Well, it’s June. Coffee season has given way to iced coffee season. Perhaps you’re infusing iced teas with strange and vibrant herbs and flavors, or breaking your air conditioner out of storage; perhaps you’re going through your closet in search of the perfect literary tote bag for your beach reads. Perhaps not. Hopefully you’ve left some space for books due out this month, as this one’s looking like a particularly notable one for new books. It includes the latest from notable literary figures like Roxane Gay, Victor LaValle, Percival Everett, and Rosecrans Baldwin; there are also highly-anticipated debuts, a rigorous history of prog rock, and a surreal tale in translation. Here are a few of the books that have gotten our attention this month.
The Last Kid Left, Rosecrans Baldwin
(June 6, MCD)
Rosecrans Baldwin’s new novel examines the way that true-crime narratives can obsess our culture — and, given the way that cultural commentators have begun to delve into the ethics of this, it seems to be coming at exactly the right time. The Last Kid Left follows a crime and its aftermath, as well as how its reception by a wider audience shapes perceptions of both.
Everything is Flammable, Gabrielle Bell
(June 6, Uncivilized Books)
Gabrielle Bell’s work in comics neatly invokes questions of family, art, and class. Her latest book follows Bell’s return to her hometown after her mother’s house burns down, and while the relationship between the two of them stays at the heart of the narrative, Bell also works in several other stories, deftly expanding her stylistic range as she goes.
The Gypsy Moth Summer, Julia Fierro
(June 6, St. Martin’s Press)
Julia Fierro’s followup to her acclaimed novel Cutting Teeth travels back to the bygone days of Long Island in the early 1990s, when insects overwhelmed the local flora and alternative rock was on the airwaves. Fierro’s novel poses questions of race, class, and corporate abuses on its way towards its conclusion.
Stephen Florida, Gabe Habash
(June 6, Coffee House Press)
Gabe Habash’s eagerly-anticipated debut looks to be the college wrestling novel we didn’t know we were waiting for. You know what? We’ll take that.
The Answers, Catherine Lacey
(June 6, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Catherine Lacey’s debut, Nobody is Ever Missing, was a stunning tale of depression and isolation, and we’ve been eager to see what she’d follow it up with. And now we know: a high-concept tale of relationships (and the appearance of relationships) set in contemporary New York. Few write alienation as well as Lacey, and we’re eager to see what she does here.
Dear Cyborgs, Eugene Lim
(June 6, FSG Originals)
Eugene Lim’s surreal fiction revisits familiar scenarios and tropes (detective stories, superhero narratives) and pushes them into strange, revelatory places. His new novel juxtaposes pulp crimefighting, contemporary protest movements, and questions of identity into a bold, heady narrative that’s unlike anything we’ve read in a long time. And we’ll be hosting an event with Lim at Greenlight Bookstore on June 15th.
Turf, Elizabeth Crane
(June 13, Soft Skull)
Elizabeth Crane’s fiction eludes easy classification: she’s prone to using innovative structures, and can take familiar relationships in unexpected directions. Turf is her latest collection of short stories, and does a fine job of showcasing Crane’s range as a writer.
So Much Blue, Percival Everett
(June 13, Graywolf Press)
Percival Everett’s considerable bibliography ranges from harrowing metafictional comedies to deconstructions of detective fiction and Westerns. His latest takes the reader into the mind of an artist working on a project in secret and mulling over his own past; it looks to be another memorably unconventional work in a literary career that’s abounded with them.
Hunger, Roxane Gay
(June 13, Harper)
This year has already brought with it one book by Roxane Gay: the short story collection Difficult Women. Now comes a new work of nonfiction: her memoir Hunger, in which she writes about her past, her relationship with her body, and more.
Kingdom Cons, Yuri Herrera; translated by Lisa Dillman
(June 13, And Other Stories)
In recent years, several of Yuri Herrera’s books have been translated into English, and Anglophone readers have been able to see how he blends realism with a sense of the mythic. That’s very much the case in his new book, which brings together fable-like elements with more tactile and harrowing ones.
The Changeling, Victor LaValle
(June 13, Spiegel & Grau)
Victor LaValle’s fiction frequently juxtaposes the weird and horrific with vividly realistic depictions of psychological unrest. His latest novel ventures into the territory of fairy tales, blending centuries-old concepts with a decidedly contemporary look at familial distress.
The Show That Never Ends, David Weigel
(June 13, W.W. Norton)
Perhaps you know David Weigel for his extensive reporting on politics, but there’s another side to his writing that this book brings to the forefront: he knows a whole lot about prog rock. This long-in-the-works tome delves into the genre, its excesses, and its triumphs. And it’s got a winged tiger on the front, which never hurts.
Buckskin Cocaine, Erika T. Wurth
(June 15, Astrophil Press)
Erika T. Wurth first came to our attention via her 2014 novel Crazy Horse’s Girlfriend; lately, she’s also been a regular contributor to the terrific journal Roar. 2017 brings with it her latest book, a collection of short stories exploring characters pushing themselves to their limits and grappling with ambition.
The Sarah Book, Scott McClanahan
(June 20, Tyrant Books)
Scott McClanahan’s prose blends memoir with fiction; he’s a stunning storyteller overall, and he’s crafted a warm and recognizable literary persona. And in his long-awaited The Sarah Book, he shifts this into a very different register, chronicling a particularly bleak time and juxtaposing the beginning and end of a marriage.
The Windfall, Diksha Basu
(June 27, Crown)
The overlap of families and money has long been an object of fascination for novelists around the world and across the years. Diksha Basu’s debut novel explores how these themes play out in Dehli, as a middle-aged couple living with humble means suddenly comes into an abundance of money.