Novels to look out for in 2021

In 2017, British author Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel prize for literature for his novel The Buried Giant. A fantasy tale at its core, The Buried Giant was set across a Dark Age Britain wrought in the mysterious properties of memory, guilt and exploration. 

 - 5 Min Read
Last updated and fact checked:
Novels to look out for in 2021
Editorial Note: We earn a commission from partner links on Age Times. Commissions do not affect our writers’ or editors’ opinions or evaluations. Read our full affiliate disclosure here.

Kazuo Ishiguro - Klara and the Sun 

In 2017, British author Kazuo Ishiguro won the Nobel prize for literature for his novel The Buried Giant. A fantasy tale at its core, The Buried Giant was set across a Dark Age Britain wrought in the mysterious properties of memory, guilt and exploration. 

This novel was critically acclaimed and went down as a truly unique book that explored the depths of our conscience without trading away the excitement of its fantasy premise - dubbed by some as Game of Thrones with a conscience.

In his first novel since his Nobel prize win, Ishiguro will release Klara and the Sun in March. 

Already billed as an ‘international literary event’, this book looks at our developing relationship with artificial intelligence - AI - and the emotionality of our potential robotic companions. 

Despite sharing a similarly visionary and imaginative fantasy backdrop to The Buried Giant and similar potential for some level of esotericism, it promises to deliver a sensitive, attentive and compelling insight into humanity and is probably the most eagerly awaited novel of 2021. 

Klara and the Sun chiefly follows the protagonist Klara, an artificial friend, in her hope and desire to be selected by a human from her shop. Klara possesses excellent observational qualities - the story promises to explore these observations. 

It is set to be a fascinating and compelling read for novel lovers of any and every kind, but will particularly excite those who love SciFi and futurism. 

Ethan Hawke - A Bright Ray of Darkness

Oscar-nominated actor Ethan Hawke’s acting experience in playing tormented characters is well-used here. His first novel in 20 years - A Bright Ray of Darkness seeks to investigate precisely that, as well as love, art and fame.  

A far cry from an action flick, this emotionally attentive novel focuses on a young man due to make his first Broadway debut achingly soon after the fall and collapse of his own marriage. Exploring coping mechanisms, the turbulence of life in its most chaotic acts and process of forgiveness, truth and reconciliation, A Bright Ray of Darkness could prove to be an aptly named anticipated novel of 2021 and due to be published in February. 

Lisa Taddeo - Animal 

This debut novel, set to be released in July, is a visceral, powerful and dark thriller that explores female rage. It follows Joan, a witness of a horrific incident, and her quest for sanctity. 

Written by Lisa Taddeo, writer of New York Times Bestseller Three Women in 2019, Animal promises thrills and spills, and is similarly orientated around female invigoration, conviction and strength. 

Chris Power - A Lonely Man

Award-winning short story writer Chris Power will publish his first novel in 2021, A Lonely Man. 

Set primarily in Berlin, A Lonely Man follows a writer, Robert, who meets a mysterious ghostwriter, for a Russian oligarch. Shrouded in mystery, the ghostwriter becomes a fascination for Robert - one which could lead to dangerous ends. 

A cat-and-mouse thriller-type novel with a level of personal introspect, A Lonely Man, due to be published in April, will appeal to fans of suspense and mystery.  

Jon McGregor - Lean Fall Stand 

Costa-award winning, 3-times Booker prize-nominated author Jon McGregor is set to release Lean Fall Stand in April 2021. McGregor has been critically acclaimed as an author with a tremendous talent for crafting strongly gripping stories with tons of depth and attention to detail.

Lean Fall Stand looks to mark some form of departure from McGregor’s more abstract genre of thriller fiction as epitomised by Reservoir 13. It follows an antarctic expedition that goes wrong, a story of heroism and human willpower and an assessment of how human courage takes many forms. 

Patricia Lockwood - No One Is Talking About This 

Our life on the internet has become an increasingly explored topic in literature, and Patricia Lockwood has put her name to one of the most compelling investigations of this yet. 

No One Is Talking About This This is a story investigating a collision of real-life and internet life. It focuses on a woman who has a host of internet fans, who has reached viral fame, and how she has to navigate this cacophonous ensemble - how it detracts from natural life - and other issues that really matter. 

Claire-Louise Bennett - Checkout 19

An intimate novel that looks at a young writer’s clashes with life, death and writing, Checkout 19 is an unpretentious book that explores themes of class, womanhood and freedom. 

Moving and compelling in its navigation of the more challenging aspects of life and the coming of age, Checkout 19 looks like it will appeal strongly to Sally Rooney fans. 

Helen Fisher - Space Hopper

Fun and interesting but with obvious emotional depth, Space Hopper by Helen Fisher uses time travel and 1970s nostalgia to take a closer look at childhood grief and memory. Due to be released in February, Space Hopper is highly promising and set to be a superb read for those who enjoy quirky fiction.

Stephen King - Later

To end with a big hitter, Stephen King, now 73 years of age, continues to prove that his imagination is as swift and adept as ever. In many ways, it yields a classic King premise with the pace of a solid thriller.

 Following a young boy, Jamie, with a mental gift - one that threatens to rob him of his childhood - Later is a crime thriller that pits Jamie and NYPD against a killer. 

Later is about confronting demons - demons here are implied both metaphorically and in real life. Tense, powerful and suspenseful, Stephen King blends fantasy and cold, hard, realism as effortlessly as ever. 

See More