The novelist Haruki Murakami
The world-conquering author Haruki Murakami.
Photograph: Murdo MacLeod for the Guardian


The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
Hamish Hamilton
The Trojan war has been revisited many times since Homer; now women’s voices come to the fore at last. The author of the Regeneration trilogy is one of our finest modern chroniclers of war, and her latest book is a retelling of the Iliad from the point of view of Briseis, the queen who becomes Achilles’s slave after her family is slaughtered. This magisterial novel is both a timely exploration of power, misogyny and violence and an elegant counternarrative to one of literature’s founding conflicts.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Written with a sharp contemporary flavour … Normal People by Sally Rooney.

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Longlisted for the Man Booker prize, the twentysomething Irish writer’s second novel more than fulfils the precocious promise of last year’s debut Conversations With Friends. It’s an old story – a will-they-won’t-they romance between two young people, who are coming of age and trying to find out how they fit into the world around them – but written with a sharp contemporary flavour and in an exquisitely witty, economical style. The pressures of class, family and society crowd in, but it’s Rooney’s ability to illuminate intimacy and interiority that really shines.

Transcription by Kate Atkinson
The much-loved author returns with a world war two spy novel that has enormous fun with the conventions of the genre while bringing scrupulous research and rigorous empathy to the tribulations of the war. Recruited by MI5 to transcribe meetings between undercover agents and fascist sympathisers, Juliet is an innocent caught up in a cloak-and-dagger world that combines arch theatricality with the daily grind. Everyone gets hoodwinked – including the reader.

Love is Blind by William Boyd
The vagaries of fate, chance and the human heart … Love Is Blind by William Boyd.

Love Is Blind by William Boyd
Boyd often showcases an era through the portrait of an individual. In his globetrotting 15th novel, we follow a young Scottish piano tuner, Brodie Moncur, who escapes stuffy Edinburgh for the excitement of Paris at the dawn of the 20th century, where he falls head over heels for a Russian singer, as Boyd explores the vagaries of fate, chance and the human heart.

Melmoth by Sarah Perry
Serpent’s Tail (2 October)
The eagerly awaited follow-up to The Essex Serpent is a much darker beast: a modern response to Charles Maturin’s 1820 gothic classic Melmoth the Wanderer, and a meditation on moral responsibility in the face of atrocity. An English translator, hiding from her past in Prague, uncovers the legend of Melmoth – a woman in black who wanders the world bearing witness to humanity’s worst crimes. Perry’s customary tender characterisation and wit combine with oodles of gothic atmosphere for a singular ghost story.

Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami, translated by Ted Goossen and Philip Gabriel
Harvill Secker (9 October)
A new novel from the world-conquering Japanese author is always an event. His first in four years focuses on a Tokyo portrait painter who is hiding away in the mountain retreat of a famous artist after his wife demands a divorce: there he discovers a painting in the attic which bends reality into strange new shapes. Murakami ponders art, war and, as ever, loneliness, as a ringing bell, a mysterious well and various odd characters lead his antihero on a voyage of self-discovery.

Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak
Insights into family, forgiveness and literature … Bridge of Clay by Marcus Zusak.

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak
Doubleday (11 October)
It’s 11 years since the Australian author’s YA/crossover novel The Book Thief was published in the UK, where it has sold 1m copies. This adult follow-up is the story of five young brothers who have been living without grownups, awaiting the return of their father and poised to discover the secret behind his disappearance. Expect insights into family, forgiveness and literature, in a tale with echoes of John Irving.

Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver
Faber (18 October)
The Orange prize winner’s eighth novel features two people 150 years apart who stand against society’s prevailing winds. In 2016, Willa watches the rise of Trump with horror; in 1871, science teacher Thatcher brings the ideas of Darwin to a small town that doesn’t want to be challenged by them. Kingsolver uses her dual narrative to interrogate both the madness of societies and the individual’s power to resist.

Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif
An absurdist riff on modern conflict … Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif.

Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif
Bloomsbury (18 October)
British Pakistani writer Mohammed Hanif erupted on to the literary scene with A Case of Exploding Mangoes in 2008. His new novel, set in and around a refugee camp in an unnamed country occupied by the US, exhibits his trademark black comedy. The narrators are a US pilot forced to crash land on his way to bombing the camp, a young would-be entrepreneur whose aid worker is writing a book on the teenage Muslim mind, and a philosophical dog, it’s an absurdist riff on modern conflict with shades of Catch-22.

Middle England by Jonathan Coe
Viking (8 November)
The man who skewered Thatcherism in What a Carve Up! leads us along the sorry road to Brexit. Middle England runs from 2010 to the present, and examines a divided country through characters from his earlier novels The Rotters’ Club and The Closed Circle, now deep into middle age, and their precarious progeny. From post-industrial Birmingham to the London riots and the current political gridlock, it takes in family, literature and love in a comedy for our times.

Michelle Obama
A working mother under ‘an unforgiving media glare’ … Michelle Obama.
Photograph: Ross D. Franklin/AP


The Spy and the Traitor by Ben Macintyre
Viking (20 September)
Macintyre specialises in a kind of Boy’s Own non-fiction, books about espionage and derring do that usually hit the top of the bestseller charts. He has now turned his attention to Oleg Gordievsky, the most important British agent of the cold war, in a book that John le Carré has blurbed as “the best true spy story I have ever read”. Gordievsky, a KGB officer, spied for MI6 for 11 years; when he was recalled to Moscow, British intelligence helped him to escape back to the UK. It’s a thrilling story and it’s certainly a good moment to write about Russian spies.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen
Sparky, forthright stories … My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen.

My Thoughts Exactly by Lily Allen
Blink (20 September)
The singer, songwriter and strong Twitter presence hopes to appeal to celebrity memoir fans with a revealing book set to include discussions of “feminism, the tabloids, money, faking orgasms, bad managers, fame, sexual abuse, mental health, narcissism, motherhood, stalking and parking tickets”. Her most recent album depicted the collapse of her marriage. Expect more of that here, along with sparky, forthright stories of drink and drugs and growing up in the limelight.

Nervous States: How Feeling Took Over the World by William Davies
Jonathan Cape (20 September)
Davies, a rising star in the world of political thought, has written a much-needed book that provides an original explanatory framework for our current predicament – Trump and Brexit included. In a study full of contemporary examples, but which begins in the 17th century, Davies argues that populists shouldn’t be attacked for being “post-truth” and “emotional”; we should recognise, he argues, that it is the speed of life in the digital era that is making public debate increasingly instinctive and warlike.

Our Boys by Helen Parr
Moving and thoughtful … Our Boys by Helen Parr.

Our Boys: The Story of a Paratrooper by Helen Parr
Allen Lane (26 September)
At the centre of the outstanding Our Boys is the story of Dave Parr, the author’s uncle, who died on the final day of the Falklands war. An exploration of conflict, “manliness” and Britain’s changing relationship with its soldiers, it foregrounds the experiences of people who lived through the conflict, and contrasts the expectations put on an elite regiment with the shocking and awful reality of combat. Our Boys is an non-judgmental book, as moving as it is thoughtful.

Thomas Cromwell: A Life by Diarmaid MacCulloch
Allen Lane (27 September)
By the end of the 1530s Cromwell, a self-made “ruffian” as he described himself, was effectively running the country for Henry VIII. It was one of the most momentous eras in English history, and the king’s chief minister was central to the religious break with Rome, unprecedented use of parliament and the dissolution of all monasteries. Much of this historical story, however significant, would be arcane for the ordinary reader were it not for the brilliance of Hilary Mantel’s fictional treatment in Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies (the last book in the trilogy is expected next year). Mantel has said that MacCulloch’s heavyweight biography is the one “we have been awaiting for 400 years”. It is as stylishly written as it is scholarly.

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
Investigating energy, agriculture and commerce … The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis.
Photograph: AP

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis
Allen Lane (2 October)
In the hands of a different author, and at a less astonishing time, the subject of this book might seem unpromising: an investigation into the US departments of energy, agriculture and commerce. But Lewis has written Moneyball and The Big Short and knows how to uncover the terrific, page-turning stories that lurk within big institutions – in this case the catastrophic risks that result from the Trump administration’s ignorance, neglect and undermining of government. Bureaucracy has rarely seemed so important.

Brief Answers to the Big Questions by Stephen Hawking
John Murray (16 October)
The cosmologist’s A Brief History of Time has now sold more than 13m copies. This final book, comprising reflections from his archive, was under discussion at the time of Hawking’s death in March. The questions are big indeed, and include everything from “alien intelligence, and the existence of God to the importance of space colonisation, and the perils and promise of artificial intelligence”.

Murder by the Book by Claire Harman
A shocking literary crime … Murder by the Book by Claire Harman.

Murder by the Book by Claire Harman
Viking (25 October)
The body of Lord William Russell, his throat cut, was discovered in his Mayfair townhouse in May 1840. He was a former politician and member of a famous family and his murder caused a huge scandal and was investigated by the fledgling Metropolitan police. Award-winning biographer Harman focuses on the killer’s claim to have been inspired by a sensational novel, and the debate about fiction that ensued. Her publishers must be hoping readers of The Suspicions of Mr Whicher will be drawn to an equally shocking but more literary crime.

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
Bloomsbury (1 November)
The American writer has apparently been at work on this memoir since he was 11. It is addressed to his mother, who rose from poverty to become a professor of political science, and recounts Laymon’s experiences of sexual violence, racism, gambling and obesity – he weighed 300lb as a teenager. At its centre is his body, and what it is to be a black man in the US. Laymon’s essays have attracted much attention: this set of reflections, in which he attempts “to name secrets and lies that he and his mother spent a lifetime avoiding”, has been long awaited.

Becoming by Michelle Obama
Viking (13 November)
Barack and Michelle Obama announced last year that they were both writing memoirs; the joint deal for the books was reportedly worth $60m. The former first lady is the first to finish and she follows in the footsteps of nearly all her predecessors since Lady Bird Johnson in producing a post-White House autobiography. Not much has been revealed of Becoming: Obama has said she will “talk about my roots and how a little girl from the South Side of Chicago found her voice”. The memoir, a major publishing event, will consider how she dealt with being a working mother under “an unforgiving media glare”.

Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike in the BBC adaptation of Career of Evil
Tom Burke as Cormoran Strike in the BBC adaptation of Career of Evil.
Photograph: BBC/Bronte Film & TV Ltd/Steffan Hill

Crime and thrillers

Lethal White by Robert Galbraith
Sphere (18 September)
In the fourth mystery from JK Rowling’s alter ego, Cormoran Strike investigates a troubled young man’s story of a crime he witnessed as a child.

Tombland by CJ Sansom
Matthew Shardlake’s seventh outing … Tombland by CJ Sansom.

Tombland by CJ Sansom
Mantle (18 October)
Tudor investigator Matthew Shardlake’s seventh outing takes him to Norwich, where he finds himself caught up in Kett’s rebellion, a peasants’ revolt of 1549.

Wild Fire by Ann Cleeves
The eighth and final novel in Cleeves’s Shetland series sees DI Jimmy Perez investigate the death of a young nanny working for English incomers.

The House on Vesper Sands by Paraic O’Donnell
Weidenfeld & Nicolson (18 October)
This literary mystery is a compelling, darkly funny portrait of late Victorian London, and focuses on crimes with a supernatural flavour.

In A House of Lies by Ian Rankin
Orion (4 October)
Rebus just keeps rolling on: the retired DI returns to help a former colleague solve a case with its roots in the past.

The writer Stephen King
At home in Maine … the writer Stephen King.
Photograph: Steve Schofield

Science fiction and fantasy

Red Moon by Kim Stanley Robinson
Orbit (25 October)
A few decades from now we have colonised the moon, in this thoughtful thriller about space exploration and political revolutions on earth.

Elevation by Stephen King
Hodder & Stoughton (30 October)
King’s late flowering continues with an understated novella about a man beset by a mysterious affliction.

How Long ’Til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin
Dragons in New Orleans … How Long ’Til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin.

How Long ’Til Black Future Month? by NK Jemisin
Orbit (29 November)
In the first collection of short fiction from a triple Hugo award-winner, dragons haunt post-Katrina New Orleans and a mother struggles with a spirit in the deep south.

Thin Air by Richard Morgan
Gollancz (25 October)
A bodyguard packing military-grade body tech finds murder and corruption as commercial interests collide on Mars, in the latest from the author of Altered Carbon.

Rosewater by Tade Thompson
Orbit (20 September)
UK publication for this award-winning tale of an alien biodome which lands in near-future Nigeria.

The writer Jacqueline Wilson
Jacqueline Wilson.
Photograph: David Levene for the Guardian


Into the Jungle by Katherine Rundell
Bloomsbury (20 September)
Origin stories for the characters of Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book are interwoven in a clever framing narrative by the Costa-winning author of The Explorer, with lush illustrations from Kristjana S Williams.

And the Ocean Was Our Sky by Patrick Ness
A retelling of Moby-Dick from the perspective of Bathsheba and her human-hunting whale pod, with illustrations by Rovina Cai.

The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay
Macmillan (20 September)
Clarry and Peter are love-starved. The only bright times are summers in Cornwall – until the shadow of war falls … McKay is at her best in this poignant family drama.

My Mum Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson
Doubleday (4 October)
Tracy is all grown up – but will her anarchic zest for life change when she acquires a rich new boyfriend? Told from the perspective of Tracy’s daughter Jess and with illustrations by Nick Sharratt, this is as riotous and irresistible as the original books.

The Way Past Winter by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Chicken House
In a harsh perpetual winter, Mila and her sisters eke out a precarious existence – until their brother is taken by strangers. A compelling icy adventure from the author of The Island at the End of Everything.

Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds
Warm-hearted satire … Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds.

Graphic novels

Cassandra Darke by Posy Simmonds
Jonathan Cape (1 November)
In Simmonds’s latest clever, nuanced, warm-hearted satire a heartless art dealer makes a discovery in her Chelsea basement that pushes her out of a grim rut and into a dark quest.

Heimat: A German Family Album by Nora Krug
Particular (4 October)
Krug probes her family’s actions in Nazi Germany, conducting interviews and roaming archives and flea markets. She confronts past and present in a book that’s been praised for its invention and bravery.

Passing for Human by Liana Finck
Jonathan Cape (20 September)
You can get a taste of Finck via her darkly moreish Instagram account, but it’s worth diving deep into her second graphic novel. A beautiful, fictionalised memoir combines intelligence and appealingly scratchy artwork with serious soul-searching.

Berlin: City of Light by Jason Lutes
Drawn & Quarterly
In the third volume of Lutes’s interwar epic, the Nazis are in power. The personal and political have been woven tight throughout the trilogy, mixing riots, cabaret, communism and noirish artwork.

Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan
Walker Studio (25 September)
Tan’s weird, wild books often defy categorisation. Here short stories blend with art showing luminous fish and skyscraper-dwelling deer; strangeness doesn’t lurk below the surface but stands blinking in the city’s bright lights.

The poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy
Elegiac reflections … the poet laureate Carol Ann Duffy.
Photograph: Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images


Sincerity by Carol Ann Duffy
Picador (1 November)
Duffy’s final collection as poet laureate lays bare the complexity of both the personal and the public realms, through elegiac reflections and caustic exposure of the political deceptions of our turbulent times.

Old Toffer’s Book of Consequential Dogs by Christopher Reid
Faber (27 September)
Reid takes up TS Eliot’s idea for a follow-up to Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, with deft wit and expertise revealing the sheer joy to be found in the best light verse.

As Slow as Possible by Kit Fan
Arc (20 September)
From a reworking of the book of Genesis drawing on Chinese mythology to astute studies of Velázquez and Zurbarán, Fan’s work is wide ranging, sharp-eyed and thought-provoking.

Running Upon the Wires by Kate Tempest
As one love affair ends and another begins, Tempest renders the heightened emotions with her customary blend of arresting rhythm and linguistic energy.

Hell by Alasdair Gray
Canongate (4 October)
The first part of Dante’s Divine Comedy filtered through Gray’s unique visual and verbal imagination, or, as he puts it, “Decorated and Englished in Prosaic Verse”.

Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci
Explaining the president … former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
Photograph: Christopher Lane


Can We All Be Feminists? edited by June Eric-Udorie
Virago (27 September)
Writers and thinkers from diverse backgrounds interrogate race, religion and class and ask what can be done to make feminism more inclusive.

The Apprentice: Trump, Russia and the Subversion of American Democracy by Greg Miller
William Collins (2 October)
Pulitzer prize–winning reporter Miller investigates the Kremlin’s covert efforts to stop Hillary Clinton and elect Trump, which resulted in the 2016 presidential election being described as the political crime of the century.

Identity by Francis Fukuyama
Profile (4 October)
Fukuyama explores the rise of identity politics, assesses the tensions created in liberal democracies by demands that are not solely economic, and asks what might be lost in a rejection of universal forms of recognition.

The Future of Capitalism by Paul Collier
Allen Lane (4 October)
Across the west societies are becoming increasingly divided both economically and politically. Collier, an economist, examines how these rifts have emerged and proposes ethical as well as economic prescriptions to help heal them.

Trump: The Blue-Collar President by Anthony Scaramucci
Center Street (23 October)
Anthony “the Mooch” Scaramucci was White House communications director for a turbulent 11 days before being fired by Trump in 2016. Still a strong supporter, he has promised to use his first hand experience to explain “how the president thinks”.