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Most Anticipated Fall 2021 Literary Fiction Books

Looking for books that are more character-driven than plot-driven?

Last Updated on August 19, 2022 by BiblioLifestyle

Fall 2021 Literary Fiction Books

Looking for those books that are more character-driven than plot-driven?  We have you covered with a list of bestselling authors you’re already acquainted with and debut authors making their mark in the genre.  So make space on your bookshelves, stop by your favorite indie bookstore, and make those library requests after you’ve browsed our most anticipated literary fiction books of Fall 2021!

Fault Lines by Emily Itami

Fault Lines by Emily Itami

Combining the incisive intimacy of Sally Rooney with the sharp wit of Helen Fielding, a compulsively readable and astonishingly relatable debut novel about marriage, motherhood, love, self and the vibrant, surprising city that is modern Tokyo.

Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night : A Novel Jon Kalman Stefansson

Summer Light, and Then Comes the Night by Jon Kalman Stefansson

Sometimes, in small places, life becomes bigger.

SUMMER LIGHT AND THEN COMES THE NIGHT is a profound and playful masterwork from one of Iceland’s most beloved authors that explores the dreams and desires of ordinary people in a rural town.

The Archer  Shruti Swamy

The Archer by Shruti Swamy

In this transfixing novel, a young woman comes of age in 1960s- and 1970s-era Bombay, a vanished world that is complex and indelibly rendered.

In Every Mirror She's Black : A Novel Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

In Every Mirror She’s Black by Lolá Ákínmádé Åkerström

In Every Mirror She’s Black is a fast-paced, richly nuanced yet accessible contemporary novel that touches on important social issues of racism, classism, fetishization, and tokenism, and what it means to be a Black woman navigating a white-dominated society.

Beautiful World, Where Are You : A Novel Sally Rooney

Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney

Alice, a novelist, meets Felix, who works in a warehouse, and asks him if he’d like to travel to Rome with her. In Dublin, her best friend, Eileen, is getting over a break-up, and slips back into flirting with Simon, a man she has known since childhood.

The War for Gloria : A novel Atticus Lish

The War for Gloria by Atticus Lish

From the author of the PEN/Faulkner Award-winning debut novel Preparation for the Next Life, a gripping, tender, unforgettable story about fathers and sons, regret and redemption.

Talk to Me : A Novel T.C. Boyle

Talk to Me by T.C. Boyle

From bestselling and award-winning author T.C. Boyle, a lively, thought-provoking novel that asks us what it would be like if we could really talk to the animals.

Snowflake : A Novel Louise Nealon

Snowflake by Louise Nealon

An exquisitely talented young Irish writer makes her literary debut with this powerful and haunting novel–a tale of love and family, depression and joy, and coming of age in the twenty-first century.

Assembly  Natasha Brown

Assembly by Natasha Brown

The daughter of one of the South’s most famous Baptist preachers discovers a shocking secret about her father that puts her at odds with both her faith and her family.

Lean Fall Stand : A Novel Jon Mcgregor

Lean Fall Stand by Jon Mcgregor

Tenderly unraveling different notions of heroism through the rippling effects of one extraordinary expedition on an ordinary family, Lean Fall Stand explores the indomitable human impulse to turn our experiences into stories–even when the words may fail us.

The Book of Form and Emptiness : A Novel Ruth Ozeki

The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki

With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth : A Novel Wole Soyinka

Chronicles from the Land of the Happiest People on Earth by Wole Soyinka

The first Black winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature gives us a tour de force, his first novel in nearly half a century: a savagely satiric, gleefully irreverent, rollicking fictional meditation on how power and greed can corrupt the soul of a nation.

Love and Other Thought Experiments  Sophie Ward

Love and Other Thought Experiments by Sophie Ward

This impressive debut novel, longlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize, takes its premise and inspiration from ten of the best-known thought experiments in philosophy–the what-ifs of philosophical investigation–and uses them to talk about love in a wholly unique way.

The Morning Star : A Novel Karl Ove Knausgaard

The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard

Sankofa : A Novel Chibundu Onuzo

Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo

Masterful in its examination of freedom, prejudice, and personal and public inheritance, Sankofa is a story for anyone who has ever gone looking for a clear identity or home, and found something more complex in its place.

My Monticello : Fiction Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson

A young woman descended from Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings driven from her neighborhood by a white militia. A university professor studying racism by conducting a secret social experiment on his own son. A single mother desperate to buy her first home even as the world hurtles toward catastrophe. Each fighting to survive in America.

Tales from the Cafe : A Novel Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Tales from the Cafe by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

From the author of the international bestseller Before the Coffee Gets Cold, this book follows four new customers who hope to travel back in time in a little Japanese café.

What Happens at Night  Peter Cameron

What Happens at Night by Peter Cameron

An unnamed American couple travels to a strange, snowy European city to adopt a baby. It’s a difficult journey that leaves the wife, who is struggling with cancer, desperately weak, and her husband worries that her illness will prevent the orphanage from releasing their child.

Monster in the Middle : A Novel Tiphanie Yanique

Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique

From the award-winning author of Land of Love and Drowning, an electric new novel that maps the emotional inheritance of one couple newly in love.

Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Dreaming of You by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

A macabre novel in verse of loss, longing, and identity crises following a poet who resurrects pop star Selena from the dead.  Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s Dreaming of You is an absurd yet heartfelt examination of celebrity worship.

Burntcoat : A Novel Sarah Hall

Burntcoat by Sarah Hall

An intimate and vital examination of how and why we create–make art, form relationships, build a life–and an urgent exploration of an unprecedented crisis, the repercussions of which are still years in the learning.

New York, My Village : A Novel Uwem Akpan

New York, My Village by Uwem Akpan

Akpan’s prose melds humor, tenderness, and pain to explore the myriad ways that tribalisms define life everywhere, from the villages of Nigeria to the villages within New York City. New York, My Village is a triumph of storytelling and a testament to the life-sustaining power of community across borders and across boroughs.

The Sentence  Louise Erdrich

The Sentence by Louise Erdrich

In this unusual and forceful novel, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich creates a wickedly funny ghost story, a tale of passion, of a complex marriage, and of a woman’s relentless errors.

O Beautiful  Jung Yun

O Beautiful by Jung Yun

From the critically-acclaimed author of Shelter, an unflinching portrayal of a woman trying to come to terms with the ghosts of her past and the tortured realities of a deeply divided America.

Chouette : A Novel Claire Oshetsky

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky

Arresting, darkly funny, and unsettling, Chouette is a brilliant exploration of ambition, sacrifice, perceptions of ability, and the ferocity of motherly love.

The Teller of Secrets : A Novel Bisi Adjapon

The Teller of Secrets by Bisi Adjapon

In this stunning debut novel–a tale of self-discovery and feminist awakening–a feisty Nigerian-Ghanaian girl growing up amid the political upheaval of late 1960s postcolonial Ghana begins to question the hypocrisy of her patriarchal society, and the restrictions and unrealistic expectations placed on women.

What do you think about the books on this list?

Are you looking forward to any of these books?  What literary fiction books are you looking forward to in 2021?  What books would you add to the list?

Book List - Fall 2021 Literary Fiction Books

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  1. Terrie Jordan says:

    Yes! Half of them and more. I live literary fiction and you featured some great ones. ❤️

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