• Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023

    218 Books We’re Looking Forward to Reading This Year

    AUGUST & beyond

    Jamel Brinkley, Witness
    Jamel Brinkley, Witness
    FSG, August 1

    Jamel Brinkley’s debut story collection, A Lucky Man, was something of a sensation upon its release in 2018, receiving a raft of major literary award nominations (including National Book Award, PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the Story Prize, and the John Leonard Prize nods), as well as near-unanimous critical acclaim (the Guardian called it “near faultless”), so expectations are high for his follow-up. These ten stories in this new collection (which comes with blurbs from luminaries like Justin Torres, Raven Lelani, and Angela Flournoy, and Yiyun Li), are portraits of intimacy and friendship, grief and mourning, all set “in the changing landscapes of contemporary New York City.” Expect this to be one of the standout collections of the year.  –DS

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    Jimin Han, The Apology
    Jimin Han, The Apology
    Little, Brown, August 1

    Jimin Han’s latest novel, “part ghost story and part family epic,” promises to be tooth-sinkingly great. I mean: “In South Korea, a 105-year-old woman receives a letter. Ten days later, she has been thrust into the afterlife, fighting to head off a curse that will otherwise devastate generations to come.” It sounds like the kind of sprawling and ambitious novel that is wildly satisfying to read when handled well, and given the brilliance of Han’s previous novel, A Small Revolution, I have no doubt it will be. Get excited for this one.  –JG

    Edan Lepucki, Time’s Mouth
    Edan Lepucki, Time’s Mouth
    Counterpoint, August 1

    Time’s Mouth is a Californian-dystopian-time-travel novel from the author of Woman No. 17. It’s about cults, motherhood, abandonment, and trying to right the wrongs of the past—usually impossible, except in this work characters can travel into their memories. It’s well past time for another cult-y novel to take us by storm, and Time’s Mouth very well may be it.  –JH

    Elizabeth Acevedo, Family Lore

    Elizabeth Acevedo, Family Lore
    Ecco, August 1

    The HarperCollins Union has been on strike since November 10, 2022. Literary Hub stands in solidarity with the union. Please consider donating to the strike fund.

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    Family Lore is the first novel for adults from Elizabeth Acevedo, who won the National Book Award in Young People’s Literature for her 2018 debut, The Poet X. It is the story of one big Dominican-American family, centered on four sisters—one of whom has an uncanny ability to predict when people will die. So when she asks to bring the family together for a living wake, everyone shows, bringing all their secrets and troubles with them. Sounds very juicy.  –ET

    Brando Skyhorse, My Name is Iris

    Brando Skyhorse, My Name is Iris
    Avid Reader Press, August 1

    From the PEN/Hemingway Award–winning author of The Madonnas of Echo Park, a novel set five minutes in the future, in an America in which all citizens wear high-tech identification wristbands—all citizens who can prove “parental citizenship,” that is, leaving second-generation Americans like Iris out in an increasingly violent and frightening cold.  –ET

    Lydia Kiesling, Mobility
    Lydia Kiesling, Mobility
    Crooked Media Reads, August 1

    Lydia Kiesling is a smart and funny writer who is unafraid of getting her hands dirty with politics. This is my favorite kind of novelist. So I am very much looking forward to Mobility, which follows the life of Bunny Glenn (Pynchon says hi) from her teenage years visiting newly post-Soviet Azerbaijan to her present-day career in the oil industry… and all the crazy, globally important stuff that happened in between. It’s almost like history didn’t end, not even one bit!  –JD

    lauren beukes bridge

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    Lauren Beukes, Bridge
    Mulholland, August 8

    I’m a big fan of Beukes’ horror-tinged, speculative suspense novels—she is apparently an endless well of terrifyingly good ideas. For instance: in this novel, a woman who can’t make up her mind about anything finds an object she thought was imaginary in her dead mother’s freezer: the “dreamworm,” which opens up a path to all other realities—and a million and one dangers. Fun!  –ET

    James McBride, The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store
    Riverhead, August 8

    The arrival of a new novel by National Book Award-winner James McBride (The Good Lord Bird, Deacon King Kong)—a masterful storyteller who always brings a deep well of humanity and humor to his exuberant, expansive tales—is a cause for celebration. The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store (another amazing title) is set in a run-down neighborhood in a small Pennsylvania town in 1972. Peopled by a cast of immigrant Jewish and Black characters, and centered around the mystery of skeleton found at the bottom of a well, this sounds like another knockout ensemble piece from McBride.  –DS

    Paul Murray, The Bee Sting
    FSG, August 15

    At last, a new novel from Paul Murray, who you probably fell in love with after 2010’s delightful campus novel Skippy Dies. His latest promises to be equally tragicomic, centered on a family teetering at the edge of a series of disasters, big and small. Can’t wait to bang around in his weird and wonderful brain again.  –ET

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    Julie Schumacher, The English Experience

    Julie Schumacher, The English Experience
    Doubleday, August 15

    Alert, alert: Julie Schumacher is back with the third and final book in the hysterical campus novel trilogy (Dear Committee Members, The Shakespeare Requirement) starring beleaguered academic Jason Fitger, who to the dismay of all must chaperone Payne University’s annual “Experience: Abroad” to—you guessed it—the UK. I’m actually trying to wait read this because I want to be able to savor it completely, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to wait very long.  –ET

    Safiya Sinclair, How to Say Babylon

    Safiya Sinclair, How to Say Babylon
    Simon & Schuster, August 29

    If you haven’t read Safiya Sinclair’s poetry collection, Cannibal, yet, you should do that immediately. You will fall in love with the way she wields language, with her ability to conjure history and turn myth in on itself, and then you will undoubtedly understand why it’s so exciting that her memoir will be gracing us with its presence this summer. In How to Say Babylon, Safiya Sinclair explores her strict Rastafarian upbringing, examining her relationship with her controlling father. Under his roof, women were to be obedient and to not have opinions. So it was a lifeline when her mother started sharing books, especially poetry, with her children. This memoir is a story of rebellion, culture clash, and a love letter to the curative powers of literature. In Cannibal, Safiya Sinclair draws heavily on Genesis and the story of Eve; How to Say Babylon is a writing of her own origin story.  –KY

    hilary leichter, terrace story

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    Hilary Leichter, Terrace Story
    Ecco, August 29

    The HarperCollins Union has been on strike since November 10, 2022. Literary Hub stands in solidarity with the union. Please consider donating to the strike fund.

    Hell yes, new Hilary Leichter! The sophomore novel from the author of Temporary is a fable that starts out with every New Yorker’s dream: finding a secret terrace hidden in their tiny apartment. For Annie and Edward, and their daughter Rose, the terrace is in the closet, and it’s great—except for the ways it changes their apartment, their family, and whoops, the world. If you can’t wait, the novel is based on Leichter’s 2020 Harper’s story, which you can read here–ET

    mona awad

    Mona Awad, Rouge
    Scribner, September

    !!! I don’t know anything about Mona Awad’s next novel, except that it’s coming in September, and that, if it is anything like her previous works, it is likely to be delicious and daring and weird and terrifying. Fall can’t come soon enough.  –ET

    Lauren Groff, The Vaster Wilds
    Riverhead, September 10

    The years are speeding up with abandon, so while Matrix feels like yesterday, it’s been nearly three years and it’s time for the prolific Groff to gift us with another novel. The Vaster Wilds was what she was working on and then set aside to write Matrix, but she describes the two as “a loosely thematically-linked sisterhood.” There still isn’t a huge amount of information released about the new work, but in The Atlantic in 2021 it was described as: “a kind of ‘female Robinson Crusoe’ set in 1609 Jamestown, in which a woman grapples with the constructs of religion and the compromises she has to make to survive. Those two books [Matrix and The Vaster Wilds] and a third she’s working on all spin around a central thesis: the idea that so much of our present suffering comes from a misreading of Genesis.” Matrix was a totally unique, innovative addition to Groff’s oeuvre, which can only bode well for The Vaster Wilds as a sister novel.  –JH

    C Pam Zhang, Land of Milk and Honey
    Riverhead, September 29

    Hungry for more of C Pam Zhang’s writing after How Much of These Hills Is Gold? Me, too. We’re in luck. Land of Milk and Honey takes us to a near future in which our resources for food are disappearing. Here we meet a Chinese American chef who is coerced into working for a wealthy colony, where she’ll grapple with the ethics of stark class division and try to find pleasure in this dumpster fire of a planet. (I’m picturing the scene in Ratatouille in which Remy takes a bite of cheese and a bite of strawberry, and all the flavors and colors blend together beautifully? I’m imagining this hunt for happiness to look like that, but literary and, dare I say, even better.) In a tweet announcing the publication of her next novel, C Pam Zhang wrote: “The joy of writing this was a lifeline in dark times; I hope it brings you joy to read, too.” More joy in 2023!  –KY

    Nicola Griffith, Menewood
    MCD, October 3

    Ten years after the publication of Hild, Griffith’s beloved retelling of the life of Hilda of Whitby, we’re finally getting a sequel, in which Hild is all grown up and building her stronghold in the titular Menewood—but war is coming, and Edwin needs her yet again. Middle Ages, here I come.  –ET

    Bryan Washington, Family Meal
    Riverhead, October 10

    If you loved Lot and Memorial, you’re going to want to pay attention to this: 5 Under 35 winner Bryan Washington is back with a brand-new novel! I’m sure it will be just as poignant and funny and moving as his last. If the title is any indication, there will likely be more insightful dissections of community (something he does so well), and (hopefully) many more descriptions of food. Family Meal is coming to independent bookstores near you this fall. Dig in!  –KY

    E.J. Koh, The Liberators
    Tin House, Fall 2023

    Is there anything E.J. Koh can’t do? She’s a cherished poet (A Lesser Love), a gifted memoirist (The Magical Language of Others), an award-winning translator (The World’s Lightest Motorcycle), and now (thankfully) she is going to add novelist to that list. Not much information has been revealed about the story yet, but E.J. Koh always operates with a kind of alchemy; what she touches turns to gold.  –KY

    Isle McElroy

    Isle McElroy, People Collide
    HarperVia, Fall 2023

    The HarperCollins Union has been on strike since November 10, 2022. Literary Hub stands in solidarity with the union. Please consider donating to the strike fund.

    McElroy’s debut The Atmospherians was a twisted, fun satire about a disgraced influencer and a failing actor who form a cult designed to reform problematic men of their toxic masculinity. In their new novel, a man wakes up to find he is in his wife’s body. What follows, according to the publisher, “is a search across Europe for a missing woman—and a roving, no-holds-barred exploration of gender and embodied experience.” Yes!  –EF

    Naomi Alderman, The Future
    Simon & Schuster, Fall 2023

    We don’t know much yet about Naomi Alderman’s new novel, but I know enough to confirm that it’s got a prime spot on my TBR list. In Alderman’s The Power, women discover they can channel electricity through their fingertips, and in Disobedience, a closeted woman leaves her Orthodox community after reuniting with an old flame. In The Future, Alderman turns her lens to Silicon Valley, where a group of rogues overthrow our tech overlords. We can only hope.  –ES

    Vauhini Vara, This is Salvaged
    W.W. Norton, Fall 2023

    Vauhini Vara’s stunning and imaginative debut novel, The Immortal King Rao, made quite a splash this year. It garnered rave reviews! It was a finalist for the Center for Fiction’s prestigious First Novel Prize! How exciting for us, then, that her short story collection is coming out in 2023. She’s a writer who packs a punch, and personally, I’m excited to see what magic she can conjure in the condensed form. Although we don’t know much about This Is Salvaged yet, one thing is certain: it’s something to look forward to.  –KY

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    Independence The house is quiet now, lanterns extinguished, the family settled for the night, parents in the bedroom, daughters on old quilts...
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