If Variety were writing a headline lauding this fall’s fiction offerings, it might read something like Boffo Books Bonanza. On the other hand, The New York Times would give us a more sober reading, something like A Stellar Season for Fiction Lovers. But in either case, the verdict would be the same: The fall of 2012 will be the richest harvest of fiction I can recall. Paring our list to the 15 titles to the left, if not quite wrenching, at least mildly painful.
What book are you most looking forward to? Join the Globe's book club here to tell us about your most-anticipated fall reads
Bibliomanes can also salivate over the prospects of new work by Canadian stalwarts such as Donna Morrissey, Susan Swan, Stephen Marche, Shauna Singh Baldwin, John Ralston Saul (his first novel since 1988), Linda Spalding, Cordelia Strube, Mark Frutkin, Christine Pountney, Jack Whyte, Linda Svendsen, Emily Schultz, Cary Fagan, D.R. MacDonald, Patrick Taylor, Rachel Wyatt and Terry Fallis. Marjorie Celona’s Y, about a baby dumped at the YMCA, who later seeks her identity as she ping-pongs between foster homes, is the most hyped debut of the season.
The international roll call is even more impressive: Pat Barker (returning to the First World War), Fay Weldon, Sebastian Faulks (back from a semi-successful tour of James Bond World), Louise Erdrich, T.C. Boyle, A.M. Homes, Junot Diaz, Michel Faber, A.L. Kennedy, Roberto Bolaño (we’re told it’s the last of his novels to be translated), Colm Toibin, James Salter (his first in seven years), John Banville, Lydia Millet, Laurence Norfolk (anyone who read the wonderful Lemprière’s Dictionary will be lying in wait for John Saturnall’s Feast), Herman Wouk (yes, he’s alive, and, at 96, writing a novel about Moses), James Meek, Justin Cronin, Dennis Lehane, Mark Helprin and wildman Nick Tosches (Me and the Devil sounds as if it could be autobiographical). And in October, the late Maeve Binchy’s many fans will rush to grab A Week in Winter, her last novel, barring any surprises tucked away in cabinets.
And not to forget new mysteries from Louise Penny, Peter Robinson, Michael Connelly and Ian Rankin, or graphic novels from more-than-cult favourites Chris Ware and Charles Burns.
It’s a stunning list, and puts paid, at least for now, to the conventional wisdom that the novel as we know it is, if not dead, at least on life support – until, that is, it migrates fully to digital-world.