As the book worldâ€™s most literary season approaches, the industry still awaits the yearâ€™s big literary publication.
While critics have celebrated Mohsin Hamidâ€™s â€œExit West,â€ George Saundersâ€™ â€œLincoln in the Bardoâ€ and other works, no 2017 releases have approached the sales or the impact of such older titles as Margaret Atwoodâ€™s â€œThe Handmaidâ€™s Taleâ€ and George Orwellâ€™s â€œ1984.â€ Publishers wonder if itâ€™s a familiar syndrome, the Trump effect, with the public too caught up in the headlines to focus on new and challenging fiction.
â€œPeople are indeed distracted, and thereâ€™s no sign of it letting up,â€ says Paul Bogaards, an executive vice president and executive director of publicity at the Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
â€œWeâ€™ve been disappointed in sales, and other publishers have been disappointed,â€ said Scribner publisher and senior vice president Nan Graham, who hopes to break the spell this fall with new fiction from prize-winners Jennifer Egan and Jesmyn Ward. â€œI think itâ€™s harder for new books to break through because people are reading the books that other people are reading. Theyâ€™re looking to talk to other people about something they have in common. And that drive seems more intense right now. Is that the Trump effect? Sure.â€
Bogaards says good books can â€œstill surface and stickâ€ and readers able and willing can look forward to some of the most acclaimed writers of recent years.
Eganâ€™s â€œManhattan Beachâ€ is her first novel since the Pulitzer Prize-winning â€œA Visit from the Goon Squadâ€; Wardâ€™s â€œSing, Unburied, Sing,â€ her first novel since the National Book Award winning â€œSalvage the Bonesâ€; and James McBrideâ€™s book of short stories, â€œFive-Carat Soul,â€ his first fiction since winning the National Book Award for â€œThe Good Lord Bird.â€
Louise Erdrich, Celeste Ng, Salman Rushdie, Carmen Maria Machado and debut novelist Gabriel Tallent also have books coming. Pulitzer Prize winner Jeffrey Eugenides, whose novels include â€œMiddlesexâ€ and â€œThe Marriage Plot,â€ will release his first story collection, â€œFresh Complaint.â€
â€œIn some ways, itâ€™s harder to write a short story than a novel,â€ Eugenides told The Associated Press in a recent email. â€œThereâ€™s no room for elaboration or expansion, both of which come naturally to the novelist. In creative writing courses, of course, we start students off writing short stories because theyâ€™re more manageable. But itâ€™s like asking someone to pilot a jet on his first flying lesson.â€
If literary fiction doesnâ€™t produce any major hits, other books seem likely bets.
John Greenâ€™s â€œTurtles All the Way Downâ€ is his first novel since the blockbuster â€œThe Fault of Our Stars.â€
Dan Brown has sent protagonist Robert Langdon to Spain in his thriller â€œOriginâ€ and Stephen King and son Owen King have teamed up on â€œSleeping Beauties.â€
An elderly George Smiley appears in John le Carreâ€™s â€œA Legacy of Spies,â€ Lee Childâ€™s latest Jack Reacher novel is â€œThe Midnight Lineâ€ and the late Stieg Larssonâ€™s â€œMillennium Seriesâ€ continues with â€œThe Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye,â€ by David Lagercrantz.
Nonfiction releases range from astronaut Scott Kellyâ€™s â€œEnduranceâ€ to Toni Morrisonâ€™s â€œThe Origin of Others,â€ a book of lectures that includes an introduction by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Sally Quinnâ€™s â€œFinding Magicâ€ features memories of her marriage to Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, who died in 2014.
Former Rep. John Dingell of Michigan, 91 years old, looks back in his memoir â€œThe Dean: The Best Seat in the House, from FDR to Obama.â€
Several books about presidents past and current should be in the news this fall, notably Hillary Clintonâ€™s â€œWhat Happened,â€ in which she has promised a thorough and candid recounting of her shocking loss in 2016 to Trump.
Alec Baldwin and Kurt Andersen have collaborated on the presumably fictional â€œYou Canâ€™t Spell America Without Me: The Really Tremendous Inside Story of My Fantastic First Year as President Donald J. Trump (A So-Called Parody).â€
The presidentâ€™s first wife, Ivana Trump, will share memories of their three children in â€œRaising Trump.â€
Katy Turâ€™s â€œUnbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American Historyâ€ is the NBC television reporterâ€™s take on covering the Trump campaign and being called â€œdisgracefulâ€ among other insults from the Republican candidate.
Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager describe life as the daughters and granddaughters of presidents in â€œSisters First.â€
Ron Chernow, whose Alexander Hamilton book is the basis for the Broadway musical, returns with a 900-page biography of Ulysses Grant.
Barack Obamaâ€™s vice president, Joseph Biden, reflects on his White House aspirations and his son Beauâ€™s death in â€œPromise Me, Dad.â€
Former White House photographer Pete Souza compiles the recent past in â€œObama: An Intimate Portrait.â€
Coatesâ€™ â€œWe Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedyâ€ chronicles life under Obama, with a subtitle pointing to Trump.
Coates, winner in 2015 of the National Book Award for â€œBetween the World and Me,â€ is among many prize-winning authors with new nonfiction works.
Mike Wallaceâ€™s â€œGreater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919,â€ is the sequel to the historianâ€™s acclaimed â€œGotham: A History of New York City to 1898.â€
Anne Applebaum has completed â€œRed Famine: Stalinâ€™s War on Ukraineâ€ and Stephen Greenblatt has written â€œThe Rise and Fall of Adam and Eve,â€ a history of how the Biblical creation story has been interpreted.
â€œThe Vietnam War: An Intimate History,â€ by Ken Burns and Geoffrey C. Ward, is a companion to Burnsâ€™ television documentary that Ward completed as Trump was taking office.
â€œIâ€™d get up at 6:30 in the morning and work until 8 at night and I was in the world of Richard Nixon,â€ Ward told the AP. â€œAnd then I would have dinner and turn on the TV, and I was in the world of Donald Trump.
â€œIt was not a happy period for me.â€