Two stacks of books on a wooden shelf, with Checkout 19 standing upright on the left stack, and The Inseparables standing upright on the right stack.

Autumn – a time to wind down, dust off our coats and stock up our ‘to-be-read’ piles with some of the best and biggest fiction of the year. From Simone de Beauvoir’s lost novel to a modern-day story reminiscent of both The Secret History and Killing Eve, below is a how of highly anticipated novels book-lovers are sure to devour.

The Inseparables by Simone de Beauvoir (2 September)

It was declared too intimate to be published in her lifetime, so for 75 years the manuscript to The Inseparables, de Beauvoir’s story of a passionate friendship between two girls, sat in a drawer. Now, after being discovered by her adopted daughter along with photographs of the people who inspired it, the feminist author’s lost ‘novel’ has been given new life in an era where challenging conventions has never been more pertinent.

‘She destroyed some works that she was unhappy with. She didn’t destroy this one. She told me, “You’ll do what is right,”’ Le Bon-de Beauvoir told the New York Times. And, indeed, she did.  

The Morning Star by Karl Ove Knausgaard (30 September)

How better to welcome darker nights than with a wonderfully dark novel? The Morning Star is perfect for the job. One night in Norway, a mysterious star appears and brings with it a series of supernatural events as nine lives find themselves intertwined. As Knausgaard’s first major work of fiction in over a decade, this gripping novel explores when the realms of the living and the dead collide, and what comes next. Fans of Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia and Haruki Murakami’s back catalogue will love diving into this one.

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura (5 August)

This novel has all the makings of a literary feast: a mesmerising protagonist, a sprinkling of existentialism and a plot that never fully reveals itself until the end. It’s the story of an outsider moving through the world while caught between personal dramas, from her lover still entangled in his marriage to an explosive political controversy at work. As one of Barack Obama’s 2021 Summer Picks, it’s time to join the bandwagon and add Intimacies to your autumn to-be-read pile. 

The Making of Incarnation by Tom McCarthy (16 September)

His most ambitious novel since Booker-shortlisted Satin IslandTom McCarthy’s The Making of Incarnation takes us into a fantastical future where whole new frontiers of technology have been developed.

When a box of records is found to be missing from the archives of pioneer Lillian Gilbreth, an international hunt begins to recover them, taking us across medical labs, CGI studios, film sets and military research centres.

With TikTok, cryptocurrency and machine learning gaining momentum in our real world, The Making of Incarnation is a take on where we might be heading next. 

Never Saw Me Coming by Vera Kurian (9 September)

Fans of The Secret History and Killing Eve’s devious Villanelle will love this debut from Vera Kurian. While Chloe may look like a regular university student, she’s actually a calculating psychopath with an IQ of 135, secretly enrolled into a Psychology Department clinical study where she is required to log her thoughts while navigating campus life.

However, when two students are suddenly murdered on the campus, Chloe realises that her participation in the study may be putting her in danger.

This whip-smart novel will have your brain ticking long after you’ve finished the last page. 

Checkout 19 by Claire-Louise Bennett (19 August)

A novel but not a novel, Checkout 19 is the perfect remedy for stormy days when you want to escape with the beauty of the written word. Inventive, rule-breaking and exquisitely written, it’s a freewheeling story that revisits a woman’s most pivotal moments in her life; from relationship traumas, to recollections of her grandmother’s stories, all the while fusing together lived experience with fantasy. Fans of lit crit need look no further than Checkout 19.

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