Sunset Park by Paul Auster [Henry Holt, $25]
The incestuous eroticism of last year's Invisible seemed to rejuvenate Auster, and his new mojo shows no signs of dissipating in this, his 16th novel. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, an aimless twentysomething is holed up in a Brooklyn squat, racked with guilt over his stepbrother's death.
The Instructions by Adam Levin [McSweeney's, $29]
The kind of ambitious debut that occurs once a decade, this 1,000-plus-page carnival ride takes the form of a religious scripture written by an adolescent Jewish terrorist named Gurion Maccabee. The cartoon-character names and postmodern opacity will either enthrall or annoy you, depending on your tolerance for the Pynchon-esque.
An Object of Beauty by Steve Martin [Grand Central, $27]
With Shopgirl and Born Standing Up, the comic's facility with the written word is well documented. It's another interest of Martin's—art collecting—that informs this novel about the Manhattan art world, depicted with precision and wit using the soap-opera-like career of an auction-house assistant.