Anticipated 2017 Fiction

Anticipated Reads: Early 2017 Fiction

After some pretty lackluster reading in 2016, I’m definitely ready to turn my attention to everything 2017 has to bring. I can’t kid myself with the expectation of getting through all of these, especially with the downturn in my reading the last few months, but these are some of the novels I’m looking forward to most (and descriptions courtesy of their publishers).

Idaho by Emily Ruskovich (January 3, 2017)

“Ann and Wade have carved out a living for themselves from a rugged landscape, but they are bound together by more than love. In a story told from multiple perspectives—Ann, Wade, Wade’s first wife Jenny, now in prison for murder—and in exquisite, razor-sharp prose, we gradually learn of the shocking act that originally brought Ann and Wade together, and which reverberates through the lives of every character in Idaho.”

The Most Dangerous Place on Earth by Lindsey Lee Johnson (January 10, 2017)

“A debut novel for readers of Everything I Never Told You and Prep, which unleashes a colorful cast of characters into one of the world’s most dangerous places: The American high school. In an edenic community of wealthy Bay Area families, Molly Nicholl, a replacement teacher from a poorer, scrubbier version of California arrives in the middle of the school year and soon becomes intrigued by the hidden lives of her privileged students. Unknown to her, a tragedy from middle school years continues to reverberate for ‘her’ kids.”

Human Acts by Han Kang (January 17, 2017)

“In the midst of a violent student uprising in South Korea, a young boy named Dong-ho is shockingly killed. The story of this tragic episode unfolds in a sequence of interconnected chapters as the victims and the bereaved encounter suppression, denial, and the echoing agony of the massacre. From Dong-ho’s best friend who meets his own fateful end; to an editor struggling against censorship; to a prisoner and a factory worker, each suffering from traumatic memories; and to Dong-ho’s own grief-stricken mother; and through their collective heartbreak and acts of hope is the tale of a brutalized people in search of a voice.”

The Animators by Kayla Rae Whitaker (January 31, 2017)

“In the male-dominated field of animation, Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are a dynamic duo, the friction of their differences driving them: Sharon, quietly ambitious but self-doubting, Mel, brash and unapologetic, always the life of a party. Best friends and artistic partners since the first week of college, where they bonded over their working class roots and obvious talent, they spent their twenties ensconced in a gritty Brooklyn studio. Now, after a decade of striving, the two are finally celebrating the release of their first full-length feature and stand at the cusp of making it big. But with their success comes doubt and destruction, cracks in their relationship threatening the delicate balance of their partnership.”

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle (February 7, 2017)

“Life in a small town takes a dark turn when mysterious footage begins appearing on VHS cassettes at the local Video Hut…in the middle of the movie the screen blink dark for a moment and She’s All That is replaced by a black-and-white scene, shot in a barn, with only the faint sounds of someone breathing. Four minutes later, She’s All That is back. But there is something profoundly disturbing about that scene; Jeremy’s compelled to watch it three or four times. The scenes recorded onto Targets are similar, undoubtedly created by the same hand. Creepy. And the barn looks a lot like a barn just outside of town.”

A Separation by Katie Kitamura (February 7, 2017)

“A young woman has agreed with her faithless husband: it’s time for them to separate. For the moment it’s a private matter, a secret between the two of them. As she begins her new life, alone, she gets word that her ex has gone missing in a remote region in the rugged southern Peloponnese; she reluctantly agrees to go and search for him, still keeping their split to herself. In her heart, she’s not even sure if she wants to find him. Adrift in the wild and barren landscape, she traces the failure of their relationship, and finds that she understands less than she thought about the man she used to love.”

The Woman Next Door by Yewande Omotoso (February 7, 2017)

“The U.S. debut of an award-winning writer, in which an unexpected friendship blossoms in contemporary Cape Town—and in a community where loving thy neighbor is easier said than done. Hortensia James and Marion Agostino are neighbors. One is black, the other white. Both are successful women with impressive careers. Both have recently been widowed, and are living with questions, disappointments, and secrets that have brought them shame. And each has something that the woman next door deeply desires.”

Everything Belongs to Us by Yoojin Grace Wuertz (February 28, 2017)

“This debut novel takes place at the elite Seoul National University in 1970s South Korea during the final years of a repressive regime that also spurred an economic transformation for the country. The novel follows the fates of two women—Jisun, the daughter of a powerful tycoon, who eschews her privilege to become an underground labor activist in Seoul; and Namin, her best friend from childhood, a brilliant, tireless girl who has grown up with nothing, and whose singular goal is to launch herself and her family out of poverty.”

The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler (March 7, 2017)

“An epic novel of intertwining friendships and families set in the Northwoods of Wisconsin at a beloved Boy Scout summer camp-from the bestselling author of Shotgun Lovesongs. Camp Chippewa, 1962. Nelson Doughty, age thirteen, social outcast and overachiever, is the Bugler, sounding the reveille proudly each morning. Yet this particular summer marks the beginning of an uncertain and tenuous friendship with a popular boy named Jonathan.”

The Impossible Fairy Tale by Han Yujoo (March 7, 2017)

The Impossible Fairy Tale is the story of two unexceptional grade-school girls. Mia is “lucky”—she is spoiled by her mother and, as she explains, her two fathers. She gloats over her exotic imported color pencils and won’t be denied a coveted sweater. Then there is the Child who, by contrast, is neither lucky nor unlucky. She makes so little impression that she seems not even to merit a name. At school, their fellow students, whether lucky or luckless or unlucky, seem consumed by an almost murderous rage. Adults are nearly invisible, and the society the children create on their own is marked by cruelty and soul-crushing hierarchies.”

Which novels are you excited to read in early 2017?

  • Oh my gosh – I didn’t know Butler had a new one out – YAY!!! Going to request that immediately!
    I started Idaho – like it so far!
    And Woman Next Door looks super interesting- will check that out too.

  • I’m with you, I think 2017 will be a better year for reading. I have several of these titles on my kindle already, so I’m ready to start the new year right :) Happy Holidays!!

  • RK

    Great list. Several of these are on my TBR as well.

  • Kailana

    I have to make some changes to my reading next year. Mainly, less books have to enter my house than did this year. lol

  • Great list! I had four of these on my list. I just finished Idaho and really liked it. I didn’t have Human Acts on my list, but based on you and several others, I need to take a closer look. Enjoy the holidays!

  • Ti Reed

    I’ve got The Most Dangerous Place on Earth and Human Acts as well. I wish I could just sit and read all day long. So many great books to get to right now.

    • They’re both sitting here waiting for me and I’m looking forward to picking them up! Right there with you on wishing for the time :)

  • Oh, wow…Universal Harvester!!! That sounds so interesting! I am also looking forward to Idaho and The Most Dangerous Place on Earth, as well as The Fall of Lisa Bellow by Susan Perabo (in February). Thank you for the great ideas, Shannon!

  • Lauren

    JOHN DARNIELLE AND NIKOLAS BUTLER HAVE NEW BOOKS COMING OUT AND I MAY BE SHOUTING THIS BUT I KNOW YOU OF ALL PEOPLE ARE NOT GOING TO STOP ME AS THIS IS SHOUT-WORTHY NEWS EVEN ABSENT THE CURRENT SEA OF SHITTY NEWS. xx

    • I won’t be stopping you at all!! So exciting, isn’t it?? Notable that they’re the only dudes worthy of a spot on my list ;)

  • I was able to get an advance copy of Human Acts. A very well written book, and I learned a ton! I think you will enjoy it!

  • Ooooh yes! I never got around to reading Wolf in White Van but Universal Harvester sounds fantastic!

  • Oh yes yes YES to The Woman Next Door. A bunch of these look awesome, but that’s one that I’m particularly looking forward to. I was disappointed in a nonfiction book about contemporary South Africa that I read this year, and I’m hoping that The Woman Next Door will be a corrective emotional experience. :p I’m just really fascinated by the whole country — the way it was shaped by race but in a totally different set of ways than the way the US was shaped by it, and just how that’s all played out in modern times.

    • It really is so fascinating and I’ve definitely not read enough about it outside specific events/people. And so few novels!
      I don’t know why I always think about this when my brain goes to South Africa, but have you seen Searching for Sugarman? I think maybe you said you’re not really a documentary person (if I’m remembering right) but you should look up the story – so interesting!

  • I honestly believe there is a hex on 2016 because it was craptastic in so many areas! Most of which you and I agree on- including, it seems, books. It started strong but by fall everything was ‘meh’. I know a certain amount of it is me, but I jumped the gun on 2017 and read Idaho and maybe I’ll be the only one, but I did not like it at all.

    At this point I’m looking forward to the new novels from Paul Auster, Lisa See, Sarah Dunant and Vaddy Ratner. Please let them all be amazing!

  • Love your lists as usual! Most of these authors are new to me and looking forward to reading Butler’s new one. I have high hopes for 2017!!

  • Shan

    All books I haven’t heard of, so more to add to my list!
    I’m looking forward to:
    American War – Omar El Akkad
    Rich People Problems – Kevin Kwan
    No One Can Pronounce My Name – Rakesh Satyal

  • Ooooh! So happy to see Hang Kang on the list, though I’m sure the book will rip my guts out.

  • Yes I’m curious about Idaho and Human Acts. I missed Kang’s first one so I’m thinking I should read this one.