The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (2022)

Foreign Soil by Maxine Beneba Clarke

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (1)

In her debut story collection, Beneba Clarke, an Australian writer with Afro-Caribbean roots, offers readers a trip around the globe—featuring stories of Sydney, Mississippi, the Sudan, Jamaica, and more—and the chance to meet complex characters fighting for their voices. The book won the Debut Fiction Indie Award and the Literary Fiction Book of the Year when it was released in Australia, and Clarke is already being compared to heavy-hitters (and some of my personal favorites) Marlon James and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, so I'll be on the lookout for this book for sure.(Atria/ 37 INK, 3 January)

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

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Gay, who's earned all manner of critical, New York Times bestseller-list, and Twitter acclaim following her novel An Untamed State and essay collection Bad Feminist, is starting 2017 off with a bang via a new short story collection. The women in its pages range from a wife who pretends not to notice when her husband and his twinbrother switch places, to two sisters abducted as children, and a Black engineer navigating her white male-dominated field, and promises to be a "wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America."(Grove Press, 3 January)

Fever Dream by Samantha Schweblin, translated by Megan McDowell

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (3)

Already a powerhouse in her native Argentina, Schwelbin was named one of the best Spanish writers under 35 by Granta, and called "one of the most promising voices in modern Spanish" by the famed Mario Vargas Llosa. Fever Dream, her first book to be translated into English, is the story of a woman dying in a rural hospital and the stranger who sits beside her, and has been billed by early readers as "a ghost story for the real world."(Riverhead, 10 January)

The Dry by Jane Harper

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (4)

I'm a sucker for a good crime novel, and Harper's debut seems like the perfect anecdote to the bleak midwinter. Following a federal agent's return to his hometown after the death of his best friend, he becomes not only an investigator but also a suspect in a decades-old murder. Harper, a UK-born journalist, uses her investigative skill to shape this page-turner, which from early reviews is poised to be one of the season's biggest hits. (Flatiron Books, 10 January)

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (5)


The follow-up to her bestselling debut Free Food for Millionaires, Lee's new novel is a saga set in 1930s Korea and thenJapan, detailing the struggles of one family's poverty, discrimination, and shame in the wake of a daughter's pregnancy and subsequent abandonment by her lover. Winning early praise from Junot Díaz and David Mitchell, it looks like Pachinko could be headed for the bestseller lists as well. (Grand Central Publishing, 7 February)

Autumn by Ali Smith

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The first in a quartet of "seasons,"Autumn follows two protagonists—one old, one young—in a UK still reeling from thedisruptive Brexit vote. The novels in this series are meant to be both standalone and interwoven, an intriguing and difficult to accomplish feat. We were fans of Smith's novel How to be Both—with two parts to be read in interchangeable order—and it sounds like the fluid interconnectivity of these four books will have similar appeal.(Pantheon, 7 February)

Book of American Martyrs by Joyce Carol Oates

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From one of the most prolific contemporary American writers—author of, among other work, over forty novels—comes the story of two families linked by murder: that of Evangelical Luther Dunphy and the abortion provider he kills, Augustus Voorhees. To be honest, I've fallen a bit behind on my Oates intake (unless you count her Twitter), but this seems like the perfect way back in—a heart-wrenching look at one of the country's most timely and divisive issues.(Ecco, 7 February)

Swimming Lessons by Claire Fuller

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InFuller's second novel, when Ingrid wants to tell her husband, Gil, something, she writes him letters and hides them in his vast book collection. Then, one day, she disappears. Twelve years later, Gil thinks he sees Ingrid—by then presumed drowned— from his window, prompting their daughter's journey to uncover the secrets of her parents' marriage, and what really happened to her mother.(Tin House Books, 7 February)

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

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It's a big year for Attenberg and her characters—in addition to the release of All Grown Up, Helena Bonham Carter is producing and starring in a TV miniseries based on Attenberg's 2015 novel Saint Mazie, set to air in 2017. All Grown Up follows Andrea Bern and her family as Andrea comes to grips with her own idea of adulthood and how different it is from that of her friendsand loved ones. It's very much inthe tradition of Attenberg's other novels: smart, heartfelt, and really freakin' funny.(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 7 March)

The Lucky Ones by Julianne Pachico

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (10)

An expansive tapestry of a debut, this novel interweaves the lives of wealthy teenagers, their maids and teachers, and the guerrillas and paramilitaries of the tumultuous Colombian civil war. Some of the chapters feel like standalone stories, yet at the same time the characters' destinies are inextricable from one another. Pachico, who grew up in Cali, Colombia, has already received acclaim for her short stories.(Spiegel & Grau, 7 March)

The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley by Hannah Tinti

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (11)

Tinti's enjoyable second novel follows a father-daughter pair as they try to make a new life—father Samuel harboring a dark criminal past, daughter Loo chasing his secrets right into the present—for a novel that's part coming-of-age and part thriller. Tinti's first novel, The Good Thief, also featuring lives of crime against a New England backdrop, was a bestseller in 2008.(The Dial Press, 7 March)

Sonora by Hannah Lillith Assadi

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (12)

Confession: I have a hard time paying attention at readings. I like going to bookstores and supporting authors, but once the reading starts, my mind usually wanders. So when I say I once saw Assadi reading a short story and I cried, it's a big deal. I've got a suspicion that her debut—about an Arizona teenager of mixed Palestinian and Israeli heritage coming of age amidst sex and drug experiments with companion Laura, and a series of mysterious deaths claiming their classmates—might have a similar effect.(Soho Press, 28 March)

Marlena by Julie Buntin

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (13)

The teaser text for this novel tells us one of the two teenaged protagonists, wrapped up in drugs and mania in their rural Michigan town, will die within a year of their first meeting. I mean, if that's not a cause for (literary) intrigue, I don't know what is. Of course, the real story lies in the journey, and in how the other survives, and I'm interested to see where this debut author will push the bounds of the coming-of-age story.(Holt, 4 April)

No One Is Coming to Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (14)

Despite its problems, I've had a long-time love of The Great Gatsby, so I'm beyond excited to check out this retelling. Set in the modern-day South, the novel follows the Fergusons, an African-American family who findtheir relationships in flux after years apart, and amidst their son JJ's newfound wealth. Weknow it can't end well for them, butthat won'tstop me from reading this debut.(Ecco, 4 April)

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (15)

The author of this collection has been making waves since last year, when one of these stories was published in the New Yorker and became a finalist for the National Magazine Award. Arimah, who was born in the UK and grew up in Nigeria and Louisiana, creates vivid worlds with a strong sense of displacement, accomplished in part with touches of science fiction and magical realism.(Riverhead, 4 April)

Underground Fugue by Margot Singer

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (16)

Singer's first novel following her prize-winning short story collection The Pale Settlement follows the budding, and potential undoing, of the relationship between Esther, a recent London transplant, and her neighbor Javad, an Iranian neuroscientist, in the wake of the 2005 tube bombings. Early reviewers have likened Singer's prose to Primo Levi's—perhaps one of the most talentedwriters everof violence and trauma—so consider my interest piqued.(Melville House, 4 April)

The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (17)

Literary crush alert: a big fan of Yuknavitch's first novel, The Small Backs of Children, I've been itching for her second. It'll behere in just a few months, featuring a "reimagined Joan of Arc" heroine, but in a futurewhere world wars have nearly destroyed the earth and furtherevolved humanslive on some kind of platform hovering in space. Even if you're not a big science fiction reader, Yuknavitch willdraw you into the future.(Harper, 18 April)

Anything Is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

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Any time a Pulitzer prize-winning author has a new book, it's bound to make waves, and Strout's forthcoming novel is no exception. Set in the same small town as My Name is Lucy Barton, and expanding upon minor characters from the previous novel, Anything Is Possible is sure to pleasefans and new readers alike.(Random House, 25 April)

Notes of a Crocodile by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (19)

Written by one of China's most prominent gay writers, this novel follows the friendship, artistic development, and love of a group of "queer misfits" at university in 1990s Taipei. Billed a cult classic and crafted with a unique mix of notes, diary entries, short scenes, and satire, thisupdated translation will shed more light on the work of a renowned but little-known author.(NYRB classics, 2 May)

Large Animals by Jess Arndt

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (20)

In a debut featuring stories about identity crises, mystery STDs, and tours of lovers past, this collection is bound to be strange, smart, and probing as it "confronts what it means to have a body." Already receiving praise from author-scholar Maggie Nelson, Arndt is pegged to be an important voice on timely questions of the body politic, in 2017 and beyond.(Catapult, 16 May)

The Answers by Catherine Lacey

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (21)

Broke after having to pay for an experimental medical treatment, Mary turns to Craigslist for side jobs and ends up involved in the "Girlfriend Experiment," an attempt by the actor (and jerk) Kurt Sky to fulfill his dreams of relationship perfection—except that he hires multiple women to perform different emotional and physical roles. Lacey's first novel, Nobody is Ever Missing, won a Whiting Award in 2016.(FSG, 6 June)

Our Little Racket by Angelica Baker

The 25 Most Anticipated Books by Women for 2017 (22)

Given the amount of buzz this novel is already getting—it doesn't drop until June—Iassumed the author was well established and that I wasjust out of the loop. But it turns out Our Little Racket is a debut and there's little information about its author online, which leads me to believe that this book might actually just be really damn good. In a wealthy Connecticut town weathering the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis,wives and mothers are forced to reevaluate and reconfigure their roles, and those of their children, in the face of a new economic and social climate.(Ecco, 20 June)

The Windfall by Diksha Basu

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Basu's debut novel follows the story of a family "discovering what it means to be nouveau riche in modern India," and is by all accounts hilarious. Set in New Delhi—the author herself is originally from the city—it's already been dubbed"the funniest novel to come out of India in years" bycomedic novelist Gary Shteyngart. For those of us who need a belly laugh paired with a heartfelt family story, this might just do the trick.(Crown, 27 June)

What we Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

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From another promising debut voice, Clemmons' novel follows the life and meditations of Thandi, a young woman "caught between being black and white, American and not," and feeling both attracted to and distant from her mother's native Johannesburg. Ascancer takes hold of her mother, Thandi explores questions of romantic love, motherhood, and a life moving forward in the face of loss.(Viking, 11 July)

Sara NovićSara Nović is the fiction editor at Blunderbuss Magazine and teaches at Columbia University, the New School's Eugene Lang College, and with the Words After War writing workshop.

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