It’s been said that the best books come out in the fall. That time is just around the corner. September fiction has some heavy hitters. I have tried hard to narrow down my picks to ten. These are, in my opinion, the best novels out in September. Happy reading!
A novel that is out now is Amanda Coplin’s The Orchardist, “set in the untamed American West, a highly original and haunting debut novel about a makeshift family whose dramatic lives are shaped by violence, love, and an indelible connection to the land.” September 4 is the publication date for Ilie Ruby’s The Salt God’s Daughter.
“Set in Long Beach, California, beginning in the 1970s, The Salt God’s Daughter follows Ruthie and her older sister Dolly as they struggle for survival in a place governed by an enchanted ocean and exotic folklore. Guided by a mother ruled by magical, elaborately-told stories of the full moons, which she draws from The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the two girls are often homeless, often on their own, fiercely protective of each other, and unaware of how far they have drifted from traditional society as they carve a real life from their imagined stories.”
The incomparable Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth and On Beauty, has a new novel, NW, coming out September 4.
The northwest corner of a city. Here you’ll find guests and hosts, those with power and those without it, people who live somewhere special and others who live nowhere at all. And many people in between.
Every city is like this. Cheek-by-jowl living. Separate worlds.
And then there are the visitations: the rare times a stranger crosses a threshold without permission or warning, causing a disruption in the whole system. Like the April afternoon a woman came to Leah Hanwell’s door, seeking help, disturbing the peace, forcing Leah out of her isolation…
Zadie Smith’s brilliant tragi-comic new novel follows four Londoners – Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan – as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.
Depicting the modern urban zone – familiar to town-dwellers everywhere – Zadie Smith’s NW is a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself.”
Perhaps one of fall’s biggest books also comes out September 4. It is Lance Weller’s debut novel, Wilderness, a story that has been compared to Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain.
“In its contrasts of light and dark, wild and tame, brutal and tender, and its attempts to reconcile a horrific war with the great evil it ended, Wilderness not only tells the moving tale of an unforgettable character, but a story about who we are as human beings, a people, and a nation. Lance Weller’s immensely impressive debut immediately places him among our most talented writers.”
September 4 also marks the publication date for Lawrence Norfolk’s John Saturnall’s Feast.
“A beautiful, rich and sensuous historical novel, John Saturnall’s Feast tells the story of a young orphan who becomes a kitchen boy at a manor house, and rises through the ranks to become the greatest Cook of his generation. It is a story of food, star-crossed lovers, ancient myths and one boy’s rise from outcast to hero.”
Tatjana Soli’s second novel, The Forgetting Tree, will be released September 4. Soli’s bestselling debut novel, The Lotus Eaters, was a New York Times Notable Book, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for first fiction, and won the James Tait Black Prize.
“Now, with her new novel, The Forgetting Tree, Tatjana delivers a breathtaking story about a complicated California ranch family struggling to find peace in the aftermath of a tragedy. Haunting, triumphant, and profound, The Forgetting Tree proves that Tatjana Soli is an author readers will remember for a long time to come.”
“With profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a distant war on mothers and families at home, The Yellow Birds captures the almost unimaginable costs of war in language that is precise and truthful. It is destined to become a classic.”
The Malice of Fortune by Michael Ennis will be released September 11. “Behold, a tantalizing meeting of the minds: Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘science of observation’ and Niccolo Machiavelli’s ‘science of men.’ But is their brilliance enough to unmask an enigmatic serial killer? The answer lies within…and the secret history of The Prince is revealed at last.”
September 17 is the release date for The Vanishing Act by Mette Jakobsen.
Erin Morgenstern, author of The Night Circus, has praised Jakobsen’s novel: “The best stories change you. I am not the same after The Vanishing Act as I was before.” I trust Morgenstern implicitly, and her endorsement works for me.
T.C. Boyle’s new novel, San Miguel, comes out September 18. “On a tiny, desolate, windswept island off the coast of Southern California, two families, one in the 1880s and one in the 1930s, come to start new lives and pursue dreams of self-reliance and freedom. Their extraordinary stories, full of struggle and hope, are the subject of T.C. Boyle’s haunting new novel.”