W‘s features director shares her fall reading list.

fall 2014 reading list

Back in the ’90s, having finished Some Hope, one of his acclaimed PatrickMelrose novels,Edward St. Aubyntook a breather from Melrose andhis ilk and checked in to the EsalenInstitute in Big Sur, California. Theresult was On the Edge (Picador), a gentle (by St. Aubyn standards,anyway) skewering of the New Agemovement, peppered with mysticalepiphanies, hot tubs, and tantric sex, which came out in England in 1998 but is only now being publishedin theU.S. Also this month, Jane Smileybrings us Some Luck (Alfred A.Knopf), the first book in whatpromises to be an epic Americantrilogy that follows the Langdons,a family of Iowan farmers, from 1920 to 2020. Meanwhile,Marilynne Robinsonfinishes up her own Iowatrilogy, which began in 2004 withher Pulitzer Prize–winning novelGilead, with Lila (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux). And in Nora Webster(Scribner),Colm Tóibínintroducesus to an unforgettable woman whostruggles to find footing in a small-minded Irish town after her husband dies. The death of a patriarch is also at the center of Rooms, a spirited new novel fromLauren Oliver,in which adysfunctional family gets together to bury its father and ends up unearthing untold secrets. (Think August: Osage County with ghosts.) AndMichel Fabermakes a huge departure from the Victorian England of his best-selling novelThe Crimson Petal and the White with The Book of Strange New Things(Hogarth), set in a creepy dystopian future. Peter, a reformed drug addict and born-again Christian, is recruitedby a dubious global corporation and sent on a religious mission to the distant planetOasis. Don’t be fooled by the name: On this spiritual quest, there are no jacuzzis.