Books·Fall Book Preview

26 works of fiction from around the world to watch for in fall 2018

What major international fiction releases are coming this fall? Check them out!

Here are 26 works of fiction from around the world coming out in the second half of 2018 that we can't wait to read.

This Mournable Body by Tsitsi Dangarembga 

Tsitsi Dangarembga looks at the obstacles facing women in Zimbabwe in This Mournable Body, a continuation of her acclaimed first novel, Nervous Conditions. (Mateusz Zaboklicki/Graywolf Press)

What it's about: This Mournable Body is the story of a young woman and her country. Tambudzai struggles to maintain hope after a series of failures and humiliations have put her future in jeopardy. She decides to leave her life in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe, and take an ecotourism job in her hometown. In returning to her parents' impoverished home, Tambudzai is met with an act of betrayal. 

When you can read it: Aug. 7, 2018

Flights by Olga Tokarczuk

Olga Tokarczuk is a Polish writer. Her novel Flights won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize. (K. Dubiel/Penguin Random House)

What it's about: A novel told in fragments, Flights is a series of imaginative stories such as one about a Dutch anatomist​ who dissects his amputated leg and a Polish woman who returns home to poison her childhood sweetheart. The book is tied together by a single narrator and the themes of home, travel and the human body. Flights won the 2018 Man Booker International Prize.

When you can read it: Aug. 14, 2018

A River of Stars by Vanessa Hua

A River of Stars is the debut novel of Vanessa Hua. (Andria Lo/Ballantine Books)

What it's about: Scarlett Chen has been on her own since she was a teenager, staying afloat with factory work and constantly reinventing her own history. After an affair with her married boss, Scarlett becomes pregnant and is sent to a maternity centre in the U.S. to have the child in secret. When she is betrayed, Scarlett flees with the baby and ends up hiding out with another runaway in San Francisco's Chinese village.

When you can read it: Aug. 14, 2018

Summer by Karl Ove Knausgaard​

Summer is the final book in the "humane quartet" by Karl Ove Knausgaard. (Sam Barker/Knopf Canada)

What it's about: Summer completes Karl Ove Knausgaard's The Seasons Quartet, a four-volume series that takes the form of a letter to his daughter. Part meditation on everyday objects and experiences, part revelation about his own life, the series bears Knausgaard's trademark candour, preoccupation with family and engagement with the world.

When you can read it: Aug. 21, 2018

Pretty Things by Virginie Despente

Pretty Things is a novel by French author and filmmaker Virginie Despentes. (L. Careme/The Feminist Press at CUNY)

What it's about: Pauline is plain, but has the voice of an angel. Her sister Claudine is beautiful and wants to be famous. Pauline is convinced by her sister to pretend they're the same person and start a singing career, but as the plan takes off, Claudine dies by suicide. Pauline decides to carry the plan out and slowly comes to understand the burden of her sister's beauty.

When you can read it: Aug. 24, 2018

Housegirl by Michael Donkor

Housegirl is Michael Donkor's first novel. (David Yiu/Picador)

What it's about: Two cultures clash as the lives of three young women come together in Michael Donkor's debut novel. Housegirl follows Belinda, a 17-year-old servant to an elderly couple, as she is sent from Ghana to London to work for a different family who hopes she will be a positive influence on their own teenage daughter, Amma. Belinda must leave behind Mary, an 11-year-old who was training to be a servant alongside Belinda in Ghana.

When you can read it: Aug. 28, 2018

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart​

Gary Shteyngart is the author of the novel Lake Success. (Brigitte Lacombe/Penguin Random House )

What it's about: When the three-year-old son of hedge fund manager Barry (who is involved in an SEC investigation) and his wife Seema is diagnosed with autism, Barry decides to climb a Greyhound and seek out a simpler life with his college girlfriend. The departure sends both Barry and Seema's life into chaos as they grapple with what it means to be among the richest people in the world. Lake Success promises to be a pointed examination of contemporary America. 

When you can read it: Sept. 4, 2018

Us Against You by Fredrik Backman​

Us Against You is a novel by Fredrik Backman​. (Linnéa Jonasson Bernholm/Appendix fotografi/Simon & Schuster)

What it's about: Beartown's beloved junior hockey team is being cancelled and players face the prospect of playing for their rival in Hed. When an unlikely hero is brought in from the outside to save the team, tensions rise between Beartown and Hed in anticipation of the big tournament. Hostilities culminate in the death of a Beartown resident, leaving the community shaken.

When you can read it: Sept. 4, 2018

Ponti by Sharlene Teo​

Ponti is Singaporean writer Sharlene Teo's first novel. (Amaal Said/Simon and Schuster)

What it's about: This atmospheric novel takes place in modern-day Singapore, following a young, friendless woman named Szu. She lives in the shadow of her mother Amisa, a once-famous actress who makes her living as a medium. Szu ends up befriending a privileged, sharp-tongued woman named Circe, but their relationship is fraught and leaves an unwelcome mark on both women.

When you can read it: Sept. 4, 2018

CoDex 1962 by Sjón

Codex 1962 is a three-part story by Icelandic poet and novelist Sjón. (Rain Coast)

What it's about: A love story, a murder mystery and a sci-fi novel comprise Sjón's complex CoDex 1962 trilogy. In the first book, a clay baby is molded by two lovers, a German maid and Jewish fugitive named Leo Loewe, during the Second World War. The second book brings Leo to Iceland where he's caught up in a murder, but ends happily as his clay son comes to life. The final book follows Josef Loewe's meeting with the CEO of a biotech company and the tumultuous events that follow.

When you can read it: Sept. 11, 2018

She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore

She Would Be King is the debut novel by writer Wayétu Moore. (Yoni Levy/Graywolf Press)

What it's about: Wayétu Moore's debut novel blends history and magical realism to reimagine the dramatic story of Liberia's early years through three characters who share an uncommon bond: a young woman who survives being bitten a viper, a slave with unusual strength and a mixed race young man who can disappear from sight.

When you can read it: Sept. 11, 2018

Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini

Sea Prayer is the latest by novelist Khaled Hosseini. (TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images/Viking)

What it's about: A father holds his sleeping son on a moonlit beach, preparing to embark on a dangerous journey by sea in search of a safe, new home. While waiting for the sun to rise, the father describes the beauty of his childhood summers at his grandparents' home in Syria and the bustling city of Homs that was overtaken by bombs. 

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

Transcription by Kate Atkinson

Kate Atkinson is the author of the novel Transcription, a gripping tale set in mid-century London. (Euan Myles/Doubleday Canada)

What it's about: Juliet Armstrong is a young woman transcripted into the secret service during the Second World War, where she ends up working with code and taking dangerous meetings. After the war, she joins the BBC, but can't escape her past. Kate Atkinson is a bestselling British novelist whose previous two novels, A God in Ruins and Life After Life, both won the Costa Novel Award.

When you can read it: Sept. 18, 2018

The Shape of Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez

The Shape of the Ruins is the fifth novel by Colombian author Juan Gabriel Vasquez. (Hermance Triay/Riverhead Books)

What it's about: A thief is arrested in the act of breaking into a museum and attempting to swipe the bullet-ridden suit of a murdered Colombian politician. When the case hits the internet, conspiracy theories begin to swirl on what really happened to the politician, hounding the few who believe they are the only ones who know the truth about the killing.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

The Acts of My Mother by András Forgách

Andras Forgach is the author of The Acts of My Mother. (Jelenkor/Penguin Random House)

What it's about: The Acts of My Mother is a blend of fiction and nonfiction as András Forgách traces his mother's life in communist Hungary during the 1970s and 1980s. Forgách makes the heart-rending discovery that his mother was an informant for the Kádár regime and turned in many family members, friends and acquaintances. No longer alive, Forgách's mother is portrayed as both victim and perpetrator — a woman defined by contradiction.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

The Caregiver by Samuel Park

The Caregiver is a novel by Samuel Park. (Ryan Bakerink/Simon & Schuster)

What it's about: Ana is a reckless, struggling voice-over actress who would move the sun and moon for her daughter Mara. But when Ana joins a civilian group rebelling against Rio de Janeiro's cruel police chief, Mara is forced to flee the country. She begins a new life in California as a caretaker for a young woman dying of stomach cancer. The experience forces Mara to come to terms with her past as the daughter of turbulent storm of a mother.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

Hippie by Paulo Coelho

Hippie is the lastest by Brazilian author Paulo Coelho. (Xavier Gonzalez/Random House Canada)

What it's about: Drawing from the author's life, Hippie takes place in the 1970s and follows a young long-haired writer named Paulo on a road trip through three continents. After adventures in Bolivia, Peru, Chile and Argentina, Paulo heads to Amsterdam where he meets a 20-something Dutch woman named Karla who joins him on a Magic Bus from Europe to Kathmandu. This book chronicles their eastward journey and the many unique characters they meet along the way.

When you can read it: Sept. 25, 2018

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami explores questions of trauma, art and the creative process in his novel Killing Commendatore. (Knopf/Doubleday Canada)

What it's about: Celebrated surrealist Japanese writer Haruki Murakami, who novels include Kafka on the Shore, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles and 1Q84, returns with Killing Commendatore. The novel is the story of a painter who, having been recently left by his wife, becomes the caretaker for a famed artist. But when the painter discovers an unknown work in the artist's home, he begins to unravel an unknown history — and develop a strange obsession with a neighbour. 

When you can read it: Oct. 9 , 2018

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver​

Unsheltered is a novel by Barbara Kingsolver. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: When middle-aged Willa Knox has to return to her family home — which is falling apart — without a job, and with her unemployed husband and her two failing adult children in tow, she throws herself into learning about the building's history in an attempt to save herself from paying for the repairs herself. What she discovers is the story of a previous tenant, Thatcher Greenwood, whose own story in 1880s eerily echoes Willa's own: a family on the verge of collapse navigating a time of cultural change.

When you can read it: Oct. 16, 2018

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls is a novel by Pat Barker. (Ellen Warner/Hamish Hamilton)

What it's about: Acclaimed historical fiction writer Pat Barker re-imagines the Trojan War in her latest novel. The Silence of the Girls tells the story of Achilles from the female perspective and imagines what happened to the women imprisoned during the war. Briseis is a queen who becomes Achilles' slave and becomes an unintentional focal point of the war — and is the star of this imaginative retelling. 

When you can read it: Oct. 23, 2018

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Friday Black is a debut short story collection by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah. (Limitless Imprint Entertainment/Mariner Books)

What it's about: In this collection of stories, Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah envisions a cast of ordinary characters placed in extraordinary circumstances. From exposing prejudice in the justice system to characterizing racism as sport, Adjei-Brenyah sheds light on the everyday injustices — big, small and often absurd — that Black people face in the U.S.

When you can read it: Oct. 23, 2018

Useful Phrases for Immigrants by May-lee Chai

Useful Phrases for Immigrants is a book of short stories by May-Lee Chai. (

What it's about: May-lee Chai's collection of stories reveals the depth of diversity and complexity within China, a country and people that is often homogenized by western nations. The book features characters in the U.S. and China from different economic brackets, who are contending with family grudges, outdated traditions and mysterious pasts.

When you can read it: Nov. 2, 2018

The Feral Detective by Jonathan Lethem

The Feral Detective is a novel by Jonathan Lethem. (HarperCollins Canada)

What it's about: Disgruntled loner Charles Heist is hired by a woman named Phoebe Siegler to help find her friend's daughter Arabella. Their search leads them to the desert where Arabella is caught in a dangerous standoff that, in a mysterious coincidence, Heist is uniquely positioned to diffuse. 

When you can read it: Nov. 6, 2018

A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne

A Ladder to the Sky is the latest by Irish novelist John Boyne. (Rich Gilligan/Hogarth)

What it's about: A talentless, fame-hungry waiter named Maurice Swift charms a war-time story out a famous novelist and uses it to start his own literary career. Maurice continues his climb to the top by stealing from young, vulnerable artists, a cold-blooded deceit that threatens to catch up to him.

When you can read it: Nov. 13, 2018

All the Lives We Never Lived by Anuradha Roy

All the Lives We Never Lived is a novel by Anuradha Roy. (Rukun Advani/Simon & Schuster)

What it's about: Gayatri is a passionate artist who abandons parenthood and marriage in India when her German lover reappears in her life. Her son grows up as "the child whose mother ran away with an Englishman" and ends up spending his adulthood tracing his mother's life through India and Bali. The novel takes place during the Second World War and in present day.

When you can read it: Nov. 20, 2018​​

North of Dawn by Nuruddin Farah

Somali novelist, playwright and short story writer Nuruddin Farah is the author of North of Dawn. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images/Riverhead Books)

What it's about: Gacalo and Mugdi have had a happy life together in Oslo, where they've raised two children. But their son Dhaqaneh is alienated and troubled, and ends up killing himself in a suicide attack in Somalia. His wife Waliya and teenage children end up in a refugee camp until Gacalo and Mugdi agree to bring them to Oslo. A deep, dangerous divide begins to form between the children, who are enjoying their new country's freedoms, and their religiously devoted mother.

When you can read it: Dec. 4, 2018​


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