It’s been at least five years since we’ve seen a new book from these great writers. We hope it’s not permanent.
By Jessica Dukes
While they may be staying busy with short stories, memoirs, graphic novels, or poetry, these beloved authors haven’t written a sink-your-teeth-into-it novel in more than five years. Consider this an official act of begging.
For such a successful and popular author, Tartt has only released three novels: 1992’s debut, The Secret History, followed by 2002’s The Little Friend, and then The Goldfinch. The story of a stolen painting and the man who carries its secrets, The Goldfinch was a sensation when it was released in 2013 and won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize, which came as a surprise to no one.
In 2016, Lahiri released In Other Words, a memoir about moving to Italy with her family and learning another language. However, her last novel The Lowland, a beautiful family drama set in India and the United States, was published in 2013.
Ozeki’s Japanese-Canadian-American stories have been capturing the hearts of readers since her debut, My Year of Meats (1998). Her most recent novel, released in 2013, A Tale for the Time Being navigates teenage depression, Zen Buddhism, and the act of living for a full century. May we have another, please?
In all fairness, Pynchon is 81 years old, but we haven’t seen an official retirement announcement so we’ll keep him on this list. His last novel was 2013’s Bleeding Edge, a dizzying crime novel set in a unique New York City moment—the months between the dot-com bubble bursting and the morning of 9/11. We hope it’s not his last novel, but if it is, Bleeding Edge is the perfect coda.
In 2017, she published Where the Past Begins: Memory and Imagination, a beautiful book that doubles as a memoir and writing guide. It gives us a glimpse of how she’s able to create her novels—slow, multi-layered sagas that we never want to end. We hope The Valley of Amazement (2013), an exploration of the courtesan culture of early-20th-century China and its impact on families, is not the end of her epic storytelling.
Coupland has the uncanny ability to put his finger directly on the pulse of contemporary life and all of its absurdities. Witness his debut, Generation X (1991), which literally defined the age bracket. Worst. Person. Ever. (2012) proves that Coupland’s senses are still finely tuned—his main character blames everything from “the universe” to his ex-wife for the failures in his life, with not a shred of authentic self-examination in sight. We’re dying to know what Coupland thinks of 2019!
We can’t complain too much; Eugenides released Fresh Complaint in 2017, a fantastic debut collection of short stories that echo many of the topics of his prize-winning earlier books—coming-of-age dramas, families in crisis, and American culture. But we haven’t held a Eugenides novel since his mystical love triangle tale in The Marriage Plot in 2011.
Bret Easton Ellis
Ellis’s debut, Less Than Zero (1985), captures the excess and privilege of wealthy teenagers in the early 1980s. His last novel, Imperial Bedrooms (2010) is the longed-for sequel, giving readers the closure they need as the characters grapple with middle age, past addictions, and complicated careers. Ellis, any chance you’re working on a sequel to American Psycho? Instant bestseller, sir.
Niffenegger’s 2003 debut, The Time Traveler’s Wife, won readers over with the story of a love that survives centuries. Her Fearful Symmetry, finally published six years later in 2009, is the transcendent story of two sisters who move across the street from London’s Highgate Cemetery and discover that death isn’t as final as it seems. Since then, readers have been treated to several of Niffenegger’s wonderfully gothic graphic novels, but we’re ready for another page-turner.
Sebold’s debut, The Lovely Bones (2002) is the story of a child’s murder, the family’s emotional breakdown, and the eventual arrival at justice. It was an instant sensation, blockbuster bestseller, and quickly sold for movie rights. Her sophomore novel, The Almost Moon (2007) was a #1 bestseller, and dealt with an equally complicated topic: matricide. We’ve been waiting for another novel ever since.
We’re not sure if McCarthy has another novel in the works; at 85 years old we’re willing to let him rest on his laurels. His last novel, The Road (2006), is a terrifying post-apocalypse love story that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007. We do know that he wrote the screenplay for Ridley Scott’s The Counselor (2013), though, which gives us a sliver of hope that there’s more McCarthy fiction out there.
In 2004, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell was a phenomenon, quickly becoming a bestseller, winning a Hugo award, and moving Neil Gaiman to call it “…unquestionably the finest English novel of the fantastic written in the last seventy years.” Clarke then published a book of fairy tales, The Ladies of Grace Adieu (2006), with stories that include a few characters from Strange & Norrell, but we haven’t heard from her since. Come back, Susanna!