NW by Zadie Smith
Smith (White Teeth, On Beauty) is one of the greatest chroniclers of contemporary London. And in her new novel, she’s embracing that role fully, telling the fictitious story of four siblings who grew up in public housing and struggle to make lives for themselves. Smith has gone on record describing it as a “small book,” but at 416 pages, we beg to differ. In stores Sept 4 (Penguin Group, $26.95).
The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Though we know it’s not another Harry Potter title, not a whole lot else has been revealed about Rowling’s first novel for adults, which is being so closely guarded, it’s as if you-know-who were trapped inside. We do know the book is about a small English town engaged in a civic civil war over a councilman’s seat. Will it be good? We can’t say, but Rowling is a tremendously gifted storyteller, so it’s hard to believe it won’t at least be entertaining. In stores Sept 27 (Little, Brown Publishing, $35).
The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Buffalo Grove native Attenberg has long been a great writer of literary fiction who hasn’t found the success commensurate with her skills. That’ll likely change with The Middlesteins, the story of a family in the Chicago suburbs who comically and epically battle when the mother and father divorce. Marketing bonus: After Attenberg received lots of Internet attention for mocking a Jonathan Franzen talk, the Corrections author blurbed her book. In stores Oct 23 (Grand Central, $24.99).