The Golden Age of Second Novels


Despite the challenges writers face with debut novels, the second novel is generally considered the most difficult to write. Some second novels fail to exceed the first, and plenty of authors never even write a second novel. But we might be living in the golden age of sophomore novels, declares Bill Morris over at The Millions. He cites Rachel Kushner, Jonathan Miles, and Charles McNair as examples of successful second novelists, adding:

Of course one could argue that a half dozen books do not constitute a trend or herald a new golden age. But I’m sure I’ve missed a truckload of recent second novels that would buttress my claim.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →