8 New Books You Have to Read This Fall
Check out this season’s must-reads, including Sally Rooney's latest book, Beautiful World, Where Are You.
Photo: Bloomsbury Publishing
Fight Night by Miriam Toews
When precocious nine-year-old Swiv gets suspended for fighting at school, she spends her days with her sickly grandmother, Elvira. Soon, they find themselves on a reckless trip to visit relatives in California, where Swiv learns how her grandmother’s strength was passed along to her mom and then to her. After the horrors of Toews’s last book, Women Talking, this one is refreshingly light, as the pair exchange stories, empathy and the will to persevere through life’s challenges. $30.
Photo: HarperCollins Publishers
Return: Why We Go Back to Where We Came From by Kamal Al-Solaylee
Al-Solaylee, the youngest of 11 kids, was only three years old when his family was forced to flee Yemen in 1967. In his new memoir, he chronicles his desire to go back. But when he finally travels to the Middle East as an adult, he feels alienated from the language and customs of the place he once called home. The book is a powerful dive into displacement, featuring interviews with other refugees and émigrés about their own longings for their countries of origin. $33.
Photo: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney
Rooney became a phenomenon last year when Normal People, her emo millennial romance, was adapted into a hit series. In her new novel, a tangle of libidinous Irish 20-somethings have a lot of sex and complicated feelings. Funny email exchanges between Alice, a writer struggling with mental illness, and Eileen, a broke literary assistant, form the book’s emotional core. $32.
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Photo: Riverhead Books
Matrix by Lauren Groff
In medieval France, a young woman, banished from the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine for her unladylike moxie, joins a derelict, plague-ridden convent and transforms it into a thriving community of self-actualized nuns. Think of it as a 12th-century Sister Act, if Sister Act were pulsing with female rage and religious ecstasy. $37.
Harlem Shuffle by Colson Whitehead
Whitehead’s latest is a rollicking tale of con men and capers. It’s about a furniture salesman in 1960s Harlem whose ambitions lead him into a life of corruption as he tumbles into a plot to rob an upscale hotel. The book sparkles with vibrant detail and characters, dropping readers into a world humming with culture and music, hustle and grift. $36.
Photo: Seven Stories Press
Em by Kim Thúy
In the spring of 1975, the massive humanitarian effort known as Operation Babylift evacuated more than 3,300 children—some orphans, some not—out of Saigon and into the U.S., where most of them were adopted by American and Canadian families. This new novel by Montreal’s Thúy is spare and achingly personal, following two orphaned kids as they navigate the terrors of the war-torn city and wind up lost in the Vietnamese diaspora. $28.
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Photo: Hamish Hamilton
The Strangers by Katherena Vermette
In Vermette’s new saga, a Métis family gets wrenched apart by racism, poverty and circumstance. The mother struggles with addiction, one of her daughters is shuttled around foster care and the other is set to give birth in a youth-detention centre. The object of their harrowing quest: reunification. $30.
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Photo: HarperCollins Publishers
“Indian” in the Cabinet: Speaking Truth to Power by Jody Wilson-Raybould
In 2019, Wilson-Raybould shattered the government’s smiley facade when she accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his advisors of interfering in the SNC-Lavalin prosecution; she’s since served as an Independent, and recently announced a retirement from politics. She writes about her experience as an Indigenous minister and her hopes for a more inclusive political future in Canada, though most readers will turn straight to the part where she dishes out her unfiltered version of the SNC-Lavalin brouhaha and the ensuing political scandal. $35.
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