Purity, by Jonathan Franzen. Franzen made lots of waves back in 2001 with his novel, The Corrections--Oprah chose it as one of her book club selections, and Franzen declined to appear on her show. What cheek! Of course, then everyone had to read his novel, so he made out okay after all, and continued to do so with 2010's Freedom. So I'd be remiss if I didn't mention this latest book, in which Purity (Pip) Tyler struggles with identity issues and student debt. As the daughter of a mother who hides her mysterious past, Pip seeks to solve her problems and create her own identity by taking an internship with an illicit activist group, only to fall in love with the group's charismatic fugitive leader. A bit different than Franzen's previous work, but still steeped in family dynamics.
Fates and Furies, by Lauren Groff. Groff is the bestselling author of two previous novels, The Monsters of Templeton and Arcadia. In her new novel, readers meet Lotto and Mathilde at 22, deliriously in love, creative partners, life partners. Ten years later, still together and still in love, they have distinctly different perspectives of their relationship, which only continues to flourish because each keeps secrets from the other. This is getting a huge amount of buzz among early reviews, and I would expect this to be a sleeper hit this fall. Mark my words.
The Killing Lessons, by Saul Black. Black, aka Glen Duncan (The Last Werewolf, etc.), brings readers a taut psychological thriller that is sure to win fans. When the two strangers turn up at Rowena Cooper's isolated Colorado farmhouse, she knows instantly that it's the end of everything. For the two haunted and driven men, on the other hand, it's just another stop on a long and bloody journey. And they still have many miles to go, and victims to sacrifice, before their work is done. For San Francisco homicide detective Valerie Hart, their trail of victims--women abducted, tortured and left with a seemingly random series of objects inside them--has brought her from obsession to the edge of physical and psychological destruction. And she's losing hope of making a breakthrough before that happens. But the murders at the Cooper farmhouse didn't quite go according to plan. Rowena's ten-year-old daughter, Nell, survived, and she now holds the key to the killings. Thriller fans looking for a new author need look no further.