Chances are my favorite book in 2015 will be by somebody I haven’t heard of yet. (In 2014, it was “Fourth of July Creek,” by debut novelist Smith Henderson.) But still, it's hard not to get excited by the prospect of reading these upcoming books by some of the most celebrated writers in the world. So, with all the usual caveats about unhatched chickens, here’s a list of the 10 most eagerly anticipated novels of 2015:
February: Nick Hornby’s Funny Girl . This one’s not “About a Boy;” it’s about a young woman who becomes a BBC sitcom star in the 1960s.
February: Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread . Baltimore’s beloved Pulitzer Prize winner has been publishing novels for 50 years. This one traces a family over four generations.
March: T.C. Boyle’s The Harder They Come . Boyle has long been one of the most exciting and intelligent storytellers in the United States. His upcoming novel describes a mentally ill young man involved with a group of violent anarchists.
March: Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant . Few details are available, but this Japanese-born British writer has been shortlisted four times for the Booker Prize, which he won in 1989 for “The Remains of the Day.” Expect something fascinating.
April: Toni Morrison’s God Help the Child , about the way childhood trauma haunts a woman’s life. Just before he died, John Updike wrote an exasperated pan of the Nobel laureate’s historical novel “A Mercy” (2008), but he was wrong; she’s a magical writer.
August: Amitav Ghosh’s Flood of Fire . The final book in the Bengali Indian author’s spectacular Ibis trilogy about the 19th-century opium trade. The earlier books, “Sea of Poppies” (2008) and “River of Smoke” (2011), are among the most thrilling historical novels I’ve ever read.
September: Jonathan Franzen’s Purity . This is his first novel since “Freedom,” which was hailed by some as the Great American Novel and decried by others as overwritten and preachy. Prepare for a couple of weeks of Obsessive-Compulsive Franzen Coverage (OCFC).
F all: John Irving’s Avenue of Mysteries. America’s most uneven great writer has delivered some awful novels (e.g. “The Fourth Hand”), but also some fantastic ones (e.g. “The World According to Garp”), and his most recent book, “In One Person” (2012), demonstrated that he’s still capable of writing big, moving stories.
Charles is the editor of Book World. His reviews appear in Style every Wednesday.