It’s been a painfully slow summer for literary fiction. One look at the NYT Best Sellers List explains it pretty well: crap. That’s why, even though it seems that summer has gone by far to quickly, I’m looking forward to fall when a trifecta of potentially great new books drops.
1. The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (August 30, 2011)
After epic stories of middle-aged couples lost in suburbia, like his previous books Election, Little Children (both turned into movies) and The Abstinence Teacher, Tom Perrotta’s sharpens his skewers up a bit with a book about the truly lost souls left behind after all the good people are taken to heaven in the rapture. Perrotta is one of those writers (like Eugenides, or Jonathan Franzen) whose books I will read no matter what they’re about because with their writing it really doesn’t matter.
2. The Marriage Plot by Jeffery Eugenides (October 11, 2011)
As a follow up to his Pulitzer Prize-winning Middlesex, Jeffery Eugenides has written another coming-of-age story. Reportedly set in the early 1980s, The Marriage Plot features a college English major who is “writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot” and the two of the guys in her life. It’s about time for a good old-fashioned, new story about marriage. Isn’t it?
3. 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami (October 25, 2011)
With Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, and Kafka On The Shore Haruki Murakami proved that he is one of the few writers who can offer Westerners an emersion into the hyper-accelerated cultural consciousness of modern day Japan. This 944 page book was originally published in Japan as three separate hardbound books, but all three have been pulled together for this English language translation. The title is reported a play on the way 1984 is spoken in Japanese, and tells the story of a young boy and girl. “And they fall in love. From that point of view it’s a simple story. But something happens and the two of them go to the dark side of the moon,” according to the author. Or moons, as the case may be. We’ll see.