Fall fiction: A parade of heavy hitters

  • Article by: LAURIE HERTZEL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 7, 2012 - 2:45 PM
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Zadie Smith

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ZADIE SMITH

7:30 p.m. Oct. 23 at Coffman Memorial Union, University of Minnesota

Beginning with the 2000 publication of "White Teeth," which won her a six-figure advance when she was 21 and still a student at Cambridge, Zadie Smith has made a name for herself as a smart, lyric and unsentimental chronicler of modern-day multicultural England. Her new novel, "NW," focuses on a small corner of urban London and the people who populate and visit it. (It's also the neighborhood where Smith herself grew up.) Critics have called Smith irreverent, earnest and funny as hell. "NW" looks like it'll live up to that, and then some.

The Penguin Press, Sept. 4.

"Telegraph Avenue," by Michael Chabon. His first novel in five years (he's been writing nonfiction) focuses on two longtime friends and co-owners of a slowly dying used-record store. Already optioned for film.

Harper, Sept. 11. Appearing at Talk of the Stacks, Minneapolis Central Library, 7 p.m. Sept. 21.

"Joseph Anton," by Salman Rushdie. In 1989, Salman Rushdie was sentenced to death by Iran's Ayatollah Khomeini for writing "The Satanic Verses," a book deemed "against Islam." For more than nine years, Rushdie hid; his code name, "Joseph Anton" -- the tile of this memoir of that time -- was an homage to Joseph Conrad and Anton Chekhov.

Random House, Sept. 18. Appearing at Pen Pals, Hopkins Center for the Arts, 7:30 p.m. Oct. 18 and 11 a.m. Oct. 19.

"It's Fine by Me," by Per Petterson. Fans of "I Curse the River of Time" will welcome back Arvid Jansen, who plays a supporting role in this coming-of-age novel about teenage boys in Norway. This is one of several books from Petterson's backlist that Graywolf Press will publish over the next few years.

Graywolf Press, Oct. 2.

"Back to Blood," by Tom Wolfe. Another big, sprawling, engrossing, hilarious, character-packed and action-driven novel by the master chronicler of modern America.

Little, Brown, Oct. 23.

"Astray," by Emma Donoghue. A new collection of short stories by the Irish-Canadian author of the so-gripping "Room."

Little, Brown, Oct. 30.

"Flight Behavior," by Barbara Kingsolver. An unhappy farm wife spots what she thinks is a sign from God: a forest valley filled with fire.

Harper, Nov. 6

"Dear Life," by Alice Munro. A new collection of short stories by the unparalleled Munro, winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize and the Commonwealth Prize.

Alfred A. Knopf, Nov. 13.

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