• Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023

    218 Books We’re Looking Forward to Reading This Year

    JUNE

    S. A. Cosby, All The Sinners Bleed
    S. A. Cosby, All The Sinners Bleed
    Flatiron, June 6

    Why isn’t this one on Netgalley yet, she cries into the abyss? Anyway, despite my lack of access to this book at the moment, I can assure you that S. A. Cosby is awesome and his new book is bound to be awesome too. In Cosby’s latest, the first Black sheriff of a small Southern town investigates the murder of an unarmed black man and finds himself uncovering dangerous secrets about the very foundations of his community.  –MO

    jenny erpenbeck Kairos

    Jenny Erpenbeck, tr. Michael Hofmann, Kairos
    New Directions, June 6

    In June New Directions will publish Kairos by the brilliant Jenny Erpenbeck. The story follows 19-year-old East-Berliner Katharina and her affair with an older, married writer, Hans, against the background of the declining GDR. Erpenbeck’s novels use finely observed (cool, unsentimental) personal relationships as lenses that provide panoramic views of broader society—her novels are as much about history, time, and place as they are about the characters that inhabit them. In doing so, she reveals more about humanity than most writers could in a lifetime. This one is not to be missed!  –EF

    Katie Williams, My Murder
    Katie Williams, My Murder
    Riverhead, June 6 

    Who in the world doesn’t like a murder mystery, especially one that goes beyond the rote formula of: murder occurring, detective arriving, clues discovered, murderer revealed? My Murder indisputably upends the traditional format while delivering the excitement and mystery we’ve come to expect from the genre. In this novel, the murder victim, Lou, is brought back to life (bear with) under a government experiment, returned to her happy life and adorable child, given a second chance to live the life that shouldn’t have been cut short. But while Lou knows she should be grateful, she’s paralyzed with fear and questions surrounding her murder that are left up to her to understand and uncover—everybody is a suspect, nobody is to be trusted.This genre-bending, magical realist, darkly clever novel isn’t to be missed.  –JH

    Rita Chang-Eppig, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea
    Rita Chang-Eppig, Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea
    Bloomsbury, June 6

    Hello, yes, please sign me right up for this adventure novel about Shek Yeung, Chinese pirate queen of life and legend, who commands a fleet, has a child on the high seas, and fights for both with all the ferocity you would expect.  –ET

    ice amy brady
    Amy Brady, Ice: From Mixed Drinks to Skating Rinks—a Cool History of a Hot Commodity
    Putnam, June 6

    Much like Colonel Aureliano Buendía and his father, I’ve always been fascinated by ice, and eager for somebody to write a decent narrative history of the stuff. Thankfully, someone now has. Ice is a history of ice written by Orion Magazine executive director and brilliant writer/climate journalist Amy Brady (The World as We Knew It: Dispatches from a Changing Climate), who details “the strange and storied two-hundred-year-old history of ice in America,” from mixed drinks to motel hallways, skating rinks to cryotherapy treatments. She also considers what the future of this civilization-altering substance might look like on a rapidly warming planet.   –DS

    Deborah Levy, August Blue
    Deborah Levy, August Blue
    FSG, June 6

    A new Deborah Levy novel is always cause for celebration. In The Cost of Living, Real Estate, and Hot Milk (a fan favorite amongst my friends), this Booker Prize finalist has time and time again proven herself to be a master of the written word. I’m particularly excited to read her new novel, August Blue, which is about a woman who comes face-to-face with her doppelganger. This doppelganger, at the time of their encounter, was purchasing mechanical dancing horses—a detail in the book’s description that only leaves me more intrigued. It promises to be a story of fractured selves, alter egos, and an adventure into the wild uncanny.  –KY

    Claire Fuller, The Memory of Animals
    Claire Fuller, The Memory of Animals
    Tin House, June 6

    There’s a deadly pandemic going on, and Neffy, a 27-year-old marine biologist, volunteers for an experimental vaccine trial in London. As the pandemic causes chaos around the world, Neffy uses a controversial device that allows her to revisit her past (with several appearances from her beloved octopi). Winner of the 2021 Costa Novel Award, The Memory of Animals promises to be thought-provoking and close to home.  –ES

    Henry Hoke, Open Throat
    Henry Hoke, Open Throat
    MCD, June 6

    I defy you to hear the premise of this sophomore novel from the always-interesting Henry Hoke (The Groundhog Forever) and not immediately smash that preorder button. Ready? Here it is: A queer and dangerously hungry mountain lion lives in the drought-devastated land under the Hollywood sign. Lonely and fascinated by humanity’s foibles, the lion spends their days protecting the welfare of a nearby homeless encampment … When a man-made fire engulfs the encampment, the lion is forced from the hills down into the city the hikers call “ellay” … to face down the ultimate question: Do they want to eat a person, or become one? Tragically relevant now, in the wake of beloved Los Angeles mountain lion P-22’s death last monthOpen Throat sounds like a playful, poignant, tragicomic delight, reminiscent of William Kotzwinkle’s 1996 novel, The Bear Went Over the Mountain–DS

    Keziah Weir, The Mythmakers
    Keziah Weir, The Mythmakers
    Scribner, June 13

    When Sal Cannon, a young journalist who’s struggling in both love and career, reads a novel excerpt by an older, established writer that’s about the moment, years ago, when he and Sal met, she becomes obsessed with reading the novel and learning about the (now late) author’s life. Keziah Weir’s debut novel grapples with questions of creativity, ambition, and the perpetually relevant matter of who owns a story. I look forward to getting tangled up in all of them.  –JG

    Molly Lynch, The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman

    Molly Lynch, The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman
    Catapult, June 13

    This debut novel hits all the right themes: marriage, motherhood, ecological collapse, and the insidious ramifications of capitalism. In The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman, mothers are disappearing across the globe, quietly vanishing without a trace; families and police alike are dumbfounded and desperate to understand the sudden epidemic of missing women. Focusing on the story of Ada and Danny, a married couple in Michigan, The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman recounts how Ada disappears from their bed one night, leaving Danny and their child bereft and bewildered at how to go on. Written Fates and Furies style, alternating between Danny and Ada’s perspectives, the novel navigates with metaphor and meaning the mystery of the mothers’ disappearances, and the breakdown of the world they left behind.  –JH

    Julia Fine, Maddalena and the Dark

    Julia Fine, Maddalena and the Dark
    Flatiron, June 13

    The latest novel from the author of What Should be Wild and The Upstairs House has everything I like: a dangerous friendship between two teenage girls, a compelling setting (an 18th century Venetian music school!), an undercurrent from magic, and a blurb from Kelly Link, who calls this “a sumptuous feast of a novel, rich and strange and heady.” I think I will just indulge.  –ET

    Greg Marshall, Leg: The Story of a Limb and the boy Who Grew from It

    Greg Marshall, Leg: The Story of a Limb and the Boy Who Grew from It
    Abrams, June 13

    Greg Marshall’s memoir about “coming of age in two closets—as a gay man and as a man living with cerebral palsy” promises to be both smart and heartfelt (you can get a taste for his style with this great conversation with Chloé Cooper Jones we ran earlier this year). His honesty and clarity in writing about disability makes this debut one to watch.  –EF

    Jessie Gaynor, The Glow

    Jessie Gaynor, The Glow
    Random House, June 20

    In addition to being an amazing editor at this very website, Gaynor is a great writer (you’ve certainly chuckled to her posts on our blog) who’s turned her critical eye to the self-care industry in her debut novel, The Glow. PR manager Jane Dorner tries to save her career by turning Cass and her husband’s ramshackle “wellness retreat” FortPath into an influencer and high-end wellness brand. Trades have been calling it “whip-smart” and “bitingly funny,” and Michael Cunningham calls it “Jane Austen on steroids”: get ready to laugh (at ourselves and modern society too, of course!).  –EF

    Leila Slimani, tr. Sam Taylor, Watch Us Dance
    Leila Slimani, tr. Sam Taylor, Watch Us Dance
    Viking, June 20

    The second novel in Slimani’s Moroccan trilogy, based on the story of her own family, follows two half-French, half-Moroccan siblings—the studious sister, the free-spirited brother—as they seek to find their footing in the dangerous, alluring world.  –ET

    Lorrie Moore, I Am Homeless if This is Not My Home
    Lorrie Moore, I Am Homeless if This is Not My Home
    Knopf, June 20

    Lorrie Moore’s first novel in 14 years is what they refer to as a literary event. I, like many of us, have gone through an intense and enthusiastic Lorrie Moore phase, reading every book of hers out to date, convincing myself that I’m an avid short story fan, only to read any other short story and realize, no, I’m actually just a Lorrie Moore fan. She manages the impossible in her writing: every other sentence is a gut-punch or the funniest line you’ve ever read, and it coheres into some of the truest writing about life—for what is life if not constantly either hilarious or devastating, and often both? I Am Homeless if This is Not My Home is a ghost story, a love story, a family elegy, and a search for answers both tangible and ephemeral: it’s the world of Lorrie Moore, beckoning us back in.  –JH

    Tom Rachman, The Imposters

    Tom Rachman, The Imposters
    Little, Brown, June 27

    From the author of The Imperfectionists and The Italian Teacher comes the story of an octogenarian novelist desperate to finish her final book before it’s too late—and gets the chance to do just that during an isolated Covid lockdown. Dora’s stories span her lifetime and the globe, culminating in a grand tapestry of humanity.  –ES

    Emma Törzs, Ink Blood Sister Scribe
    Emma Törzs, Ink Blood Sister Scribe
    William Morrow, June 27

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    The publicity copy for this book compares it to Ninth House, The Magicians, and Practical Magic, three things that I find completely delightful—and that’s before I realized that this is a novel about half-sisters tasked with guarding their family’s library of magical books. Yep, delicious, give it.  –ET

    Connie Willis, The Road to Roswell
    Del Rey, June 27

    Connie Willisheads, rejoice! 2023 is bringing us an alien-themed rom-com from the Nebula and Hugo Award–winning author. Set, of course, in Roswell, New Mexico, the book follows Francie, who’s begrudgingly in town for an old friend’s UFO-themed wedding (complete with lime green bridesmaid dresses). When she’s—surprise!—abducted, along with a cohort of randos, she’ll have to rethink everything she thinks she knows about little green men. It’ll be nigh impossible to top Willis’s Oxford Time Travel series, but I am delighted regardless.  –ES






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