And now we get to play soothsayer and peek into the future. Here are some of the titles publishing in the first quarter of the new year that we are most looking forward to reading:
'To Paradise,' by Hanya Yanagihara. (Doubleday, Jan. 11.)
Her 2015 novel, "A Little Life," won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award and International Dublin Literary Award. Her new novel spans three centuries, exploring family, love and loss.
'How High We Go in the Dark,' by Sequoia Nagamatsu. (William Morrow, Jan. 18.)
Nagamatsu, who lives in Minneapolis, began writing his debut novel 10 years ago in a Toyko internet cafe — long before anyone had heard of COVID-19. The year is 2030, and a researcher in the Arctic unwittingly releases a long-frozen virus that sends a plague into the world. Nagamatsu will be in conversation with Kawai Strong Washburn, author of "Sharks in the Time of Saviors," Jan. 18 at Moon Palace Books.
'Defenestrate,' by Renee Branum. (Bloomsbury, Jan. 25.)
Ever since an ancestor pushed a stonemason out of a window in Prague, the family at the heart of this novel has been plagued by the myth that they are all doomed to die by falling. Branum will be in conversation with Charles Baxter Feb. 3 at Magers & Quinn.
'Men in My Situation,' by Per Petterson, translated by Ingvild Burkey. (Graywolf Press, Feb. 1.)
Arvid Jansen, a character from Petterson's "In the Wake," must grapple with the deaths of his brothers and parents just as his marriage begins to crumble. Based on tragic events from Petterson's own life.
'Free Love,' by Tessa Hadley. (Harper, Feb. 1.)
Set in the 1960s in the midst of the sexual revolution, Hadley's latest novel centers on Phyllis, a 40-year-old housewife, who finds herself kissing a young man at a party. And everything comes unraveled. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly calls the book "sumptuous and surprising."
'The Counterclockwise Heart,' by Brian Farrey. (Algonquin Books for Young Readers, Feb. 1.)
Prince Alphonsus is harboring a great secret: He has a clock in his chest instead of a heart, and it has begun to tick backwards. A fascinating fairy tale by the Minnesota author of "The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse," winner of a 2017 Minnesota Book Award. He'll launch the book at 7 p.m. Feb. 1 at Red Balloon in St. Paul.
'Moon Witch, Spider King,' by Marlon James. (Riverhead, Feb. 15.)
Long-awaited, hugely anticipated, the second in Marlon James' planned trilogy retells much of the story from "Black Leopard, Red Wolf" (2019) from a different point of view — the view of the 177-year-old Moon Witch, Sogolon.
'The Ogress and the Orphans,' by Kelly Barnhill. (Algonquin, March 8.)
Minnesota writer Barnhill, winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal for "The Girl Who Drank the Moon," is back with another fable. When a child goes missing from the orphanage on the edge of town, the orphans spring into action to find the child and save their beloved Ogress, wrongly accused.
'French Braid,' by Anne Tyler. (Alfred A. Knopf, March 22.)
Another deep dive into family, with hurts and loyalties and silences and history all as twisted together as — well, as a French braid. Does anybody understand families better than Tyler?
'The Candy House,' by Jennifer Egan. (Scribner, April 5.)
In 2020, a tech wizard unveils new technology that allows people to download every memory they've ever had. A spellbinding, cutting-edge novel that is a worthy successor to Egan's Pulitzer Prize-winning "A Visit From the Goon Squad."