The 12 Best New Fiction Books Of October Include The New Haruki Murakami

by Melissa Ragsdale

October is the perfect time of the year to let your imagination run wild. With fall in full swing, you'll definitely want to add a few new book releases to your TBR list, pronto.

This month, look out for new books from some of the world's most adored authors, including Haruki Murakami, Barbara Kingsolver, and Tana French. (Am I the only one here screaming with excitement?) Plus, you're getting great second novels from some recent breakout stars, including Jasmine Guillory and Claire Fuller.

Plus, there's a plethora of electrifying short story collections hitting shelves this October, many of which are debuts. These books will open your eyes in thousands of different ways, using only a few pages to do so. A good short story is an absolute gem to ewS, and you have so many excellent choices waiting for you below.

Oh, and with Halloween around the corner, I know you're craving some darker reads. On this list you'll find a few gothic-style novels, as well as a little suspense. They're sure to create just the right atmosphere for those spooky October nights.

So, as the cozy season settles in, indulge yourself with one of these mesmerizing reads. Here are the best fiction books of October 2018:

'The Witch of Willow Hall' by Hester Fox (Oct. 2; Graydon House)

This novel has just the gothic vibe you want for your pre-Halloween reading. Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, a scandal drives the Montrose family — including sisters Catherine, Lydia and Emeline — from their home in Boston to their new country house, Willow Hall. The Montrose daughters are drawn to a dark history within the house, and Lydia in particular is forced to call upon a power she never knew she had.

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'Things to Make and Break' by May-Lan Tan (Oct. 2; Coffee House Press)

This short story collection contains 11 truly excellent tales that zero in on the "microcosmic worlds every human relationship contains." Between a story about a woman captivated by her boyfriend's stories about his exes and another story about twin brothers working out a rivalry over the girl next door, this collection will absolutely delight you.

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'The Witch Elm' by Tana French (Oct. 9; Viking)

If you've read Tana French's Dublin Murder Squad series, you probably are already 100% obsessed with this author. In this standalone suspense novel, a man named Toby is attacked by a pair of burglars, and retreats to his family's ancestral home to recover and take care of his uncle Hugo, who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness. But when a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden, Toby must reckon with the possibility that his past is more sinister than he remembers.

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'Killing Commendatore' by Haruki Murakami (Oct. 9; Knopf)

It's true: a new Haruki Murakami novels arrives in the United States this month. In Killing Commendatore, a portrait painter is abandoned by his wife and winds up in the home of a famous artist. But when he discovers a never-before-seen painting in the attic, he accidentally unlocks a series of mysterious circumstances that are exactly as lovely and strange as any Murakami fan would expect from the author.

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'White Dancing Elephants' by Chaya Bhuvaneswar (Oct. 9; Dzanc Books)

You can't miss this bold debut short story collection, which spotlights queer, religious, and immigrant stories about a diverse array of women all over the world. From a South Asian scholar trying to justify her affair with her terminally ill best friend’s husband, to a woman who is haunted by Buddha's birth as she grieves a miscarriage, each one of these stories will reach deep into your heart.

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'Bitter Orange' by Claire Fuller (Oct. 9; Tin House)

After dazzling readers with Swimming Lessons in 2017, Claire Fuller is back with another exquisite novel. Set in a dilapidated mansion in the English countryside in 1969, Bitter Orange circles a riotous friendship between Frances, a grieving researcher who has come to the home to write a report, and a young couple, Peter and Cara, who are also staying in the house. As the trio settle in to the mansion, a dark mystery surfaces, and secrets begin to come out of the woodwork.

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'Unsheltered' by Barbara Kingsolver (October 16; Harper)

The legendary Barbara Kingsolver (author of The Poisonwood Bible, among others) is back with another spell-binding read. As Willa Knox's life falls apart around her, she — in an act of desperation — begins to research the history of her home. That's when she discovers a kindred spirit from the 1880s: Thatcher Greenwoon, a scientist living in a Utopian community, who found himself under siege for speaking about Charles Darwin's exciting new theories.

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'Melmoth' by Sarah Perry (Oct. 16; Custom House)

From the author of The Essex Serpent, this gothic novel is centered around the dark legend of Melmoth the Witness, a mysterious dark-robed figure who roams the globe searching for "those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters." When translator Helen Franklin first hears about Melmoth the Witness, she thinks it's just a story — but all that changes when her friend goes missing.

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'Friday Black' by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Oct. 23; Mariner Books)

When George Saunders and Roxane Gay both blurb a book and the author is selected by Colson Whitehead as one of the National Book Foundation's 5 Under 35 honorees, you know it's something special. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah tackles issues of race and cultural unrest in a book everyone will be talking about.

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'Training School for Negro Girls' by Camille Acker (Oct. 23; The Feminist Press at CUNY)

Each of the stories in this collection is centered on a different black woman living in Washington, D.C: A TSA agent who has never flown, a young girl preparing for her first piano recital, and more. Camille Acker's characters are vivid and unforgettable.

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'Family Trust' by Kathy Wang (Oct. 30; William Morrow)

Eccentric patriarch Stanley Huang has spent decades claiming he's worth a small fortune, basking in all-inclusive vacations, luxury goods, and expensive tastes. But when he's diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, Stanley's family begins to get nervous about what the details of his estate will reveal.

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'The Proposal' by Jasmine Guillory (October 30; Berkley Books)

Readers everywhere fell head-over-heels for the novel Guillory released earlier this year, The Wedding Date, and her new book is just as good. What happens when a public proposal doesn't go well? After only dating for five months, Nikole's actor boyfriend drops a surprise proposal on her... at a baseball game in front of thousands of fans. Yikes. And things only get worse when the video goes viral. But luckily, a hot doctor steps in to save the day — and he could be the perfect rebound.

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