Langer

Adam Langer (The Thieves of Manhattan) is an author that I’ve been dying to read something by forever, but I’ve never found the time.  Based on the premise, The Salinger Contract should change that. Inserting himself into the story, Langer’s novel finds a fictional version of Langer playing the part of a writer and stay-at-home dad who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a best-selling author named Connor Joyce.  It turns out that Joyce is having a bit of trouble writing his next book, but when a stranger appears out of the blue with an offer that’s too good to refuse, things take a sharp turn for the uncontrollably weird, and both Langer and Joyce find themselves in over their literary heads.

Release Date: September 17th (United States)

Doctor_SleepDoctor Sleep
by Stephen King

If Margaret Atwood’s new one is the best possible way to start the month, then surely the arrival of Stephen King’s long overdue sequel to The Shining is the perfect way to end it? I have to admit that I was mostly disappointed in Joyland.  Not so much in King himself, but rather in the way the book was marketed as a throwback to Summer paperbacks and then was sold in multiple, expensive, limited edition formats. Do I need to say more about this one though?  Do I need to actually describe this beyond the fact that it’s a sequel to The Shining?  Fine.  I’ll use only two words: Dan Torrance.

Release Date: September 24th (United States)

Do any of my picks look interesting to you? Which titles are you most looking forward to reading in September?

About Aaron Westerman

Aaron Westerman is the Manager of Web Architecture for a national human services organization. When he's not busy tearing sites apart and rebuilding them, he spends his ever shrinking free time trying to keep up with his twins, reading works of translated literature, and watching far too many Oscar nominated movies.

  • dil

    I’ll definitely read “Enon” and “Expo 58”. Looking forward to their release.

    • Typographical Era

      Coe is one of my favorites so I’m really looking forward to Expo 58 as well!