2023 is already off to a terrific start with new releases—and so many more are still to come. We’ve compiled a shortlist of the books we’re most looking forward to this year. If these aren’t on your radar yet, then they should be!
The Survivalists, Kashana Cauley
January 10, Soft Skull Press
We reviewed Cauley’s debut earlier this month, which reviewer Joanna Acevedo called a “ruthless [interrogation of] what it means to be successful as a Black woman, a millennial, and a liberal living in an urban center.” If you haven’t picked up your copy of The Survivalists yet, which Samantha Irby has called a “banger of a book,” what are you waiting for?
A Guest at the Feast, Colm Toibin
January 17, Scribner
One of Ireland’s finest living writers, Toibin is back in 2023 with a collection of essays ranging in topics from his cancer treatment to religion to growing up in Ireland. The opening essay, “Cancer: My Part in Its Downfall” was published back in 2019 in the London Review of Books, so check that out first if you are for any reason hesitant to pick up this new collection.
The Sense of Wonder, Matthew Salesses
January 17, Little Brown & Company
We’re huge fans of Matthew Salesses here, especially his Craft in the Real World, part of which we assign to all of our volunteer readers when they get started. So we’re beyond excited about his new novel, The Sense of Wonder, inspired in part by the sudden rise in stardom of Jeremy Lin in 2012 with the New York Knicks. Won Lee, “The Wonder,” a new Asian American NBA star leads his team to a seven game winning streak and sportswriter Robert Sung covers his new-found fame from the sidelines, while grappling with his own missed opportunities.
The Guest Lecture, Martin Riker
January 24, Grove Press
Described as a mix of The Chair and The Good Place by LitHub, The Guest Lecture is Riker’s new novel about a young economist’s midnight preparation for a speech she is set to give the following day. Joshua Cohen (author most recently of The Netanyahus) calls Riker’s voice “as clear, sincere and wry as any [he’s] read in current American fiction.”
February 7, Grove Press
No list would be complete without our recent guest judges making an appearance! Charmaine Craig (guest judge of the 2022 Novel Excerpt Contest) is back with her next novel My Nemesis. Tessa, a writer, begins a friendship with Charlie, a philosopher and scholar based across the country in Los Angeles. LitHub and Electric Lit both list Craig’s novel in their own roundups of most anticipated books of 2023 and Publisher’s Weekly says this novel is “sure to spark conversations.”
Endpapers, Jennifer Savran Kelly
February 7, Algonquin Books
A debut novel from Jennifer Savran Kelly¸ Endpapers is a coming-of-age novel of a “genderqueer book conservator who feels trapped by her gender presentation” in New York City in the early 2000s. Dawn, the protagonist, discovers one day at work a queer love letter penned in 50s, and is driven to track down its writer. Kelly’s fiction has been published at some of our favorite litmags: Black Warrior Review, Iron Horse Review and Green Mountains Review, so we’re sure this novel will be memorable.
I Have Some Questions For You, Rebecca Makkai
February 21, Viking
Another former TMR judge, Rebecca Makkai returns with her first book since the unforgettable The Great Believers. Andrew Sean Greer has called this new book “unputdownable”, so at the end of February, if you’re looking for us, we’ll probably be buried in this new literary mystery from one of our favorite writers!
February 21, Mcdonnell Douglass
A new historical satire novel from the incomparable Jac Jemc has our heads spinning in anticipation. Empty Theatre immerses readers in the lives of cousins King Ludwig II and Empress Elizabeth of Austria and their “rarefied, ridiculous, restrictive world.” To pass the time before you can get your hands on this novel, check out Jemc’s “Hunt and Catch” in our Featured Fiction section.
Hey You Assholes!, Kyle Seibel
February 24, Bear Creek Press
Back in 2021, we had the fortune to publish “Master Guns” by Kyle Seibel. It’s one of those stories where you know from the instant you read the first lines that you’ve found a writer with an exciting voice you won’t soon forget. “I didn’t like Master Guns. Not one bit.” Seibel’s debut collection is set to release at the end of February. Keep an eye on this space for an interview about his work!
February 28, Driftwood Press
Another former TMR contributor, Mason Boyles’s debut novel, Bark On, will be published at the end of February from Driftwood Press. Bark On follows two young runners as they train for the Ironman under the tutelage of extreme coach Benji Newton. We’ll be running a review of Bark On in February, so check back on our reviews page at the end of the month!
Thirst for Salt, Madelaine Lucas
March 7, Tin House
Listed by Bustle, LitHub, Debutiful and NYLON among their most anticipated novels in 2023, this debut from Madelaine Lucas is sure to be a release to remember. Leslie Jamison wrote of the novel, “A love affair so richly and attentively imagined it carries the grace and gravity of memory itself.” Check out Thirst for Salt in early March.
White Cat, Black Dog: Stories, Kelly Link
March 28, Random House
Yet another former TMR judge, Kelly Link’s newest collection is set to release at the end of March. White Cat, Black Dog features, in typical Linkian fashion, stories inspired by The Brothers Grimm, speculative merged with realism, death, divorce, love and sorrow. As we all wait for this exciting collection, refresh yourself with our interview with Link here on the release of her last collection!
March 28, Vintage
In the first paragraph of Sea Change, readers are introduced to Dolores, a horny octopus. There’s really not much more we need to say to get your attention, is there? Chung’s stories have been featured in Kenyon Review, Pleiades, Gulf Coast and elsewhere. Sea Change is her debut novel – and next year, she’s set to release her first collection, too.
Small Animals Caught in Traps, C.B. Bernard
April 4, Blackstone Publishing
“In the town of Disappointment, Oregon, washed-up boxer Lewis Yaw makes ends meet as a fishing guide.” So begins the summary of Bernard’s debut novel, set for release early this spring. Bernard’s book is a good one to keep an eye on for fans of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah or David Vann’s Legend of a Suicide, or for folks familiar with Bernard’s nonfiction book Chasing Alaska, which was a finalist for the 2014 Oregon Book Award.
Veniss Underground, Jeff Vandermeer
April 11, Picador
What? Another former TMR judge? We’re technically cheating on this one, since this is a re-release, but Jeff Vandermeer’s early novel Veniss Underground is receiving a wide re-release through Picador this April, featuring a brand new introduction from Charles Yu (and including a brand new Vandermeer story!). If you haven’t had the opportunity to read Vandermeer’s novel, inspired in part by the Orpheus and Eurydice story, now’s your chance.
The Late Americans, Brandon Taylor
May 23, Riverhead
Brandon Taylor never stops working, it seems. The Filthy Animals and Real Life author is back in 2023 with a new novel from Riverhead: The Late Americans, receiving early praise from Elle and Vulture, follows a group of friends in Iowa City during a “volatile year of self-discovery”. Make sure to make time for this new book at the end of May!
by Cole Meyer