When pulling together our early 2013 forecast, one thing stood out: This year heralds the arrival of plenty of long-awaited releases. Below are several novels that readers have been anticipating for quite some time—here’s hoping they were worth the wait!
Benediction by Kent Haruf (Knopf). It has been 8 years since Colorado writer Kent Haruf published a novel, but we’re happy to hear that the author of Plainsong and Eventide will be back in 2013. Haruf is an expert at depicting small-town life, and this sounds like a powerful tale of faith and community. (March)
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout (Random House). Yes, her collection of linked stories, Olive Kitteridge, was published just three years ago, but Strout fans have been waiting for a new novel since 2006. Here she returns to rural Maine, which the Burgess brothers have left for a life in Brooklyn. But they’re drawn back into hometown life after their nephew’s thoughtless prank becomes a scandal. Random House says the book is Strout’s “richest, deepest novel to date.” (read more) (April)
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Knopf). The first novel in seven years from this brilliant young writer follows two teenagers who fall in love in Nigeria, are separated for years and reunite in their home country to find that it—and they—may have changed forever. (read more) (May)
The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud (Knopf). It has been seven years since Messud’s last novel—the acclaimed The Emperor’s Children—but being married to a literary critic probably doesn’t speed up the writing process. She returns with the story of a quiet teacher with dreams of becoming an artist. When she is drawn into a glamorous crowd through the family of one of her students, what appears to be her big break is instead an opening for something more sinister. (May)
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Random House). Marisha Pessl’s debut novel, Special Topics in Calamity Physics, was one of the most-hyped novels of 2006. Pessl’s writing, her $500K+ publishing deal and her fetching author photo combined to create a perfect storm of publicity around the book, which garnered mixed reviews, but all-around high marks for ambition. In 2008, she sold her second novel to a new editor, Kate Medina, and a new publisher, Random House, and it’s finally been scheduled for release on August 20. (read more)
Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan (Harper). It’s been eight long years since Tan published Saving Fish from Drowning. Her next full-length novel is about three generations of Chinese and Chinese-American women whose lives are linked by a painting, and is set in San Francisco and Shanghai over the course of some 50 years. (read more) (October)
Untitled by Diane Setterfield (Emily Bestler Books). OK, this one’s a novella and not a novel, but since Setterfield fans have been waiting since 2006 for more from the British author after her debut, The Thirteenth Tale, rocketed up bestseller lists, we felt it deserved inclusion. (read more) (Fall 2013)
Middle C by William H. Gass (Knopf). It has been 17 years since Gass, an influential writer and critic whose work has won just about every award out there, published a novel. This book goes from 1938 Austria to modern-day Ohio in its exploration of evil, sin and blame. (March)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Knopf). It’s been a long time since 2003′s The Namesake! Set in the 1960s and ’70s, The Lowland is a tale of two Calcutta-born brothers, Subhash and Udayan. Inseparable as children, they find themselves torn apart by the turbulent times when the idealistic Udayan makes a decision that will affect the family for generations to come. (read more) (September)
Untitled Bridget Jones novel by Helen Fielding (Knopf). Fielding published her most recent novel in 2003, but it’s been 14 years since we last heard from her iconic heroine, Bridget Jones. This fall, Fielding is bringing Bridget back for a modern-day adventure, which we assume will involve facing middle age with the same comic insight that she brought to being a “singleton.” Fielding says of the project, “If people laugh as much reading it as I am while writing it then we’ll all be very happy.” (November)
All That Is by James Salter (Knopf). Pretty sure Salter wins the “most long-awaited” award: His last novel, Solo Faces, was published more than 30 years ago, and it’s been seven years since he published his last work of fiction, the short story collection Last Night. This novel is billed as “a sweeping, seductive love story set in post-World War II America that tells of one man’s great passions and regrets over the course of his lifetime.” (April)
Which of these releases have YOU been waiting for? Tell us in the comments!