Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

15 dazzling fall fiction reads

Books editor Martin Levin, wowed by this fall’s dazzling fiction, chooses 15 must-reads. Did we miss one on your list? Head to tgam.ca/bookclub to tell us about your most-anticipated fall reads

1 of 15

SWEET TOOTH by Ian McEwan. Beautiful young mathematician Serena Frome has a brief affair with older man. But the intrigues he has on his mind take her far beyond the bedroom walls. The excerpt that ran in The New Yorker shows McEwan in ace form.

Randy Quan/The Globe and Mail

2 of 15

LIONEL ASBO: STATE OF ENGLAND by Martin Amis. In recent novels, the aging bad boy of BritLit has turned a gimlet eye on his native land. This is a satire on the state of the nation and celebrity culture (Asbo, not so incidentally, is an acronym for Anti-Social Behaviour Order).

Randy Quan/The Globe and Mail

3 of 15

THE CASUAL VACANCY by J.K. Rowling. Forget McEwan, Amis, Zadie Smith, Emma Donoghue, Banville et al. This is the season’s big book, though you won’t see it until Sept. 27. Rowling’s first novel for adults strips the idyllic veneer from the village-green idyll of the town of Pagford.

4 of 15

THE SWEET GIRL by Annabel Lyon. Having given us a fictional approximation of Aristotle in her award-winning The Golden Mean, Lyon turns her pen to the philosopher’s daughter, Pythias, a bright girl seeking her place in the world when her father is no longer there to protect her.

Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Story continues below advertisement

5 of 15

THE MAGIC OF SAIDA by M.G. Vassanji. The two-time Giller Prize-winner and his lead character both return to East Africa. It’s the tale of a Canadian doc on a Quixotic quest to his native Tanzania to seek his childhood sweetheart, and finding matters not quite as he expected.

Jennifer Roberts/The Globe and Mail

6 of 15

THE WORLD by Bill Gaston. Matryoshka doll stories nestle inside one another in these five bittersweet tales within a tale, linked by a book called The World. Gaston is one of CanLit ’s great not-quite-discovered treasures. Could this be his breakout at last?

7 of 15

NW by Zadie Smith. Nothing less than a portrait of the ethnic atomization of contemporary London as reflected through the experiences of two girls, one black, one white, who grow up as best friends on a dreary housing estate. And then drift.

Sergio Dionisio/Associated Press

8 of 15

CARNIVAL by Rawi Hage. A surprisingly antic setting for the usually dour IMPAC Dublin Award-winner. It’s Carnival time in Rio, and the local taxi drivers, made up of spiders and flies, are best positioned to observe the magic, the beauty and, yes, the ugliness on display

Christinne Muschi/The Globe and Mail

9 of 15

THE AGE OF HOPE by David Bergen. Giller Prize-winner Bergen is after nothing less than the ordinary-extraordinary life of a 20th-century woman as he documents 50 years in the life of Hope Plett, from conventional marriage to the liberating possibilities of The Feminine Mystique.

Joe Bryksa/CP

10 of 15

ASTRAY by Emma Donoghue. After the claustrophobically brilliant Room. Emma Donoghue’s story collection is hugely expansive, ranging over four centuries – from Puritan Massachusetts to 1960s Toronto – and encompassing a range of characters, from hookers to lawyers to slaves.

Dave Chidley/CP

11 of 15

TELEGRAPH AVENUE by Michael Chabon. Brokeland Records, a vintage-vinyl record store run by two old mates, Archie and Nat, faces a crisis: A rich black man plans to open a megastore. The novel is already being touted as a Northern California Middlemarch, except with music and NFL football.

Chris Ramirez/The Globe and Mail

12 of 15

DEAR LIFE by Alice Munro. Didn’t think we’d leave her out, did you? There’s been no apparent diminution in Munro’s unparalleled ability to give the shape and texture of an entire life in a short story, and no reason to expect this collection, set in her trademark Lake Huron surroundings, to be anything but superb.

Chris Young/CP

13 of 15

ZOO TIME by Howard Jacobson. A novelist is in pathetic thrall to both his wife and her mother. But can he man up enough to take action against this sea of female dominance? A comic novel by the Man Booker Prize-winner.

14 of 15

BACK TO BLOOD by Tom Wolfe. A country in full, perhaps? An ambitious novel of race, class, wealth, crime, immigrant wars and sex in the melting pot of Miami, a city on the very cutting edge of the American future.

Jim Cooper/Associated Press

15 of 15

FLIGHT BEHAVIOR by Barbara Kingsolver. Dellarobia (names are destiny) Turnbow, 29, chances upon a forested Tennessee valley filled with silent red fire. Her search for an explanation launches a conflict with her family, her church, her town and, finally, the world.

Hank Daniel/Harper Collins

Report an error