2012 is poised to be a pivotal one for the publishing industry, with e-reader sales skyrocketing thanks to new tablets from Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Luckily, there is no shortage of upcoming books from huge names: John Irving, Richard Ford, and Toni Morrison all have new novels on the way, not to mention essay collections from Roberto Bolano, Jonathon Lethem, and Jonathon Franzen. But here are the projects I’m most looking forward to, big name or no name.
No One is Here Except All of Us by Ramona Ausubel (February)
This is just Ausubel’s first novel, but it’s already generating a lot of buzz, and it sounds fascinating. A remote village in the forests of Romania decides, collectively, to forget all knowledge of the outside world. To erase history and all conventions of society. If that doesn’t draw you in, just look at that great cover.
Suddenly, A Knock on the Door by Etgar Keret (March)
I had the privilege of hearing Mr. Keret read from his work at the 2010 AWP Conference in Denver. Typically, hearing someone (other than George Saunders) read from their work is, well, boring. Even for writers. But I actually got emotional during Keret’s reading, as did most of the room. His upcoming short story collection is already being lauded as “part Kafka, part Vonnegut, with the concerns and comedic delivery of Woody Allen.”
The Cove by Ron Rash (April)
A lyrical mystery set in the Blue Ridge Mountains from my favorite Appalachian writer. Shortly after the First World War, Laurel and her brother live in a small cabin deep in a leafy cove, a place said to be cursed by locals. One morning she finds a stranger hiding in the trees. Someone with a secret that puts her in danger. Rash’s last novel was the epic, New York Times Bestseller Serena, and this project sounds just as grand in scope.
The Wind Through the Keyhole by Stephen King (April)
King’s Dark Tower series is one of the industry’s most beloved, and this new prequel/sequel/standalone entry in the franchise certainly sounds appetizing. Billed as “the perfect introduction to the series,” Keyhole revisits the last gunslinger’s distant past, when Roland is charged with investigating a murderous “skin-man.”
The Twelve by Justin Cronin (August)
The sequel to Cronin’s bestselling post-apocalyptic pseudo-vampire epic, The Passage. The author has promised a tighter narrative this time, while expanding the mythology he constructed in the first book in the trilogy, and taking us to new places in an America ravaged by rabid post-humans.
Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver (Fall)
Not much is known about Kingsolver’s next book, except for this tantalizing plot description: Set in a small town in Tennessee, [the novel is] about a young woman who happens upon a forested valley filled with silent red fire, and whose attempt to share the wonder and find an explanation throws her into a spiraling confrontation with her family, her church, her town, her continent, and finally the world at large.