By Randy Kraft
Fall used to be the season for non-fiction. As if we all go back to school, biography, history, politics and science were the rage, also excellent holiday gifts. In recent years, fall has become a haven for fiction too, as busy parents catch up on good books after hectic summers and reading groups reconvene. The 2017 fall line-up features a plethora of excellent novelists.
Celeste Ng, celebrated for her fabulous first novel, Everything I Never Told You, releases Little Fires Everywhere, a lovely work that digs into the heart of family relationships and cultural conflicts. Alice McDermott’s The Ninth Hour revisits immigrant Brooklyn, drilling delicately into the spiritual life of an Irish-American widow and child, a girl destined by circumstance, not choice, to be a nun. Pulitzer-prize winning Jennifer Egan publishes Manhattan Beach [October] her first historical novel, about a young woman who becomes a diver in the WWII Brooklyn shipyards, as she seeks to unravel the mystery of her father’s disappearance. The great Claire Messud has penned a lovely coming-of-age novel entitled Burning Girl, which is frankly not as profound or even as rich as previous works, but superlative writing.
After nine years, Salmon Rushdie has just published The Golden House, which has received mixed reviews. If you’re a fan of previous work, take note that this novel is said to be written in a different style, more realistic, although one story line revolves around a comic book villain who runs for President. What you might call not so magical realism.
Nicole Krauss, who has also taken a long hiatus, and the author of the award-winning, must-read, History of Love, releases Forest Dark, recommended by the one and only Philip Roth! A story of the collision of an older lawyer and young novelist in the Israeli desert. Nathan Englander, best-selling author of For the Relief of Unbearable Urges, also sets his new novel, a political thriller, Dinner at the Center of the Earth, in Israel.
A few good mysteries to add to your pile: John Le Carre returns 25 years later with Legacy of Spies, a prequel to the beloved Smiley, the hero of the revered Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Local writer Kaira Rouda [yes, wife of congressional candidate Harley Rouda] releases her first domestic thriller, Best Day Ever, a page-turner that will have you at the edge of your seat. And former city councilmember and mayor, Paul Freeman, publishes the first of a trilogy of mysteries featuring an enigmatic GO-playing detective: Stop. Go. Murder. This story tracks a maze of suspects from Virginia, Freeman’s home state, to DC and Florida, with plenty of twists and turns on the road. Rouda will read at Laguna Beach Books September 17 and Freeman October 8.
Check www.lagunabeachbooks.com for event info. More to come.