The Cat’s Table by Michael Ondaatje (Knopf, $26.00)
Release Date: October 4
There’s a lyricism about Ondaatje’s writing and a beauty to his prose that makes me want to take any journey with him—especially this latest one chronicling a young boy’s voyage on a ship bound for England and the rag-tag band of boys seated with him at the titular table.
The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28.00)
Release Date: October 11
Last I saw Eugenides it was a few years after The Virgin Suicides and just before Middlesex and the Pulitzer Prize. I thought: this dude has style, from the rolled cuffs of the dark-wash jeans he was wearing, to the unexpected first-person plural narrative voice of The Virgin Suicides. I’m curious to see what his first novel in almost 10 years looks like, concerned as it is with the marriage plot—that weathered old chestnut at the heart of many a great English novel which chronicles courtship rituals (traditionally) between men and women on the way to the altar.
Zone One by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday, $25.95)
Release Date: October 18
I’ve been a fan of Whitehead’s since The Intuitionist, his genre-bending exploration of racial congress and upward social mobility set within his brilliantly imagined, cutthroat world of elevator inspectors. Now that he has set his sights on deconstructing the post-apocalyptic zombie novel, I am all a-flutter.
In Other Worlds: Science Fiction and the Human Imagination by Margaret Atwood (Nan A. Talese, $24.95)
Release Date: October 18
Sometimes Canada gets it right: maple syrup, hockey and the venerable Mags Atwood. What can you say about the woman who’s given us some of the greatest science fiction on the planet? This collection brings together heretofore unpublished lectures, essays and reviews in which Atwood discusses her relationship to the genre.
IQ84 by Haruki Murakami (Knopf, $30.50)
Release Date: October 25
At 944 pages, Murakami’s latest is being touted as a magnum opus. It’s his take on Orwell’s 1984, set in Tokyo in the same year and it follows the adventures of a young woman who discovers a parallel universe. Personally, I’d like to see this tome duke it out in a three-way death match with two other massive, recently-released tree-killers, Reamde by Neal Stephenson and A Dance with Dragons by George R.R. Martin. It has some serious weight, literary and otherwise, to throw around.
October 2011, Erica David