We fell in love with author Nicole Krauss as soon as we read her 2005 novel, The History of Love. Since then, she has only continued to impress us with her thoughtful, heartfelt stories that grapple with real life issues. Her latest book, Forest Dark, came out on September 12th with Harper, and we’ve been thinking about it ever since.
Forest Dark tells the story of two lost individuals who both end up in Tel Aviv, Israel, seeking some larger understanding about their lives. One is Jules Epstein, a retired lawyer who travels across the world after both his parents die and his marriage ends. The other is a young, well known novelist who’s trying to find her muse, as well as taking a break from her struggling marriage. Both characters meet new people who will change their lives forever, taking them on spiritual journeys that will hopefully lead to happiness – or at least, a possible path to fulfillment.
Smart, funny, and mysterious, Forest Dark is like nothing else you’ll read this year. But that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been lots of other great recent novels written by female authors that are sure to appeal to fans of Krauss. As soon as you finish Forest Dark, here are 4 other thoughtful novels by women that you do not want to miss this fall:
Manhattan Beach, Jennifer Egan (Scribner, October 3, 2017)
Egan won a Pulitzer for her masterful 2013 novel, A Visit From the Goon Squad. Her latest book is just as engaging, and is receiving lots of early praise – she’s already been longlisted for the National Book Award (we also clearly love it here at Booktrib!). A historical novel set mostly in the 1940s, Manhattan Beach is a story about family, secrets, and identities that we fight to hold onto. It follows Anna Kerrigan, a young woman who works as a diver in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, repairing ships during WWII. When she meets an old friend of her father’s by chance, she starts to piece together the fragments of her past and her family – including the reason why her father may have mysteriously disappeared.
Sing, Unburied, Sing, Jesmyn Ward (Scribner, September 5, 2017)
Another National Book Award nominee, Sing, Unburied, Sing is the kind of devastating novel that will stay with you long after you read it. The story centers on Jojo, a young teen who often feels unrooted in his identity. With a father in prison and a drug addict mother, he’s forced to care for his toddler sister even as he struggles to find his place in the world. When his father is released from prison, his mother takes their family on a harrowing road trip to Mississippi, where the literal ghosts of the past blend with her drug-addled dreams, as well as Jojo’s efforts to keep them all from falling apart. Haunting in every sense of the word, Sing, Unburied, Sing is an unflinching examination of family, legacy, and how difficult it is to move on from the past.
Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng (Penguin Press, September, 12, 2017)
With blurbs from authors like Jodi Picoult and John Green, Little Fires Everywhere has been generating buzz for months. And it’s no wonder why – the deftly constructed novel is an intimate look at how secrets can both bring us together and tear us apart. When single mother Mia Warren moves into the idyllic suburb of Shaker Heights, she forms an instant bond with the Richardson family, people who are more than comfortable in their orderly, privileged world. But Mia has secrets, ones that Elena Richardson becomes determined to discover. Soon everyone’s ideals are shaken up, as suspicions arise and a seemingly perfect community begins to come apart at the seams.
Good Me Bad Me, Ali Land (Flatiron Books, September 5, 2017)
Land’s debut novel is so suspenseful and engaging that you’ll find yourself craving more and more – even weeks after the book is finished. Milly is a teenager who was raised in the most horrifying of circumstances: her mother is a serial killer, and she grew up with firsthand knowledge of how cruel and dark the world can be. Milly fights hard to keep the “good” version of herself on the surface, but when you’re raised around so much destruction, the “bad” is always threatening to come out. After turning her mother into authorities, she’s the key witness in the upcoming trial. But between bullying at her school and the obsessive darkness boiling inside her, there’s no guarantee that Milly will, or can, let the “good” win. Good Me Bad Me will keep you on the edge of your seat, both hopeful and terrified as you watch Milly battle for her own soul.
For more on Forest Dark and Nicole Krauss, check out her interview on the Just the Right Book Podcast with Roxanne Coady!