(Jennifer Chase for The Washington Post)

Another Brooklyn
By Jacqueline Woodson (Amistad)

In this novel for adults by the celebrated YA writer, an anthropologist revisits her old Brooklyn neighborhood and recalls her adolescence.

The Association of Small Bombs
By Karan Mahajan (Viking)

A profoundly sad story about the friends and relatives who lose loved ones to a terrorist bomb in New Delhi in 1996.

By Annie Proulx (Scribner)

Proulx presents a thrilling, 300-year saga about the vast forests and the rapacious timbermen who enabled the United States to conquer the world.

Behold the Dreamers
By Imbolo Mbue (Random House)

A man from Cameroon living in Harlem has his mind set on only one thing: becoming a successful citizen of the United States — but his adoptive country is determined to make that difficult.

The Book of Harlan
By Bernice L. McFadden (Akashic)

A story about a pair of jazz musicians who travel from Harlem to Paris just before the Nazi occupation.

By Tim Murphy (Grove/Atlantic)

This ambitious story tackles the legacy and costs of AIDS — from the first reported cases to an imagined New York City of 2021.


By Michael M. Thomas (Melville House)

A former partner at Lehman Brothers spins an audacious financial thriller based on real events — the 2008 financial crisis — that features cameos by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. The novel juxtaposes the ideals of loyalty, service, patriotism and noblesse oblige against the venality of contemporary Wall Street.

A Gentleman in Moscow
By Amor Towles (Viking)

After the communists sentence Count Alexander Rostov to house arrest, he makes a rich life for himself in a grand hotel near the Kremlin.

Ginny Gall
By Charlie Smith (Harper)

In 1913, Delvin is born to a “good-time gal” in Chattanooga, Tenn., and is left first to the care of an orphanage and then to a kindly undertaker, from whom he learns the mechanics of death. A harrowing tale of survival in the Jim Crow South.

The Girls
By Emma Cline (Random House)

A woman looks back on her youthful involvement with a Charles Manson-like cult. The most remarkable quality of this novel is Cline’s ability to articulate the anxieties of adolescence in gorgeously poetic language.

The Good Lieutenant
By Whitney Terrell (Farrar Straus Giroux)

An addicting epic — narrated in reverse order — about a female soldier’s effort to recover the corpse of a kidnapped sergeant during the Iraq War.

Heat & Light
By Jennifer Haigh (Ecco)

A Pennsylvania town is torn apart by the dirty business of fracking. The brilliance of Haigh’s novel is most evident in how effortlessly it portrays the interconnectedness of the many constituencies involved in and affected by extracting fuel by that method.

Here I Am
By Jonathan Safran Foer (Farrar Straus Giroux)

An earthquake in the Middle East and an attack on Israel form the geopolitical background for this saga about a family breaking apart in Washington.

High Dive
By Jonathan Lee (Knopf)

A fictional reimagining of the Irish Republican Army’s 1984 attempt to blow up Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet during the annual Conservative Party conference in Brighton.

By Yaa Gyasi (Knopf)

Starting in the mid-1700s and reaching to the present day, this story moves back and forth between the descendants of two half-sisters born in Ghana: One is sold into slavery and sent to America; the other marries a British governor and stays behind.

By Alan Moore (Liveright)

At more than 1,200 pages, this phantasmagoric epic covers over 1,000 years in an English town teeming with painters and prostitutes, would-be poets and biblical demons who must reckon with the episodes of time slippage between their world and a shadowy parallel realm.

By Louise Erdrich (Harper)

When a man accidentally kills his neighbors’ 5-year-old son, he tries to make amends by turning his own boy over to the grieving parents.

The Last Days of Night

By Graham Moore (Random House)

A historical novel about the battle between Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse over the invention of the lightbulb.

Lily and the Octopus
By Steven Rowley (Simon & Schuster)

Dog people will recognize many things in this humorous, heart-wrenching story about a man and his 12-year-old dachshund with cancer.

The Little Red Chairs
By Edna O’Brien (Little, Brown)

A handsome sex therapist fleeing international criminal charges moves to an Irish village and draws a naive woman into his horrific past.

Miss Jane
By Brad Watson (W.W. Norton)

Using language that is both candid and askew, Watson describes the quiet, often solitary life of a girl born in 1915 in rural Mississippi with a genital defect.

Modern Lovers
By Emma Straub (Riverhead)

In this witty novel, friends in Brooklyn are forced to take a hard look at their relationships.

By Michael Chabon (Harper)

An autobiographical novel based on the wild stories of intrigue and ad­ven­ture that the author’s grandfather told as he was dying.

My Name Is Lucy Barton
By Elizabeth Strout (Random House)

Lucy Barton wakes in the hospital to find her estranged mother at the foot of her bed. For the next five nights, the mother sits in a chair and tells Lucy stories about her past.

The Nest
By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney (Ecco)

As the Plumb siblings are about to cash in the trust fund that will solve all their problems, they discover that it has been almost depleted. A comic novel about familial greed and affection.

The Nix
By Nathan Hill (Knopf)

In this sprawling comic novel, after a woman is arrested for throwing gravel at a Donald Trump-like presidential candidate, her long-estranged son attempts to uncover her life story.

The Nutshell
By Ian McEwan (Nan A. Talese)

A preposterously weird little novel that’s more brilliant than it has any right to be: a modern-day crime of passion based on Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” narrated by a fetus.

The Past
By Tessa Hadley (Harper)

Four adult siblings arrive for what might be the final summer at their late grandparents’ place in the countryside. For anyone who cherishes the subtle pleasure of Anne Tyler’s and Alice Munro’s novels.

By Mischa Berlinski (Sarah Crichton)

After losing his job as a deputy sheriff in Florida, Terry White begins training police in Haiti for the United Nations. A galloping tragicomedy about the West’s good intentions gone awry.

The People in the Castle: Selected Strange Stories
By Joan Aiken (Small Beer)

A best-of collection — with an introduction by Kelly Link — by the late British master of supernatural fiction and children’s literature.

Perfume River
By Robert Olen Butler (Atlantic)

One brother accepted military service in Vietnam to earn his father’s respect; the other went to Canada. Now, decades later, those decisions and their father’s reaction still hang over a family.

The Stargazer’s Sister
By Carrie Brown (Pantheon)

A historical novel about Caroline Herschel, who worked as a stargazing companion to her famous brother, the astronomer William Herschel.

The Story of Hong Gildong

Translated from the Korean by Minsoo Kang (Penguin)

A new translation of a story probably written around the middle of the 19th century by an anonymous author about a nobleman’s illegitimate son who becomes a kind of Robin Hood.

Sudden Death
By Álvaro Enrigue, translated by Natasha Wimmer (Riverhead)

The first of Enrigue’s novels to appear in English imagines a tennis match between the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo and the Italian painter Caravaggio. World history gets bounced around just as much as the ball — made from Anne Boleyn’s hair.

The Summer Before the War
By Helen Simonson (Random House)

Anglophiles mourning the end of “Downton Abbey” will find solace in this novel that begins in pre-World War I England and deftly observes the effect of war on the staid Edwardian sensibilities of the coastal village of Rye.

By Stephanie Danler (Knopf)

A delicious coming-of-age tale about a young woman hired as a back waiter at an establishment clearly modeled on Union Square Cafe in New York.

Sweet Lamb of Heaven
By Lydia Millet (W.W. Norton)

Hearing voices, a new mother flees with her baby to a seedy Maine hotel, where she discovers the other guests hear voices, too. Part fast-paced thriller, part quiet meditation on the nature of God.

Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings ,
By Stephen O’Connor (Viking)

The most revolutionary reimagining of Jefferson’s life ever: a colossal postmodern novel that mixes time periods, voices and genres. It’s often baffling, possibly offensive and frequently bizarre, but always arrestingly brilliant.

Today Will Be Different
By Maria Semple (Little, Brown)

About to turn 50, a graphic artist who’s chronically disappointed in herself is trying hard to be better despite a “constant low-grade state of confusion.” Loopy, deeply and darkly funny, and brave.

To the Bright Edge of the World By Eowyn Ivey (Little, Brown)

It’s 1885, and Col. Allen Forrester has been asked to lead a small group of soldiers, trappers and Native Americans up the uncharted Wolverine River and cross Alaska.

Valiant Gentlemen
By Sabina Murray (Grove/Atlantic)

A historical novel about Roger Casement, defender of indigenous rights in the Congo and the Amazon, covert homosexual and eventual martyr to the cause of Irish independence.

What Belongs to You
By Garth Greenwell (Farrar Straus Giroux)

Searching for anonymous sex in Bulgaria, a young American strikes up a fraught friendship with a rakish drifter. In these poetic sentences, emotional fearlessness is mated with extraordinary sensitivity to the tremors of regret.

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours By Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead)

A series of loosely connected, magically tinged tales about personal and social justice. Built around the idea of keys, locks and magic doors, the stories cover a wide territory — including mythology and fairy tales, and smartphones and YouTube stars.

Wilde Lake
By Laura Lippman (William Morrow)

A new case dredges up painful memories for Lu Brant, the new state’s attorney of Howard County, Md. In what feels like Lippman’s most personal novel, the book is as much a legal drama as it is a tale of childhood and family life.

By Christopher Nicholson (Europa)

This novel — revolving around a production in the mid-1920s of a play version of “Tess of the d’Urbervilles” — closely follows the life of Thomas Hardy.

The Wonder
By Emma Donoghue (Little, Brown)

In the early 1860s, in a boggy town in central Ireland, an 11-year-old girl refuses all food and stays in her cramped bedroom with her nurse. Skeptics jokingly speculate that she must be living on scent alone. When pressed, the pious girl confesses that she’s surviving on manna from heaven.

The Year of the Runaways
By Sunjeev Sahota (Knopf)

By following a handful of young Indian men in England, Sahota has captured the plight of millions of desperate people struggling to find work, to eke out some semblance of a decent life in a world increasingly closed-fisted and mean. This is “The Grapes of Wrath” for the 21st century.

The Yid
By Paul Goldberg (Picador)

A darkly playful historical novel about a ragtag acting troupe that sets out to assassinate Stalin.

Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist

By Sunil Yapa (Lee Boudreaux)

An explosive story about several people caught on different sides of the Seattle World Trade Organization protests in 1999.

Zero K
By Don DeLillo (Scribner)

In his most ­funereal novel, DeLillo describes a wealthy man determined to save his dying wife by keeping her frozen in cryonic suspension for millennia. The trademark DeLillo themes are coolly updated for the Internet age.


Notable nonfiction books in 2016

Best audiobooks of 2016

Best Science fiction and fantasy books of 2016

Best mystery books and thrillers of 2016

Best poetry collections of 2016

Best romance novels of 2016

Best memoirs of 2016

Best children’s and young adult books of 2016

Best graphic novels of 2016

The big book news of 2016