As June approaches, the temperatures outside are rising, and various dreams of a long spring are dashed until next year. June also brings with it a host of books we’ve been eager to read for a while now, including new books by longtime favorites, structurally bold works that take literature into new places, and short fiction that ventures into surreal and sinister places. Here’s a look at some of the books we’re most excited about for June.
Social Creature, Tara Isabella Burton
(June 5, Doubleday Books)
We recently published short fiction from Tara Isabella Burton; now, she makes her full-length debut with this novel of a harrowing friendship that gradually turns sinister. Burton has a fantastic sense of place, and for observing the places where the normal world turns into something more ominous; we’re eager to see what she does with a work of this scope.
Invitation to a Bonfire, Adrienne Celt
(June 5, Bloomsbury Publishing)
If you’re looking at the title of Adrienne Celt’s new novel and thinking, “wait, that’s not unlike a certain Nabokov novel,” you’re not wrong. The plot of Invitation to a Bonfire was inspired by the Nabokovs’ marriage, and focuses on a young woman whose path crosses with a couple with a distinct marital dynamic.
The Terrible, Yrsa Daley-Ward
(June 5, Penguin Books)
We were floored when we read Yrsa Daley-Ward’s Bone last year–it’s a visceral, haunting collection of poetry that did fantastic things with language and explored a host of bold themes. Daley-Ward’s new book ventures into prose; subtitled “A Storyteller’s Memoir,” it explores her own growth as a person and as a writer.
Tonight I’m Someone Else, Chelsea Hodson
(June 5, Henry Holt and Company)
We’ve long admired Chelsea Hodson’s writing, and we were ecstatic when we heard that this year would bring a collection of her nonfiction. Now, that collection is here, bringing Hodson’s particular skills to the forefront. She has a particular ability to blend immediacy with a sharply rendered sense of distance; the combination makes for a memorable experience.
Sick, Porochista Khakpour
(June 5, Harper Perennial)
After two acclaimed works of fiction, Porochista Khakpour’s newest book veers into nonfiction: specifically, her experiences living with severe Lyme disease. But there’s much more going on here as well, including descriptions of her development as a writer and meditations on isolation and identity, all of which resonates in unexpected and powerful ways with the overarching narrative.
Tiny Crimes, edited by Lincoln Michel and Nadxieli Nieto
(June 5, Black Balloon Publishing)
Do you like crime fiction? Do you like very short fiction? Well then! This anthology has contributions from the likes of Yuri Herrera, Carmen Maria Machado, Charles Yu, and Laura van den Berg. All in all, forty writers distilling crime stories to their essence, revealing the range of the form along the way.
Ayiti, Roxane Gay
(June 12, Grove Press)
We were huge admirers of Roxane Gay’s first collection when it was first released a few years ago, and we’re mightily excited to see a new edition of it out in the world. The stories’ common element is Haiti, whether as a setting or as a presence in the lives of certain characters; the resulting collection is a fine reminder of Gay’s stylistic range and ability to evoke a specific place.
The Tidings of the Trees, Wolfgang Hilbig; translated by Isabel Fargo Cole
(June 12, Two Lines Press)
We’ve been happy to see Wolfgang Hilbig’s short, disquieting novels appearing in English translations, as his ability to evoke a sinister sense of place is second to none. In this novel, a man becomes obsessed with sinister figures operating out of a ruined space that was once a thriving woods–a perfect recipe for an ominous narrative.
Blood and Water, J. David Osborne
(June 15, King Shot Press)
J. David Osborne’s fiction carries with it a fantastically lived-in sensibility, whether he’s exploring working-class lives or venturing into the surreal side of crime fiction. Here, Osborne brings the two together, venturing into several characters living on the fringes of society, even as ominous threads gather on the horizon.
When Katie Met Cassidy, Camille Perri
(June 19, G.P. Putnam’s Sons)
Camille Perri’s follow to her acclaimed novel The Assistants, a favorite around these parts, traces the story of the relationship that develops between two women with wildly differing takes on life. Perri’s got a great sense of group dynamics and a talent for dialogue–all of which meshes neatly with the story she’s telling here.
Everyone Wants to Be Ambassador to France, Bryan Hurt
(June 26, Red Hen Press)
We’re always up for story collections that venture into the surreal, and Bryan Hurt’s debut–now available in a new edition–certainly fits the bill. Hurt’s fiction blends a sense of wonder with a glimpse of something more ominous, and the result makes for a host of compelling fiction.
Confessions of the Fox, Jordy Rosenberg
(June 26, One World)
In Jordy Rosenberg’s Confessions of the Fox, history and the study of history combine in a beguiling narrative. Rosenberg’s novel focuses on a historian who discovers a narrative revealing new details about the lives of a pair of 18th-century English outlaws; the work that results explores questions of perception, authenticity, and identity.
The Weight of the Earth: The Tape Journals of David Wojnarowicz, David Wojnarowicz
(June 29, Semiotext(e))
David Wojnarowicz’s work spanned both stunning, provocative art and a selection of moving, essential writings. (If you haven’t read his memoir Close to the Knives, we highly recommend it.) The Weight of the Earth contains the transcripts of recordings he made near the end of his life, reflecting on a host of topics.
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