Fall Books

A preview of the most anticipated fiction and non-fiction titles among book releases this fall.


Of making many books there is no end. So it was written in the Bible, and more than 2,000 years later it still is true. Like bread and brick, the book goes on, issuing from presses, outliving all notions of technological change. Perhaps it's as a Victorian do-gooder once said: "A good book is the best of friends, the same today as forever."

Well, dear reader, get ready for a horde of friends to overrun your house this fall: The sheer volume of book production is breathtaking. It's as if publishers had decided to bring out a book by every established author they could think of and tossed in a slew of fresh-faced novices for good measure. We've never experienced anything quite like this. Bleary-eyed editors stand in the doorway of our overstuffed book room mumbling something akin to the Duke of Gloucester's lamentations: "Another damned, thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble, scribble!"

Here then, to guide you through the deluge, is a short list of books you'll soon see reviewed on these pages. My advice? Plunge in, look through; the list is bound to offer up a friend or two.
- By Marie Arana

Book World Live

Editor Marie Arana discusses the flurry of blockbusters slated for bookstores this fall, Tuesday, Sept. 6, 3 ET


Apostle Paul

, by James Cannon (Steerforth, Nov.). The tale of a scholar who changed the course of Western civilization.

Blue Smoke

, by Nora Roberts (Putnam, Oct.). A fire in her family's pizzeria draws a Baltimore investigator into a ruthless inferno.

The Brooklyn Follies

, by Paul Auster (Holt, Dec.). Divorced, estranged from his family, ready to die, Nathan Glass comes to Brooklyn -- and finds redemption.

Captain of the Sleepers
Captain of the Sleepers

, by Mayra Montero (Farrar Straus Giroux, Sept.). An 82-year-old pilot summons a young man to explain his long-ago affair with the young man's mother.

Christ the Lord

, by Anne Rice (Knopf, Nov.). Rice pored over New Testament scholarship to produce this novel about Jesus: a radical departure from her lush vampire cycle.

Cinnamon Kiss

, by Walter Mosley (Little Brown, Sept.). Easy Rawlins hunts for a vanished attorney, his exotic lover and a stash of Nazi papers.

Dancing in the Dark

, by Caryl Phillips (Knopf, Sept.). The fictionalized life story of black (and blackface) entertainer Bert Williams.

The Divide

, by Nicholas Evans (Putnam, Sept.). The author of The Horse Whisperer tells the tale of an eco-terrorist found dead in a remote mountain creek.

Dog Days

, by Ana Marie Cox (Riverhead, Jan.). It's the summer of 2004, a presidential election looms, and a feisty campaign staffer is having love jitters.

Faith for Beginners

, by Aaron Hamburger (Random House, Oct.). A family vacation to Jerusalem takes a pronounced wrong turn when the mother and son fall into dangerous liaisons.

Female of the Species

, by Joyce Carol Oates (Harcourt, Jan.). More stories from the ever-fevered imagination of an American institution.


, by Ed McBain (Harcourt, Sept.). A serial killer is shooting random oldsters in the face, and the 87th Precinct's stalwart detective is trying to find out why.

The Great Stink

, by Clare Clark (Harcourt, Oct.). Bodies are mysteriously piling up in the sewers as a young engineer undertakes to rebuild subterranean Victorian London.

Isle of Passion

, by Laura Restrepo (Ecco, Sept.). In 1908, a happy crew of 100 Mexican soldiers and brides arrives to populate a Pacific island; years later, an American ship spots the 14 desperate survivors.


, by Joanna Scott (LB, Nov.). An elderly immigrant from Elba recalls her harrowing childhood during the war.

The Life All Around Me By Ellen Foster

, by Kaye Gibbons (Harcourt, Jan.). In this sequel to Gibbons's Ellen Foster , Ellen is now 15 and making her way in the larger world.

The Lincoln Lawyer

, by Michael Connelly (LB, Oct.). A criminal defense lawyer who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln town car takes on his first rich client in years.

Look at the Dark

, by Nicholas Mosley (Dalkey, Feb.). The incapacitated victim of a hit-and-run contemplates his life drama as its players -- including his former wives -- gather around.

The Mad Cook of Pymatuning

, by Christopher Lehmann-Haupt (Simon & Schuster, Sept.). A young man returns to his summer camp as a counselor and finds the management has taken a sinister turn.

Making It Up

, by Penelope Lively (Viking, Oct.). What if Lively's family's escape from Egypt had ended differently? What if she had become an unwed mother? Fiction from life.

The March

, by E.L. Doctorow (RH, Sept.). Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman marches 60,000 Union troops through Georgia and the Carolinas, bringing death and destruction and effectively terminating the Confederacy.

Memories of My Melancholy Whores

, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Knopf, Oct.). A 90-year-old's one-night stand with a young virgin evokes a rush of memories and revelations.

Mission to America

, by Walter Kirn (Doubleday, Oct.). A Montana missionary heads out to enlist believers for his church and ends up in the arms of an Internet porn queen.

On Beauty

, by Zadie Smith (Penguin, Sept.). As if life weren't chaotic enough for a British art professor and his African American activist wife, their son goes and falls in love with their nemesis.

Ordinary Heroes

, by Scott Turow (FSG, Nov.). The protagonist stumbles upon a dark family secret that ties his late father to a brutal episode of World War II.

S Is for Silence

, by Sue Grafton (Putnam, Dec.). The daughter of a missing woman tries to put together the puzzle pieces 34 years after her mother's disappearance.

Saving Fish From Drowning

, by Amy Tan (Putnam, Oct.). Eleven American tourists in Burma wander into the jungle and meet a tribe that forever alters their perceptions of life.

The Scorpion's Gate

, by Richard A. Clarke (Putnam, Oct.). The controversial former White House counterterrorism chief takes readers five years into the future, to another, bigger war.

Shalimar the Clown

, by Salman Rushdie (RH, Sept.). What looks like a political assassination in L.A. turns out to be thoroughly personal -- involving a dead ambassador to India, his beautiful daughter and an Islamist killer on the lam.

Slow Man
Slow Man

, by J.M. Coetzee (Viking, Sept.). A photographer loses his leg in a bicycle accident and returns to Australia a bitter, solitary man--until he sees his nurse.

Son of a Witch

, by Gregory Maguire (Regan, Oct.). The son of the Wicked Witch of the West is carousing with Dorothy and the Munchkins when his identity is revealed.

The Space Between Us

, by Thrity Umrigar (Morrow, Jan.). The rich and poor are intimately connected in this novel of two women under one Bombay roof.

The Story of General Dann and Mara's Daughter, Griot and the Snow Dog

, by Doris Lessing (HarperCollins, Jan.). Lessing's characters from Mara and Dann are resuscitated for this continuation of their odyssey through a forbidding future landscape.

Third Girl From the Left

, by Martha Southgate (Houghton Mifflin, Sept.). Three generations of African American women struggle to understand one another in Tulsa, L.A., and in a movie screen that doesn't lie.

13 Steps Down
Thirteen Steps Down

, by Ruth Rendell (Crown, Sept.). An eccentric young man becomes obsessed by a captivating model -- and a serial killer is made.

Thud !

, by Terry Pratchett (HC, Oct.). A dwarf is bludgeoned to death, the war between the trolls and the dwarves resumes, and Commander Sam Vimes of the City Watch is forced -- among other things -- to hire a vampire named Sally.

Tooth and Claw

, by T.C. Boyle (Viking, Sept.). Whimsical tales of animals, by the author of Drop City.

The Truth of the Matter

, by Robb Forman Dew (LB, Nov.). A widow's family returns from the war, moves back into their great old house and sets her to thinking that her husband's untimely death may not have been an accident.

A Wedding in December

, by Anita Shreve (LB, Oct.). Friends gather in the Berkshires for a wedding, but they get more than they came for.

The Whale Caller

, by Zakes Mda (FSG, Dec.). Whale season is over in a seaside village of South Africa, the tourists have gone home, and the town's two misfits fall in love.

Wickett's Remedy
Wickett's Remedy

, by Myla Goldberg (Doubleday, Sept.). By the author of Bee Season , a story of the 1918 flu epidemic, an ambitious Irish shopgirl and her rich husband's vaunted elixir.

The World to Come

, by Dara Horn (Norton, Jan.). A million-dollar Chagall is missing, a twin brother and sister fall under suspicion, and, as they go on the run, a whole Yiddish world unfolds.

View Fiction | Non-Fiction

© 2005 The Washington Post Company