It’s June, and we’re in a pensive mood. Sometimes that can mean thinking about questions of nature, society, and isolation; sometimes it means considering questions of art, artistic intent, and how we view ourselves. Here are ten recommendations for the month that cover a wide thematic ground, and might well leave you thinking about the ways you and others interact with the world, both natural and built.
Kathryn Bromwich, At the Edge of the Woods
(June 6, Two Dollar Radio)
A taut, suspenseful novel of a life in isolation, laced with a bit of folk horror? We’re in. Kathryn Bromwich’s novel tells the story of a woman living in seclusion near the Alps whose life is disrupted by a visitor from her past. The Guardian‘s review called it “a novel that invites full immersion on the reader’s part,” which also sounds enticing.
Paul Goldberg, The Dissident
(June 6, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Paul Goldberg’s fiction — which we’ve admired in these (virtual) pages before — often transports the reader back in time to various tense moments in history. In the case of The Dissident, that moment in time is the Soviet Union in 1976, where the novel’s protagonist is tasked with solving a murder that addresses the constraints and repressions around him.
Henry Hoke, Open Throat
(June 6, MCD)
Many writers have, over the years, written from the point of view of an animal. None of them, however, have done so in quite the same way that Henry Hoke did in Open Throat. Hoke’s new novel is an often surreal tale of a queer mountain lion trying to survive in a hostile environment — and finding odd moments of transcendence along the way.
Deborah Levy, August Blue
(June 6, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
At this stage, we’re all in on anything new Deborah Levy writes. Her work encompasses surreal fiction, candid memoir, and formally inventive prose; August Blue is her latest book, a novel about a piano player faced with a crossroads in her life.
Mattie Lubchansky, Boys Weekend
(June 6, Pantheon)
As longtime admirers of Mattie Lubchansky’s comics work, we’re thrilled to see their new book Boys Weekend out in stores this month. It’s at once a story of an emotionally fraught gathering of old friends and a suspenseful tale of those same people finding themselves at risk from a sinister cult. An exploration of gender and social dynamics with some cosmic horror thrown in? We’re intrigued.
Magogodi oaMphela Makhene, Innards
(June 6, W.W. Norton)
First and foremost, Innards is a fantastic title for a story collection. Magogodi oaMphela Makhene’s new book tells the stories of numerous people living their lives in Soweto, South Africa — and it’s prompted Kirkus Reviews to hail these tales as ” propulsive and challenging” in their review.
Molly Lynch, The Forbidden Territory of a Terrifying Woman
(June 13, Catapult)
At the Edge of the Woods isn’t the only novel due out this month with ominous things taking place in a forest, it turns out. Molly Lynch’s new book is about a surreal global event causing mothers to vanish from their homes, leaving a mystery for their loved ones to attempt to piece together.
Richard John Parfitt, Stray Dogs
(June 13, Third Man Books)
Road trips, motorcycle gangs, and the Toronto criminal underworld converge in this novel from musician and writer Richard John Parfitt. Summer can be an ideal time to read a coming-of-age story and a tense crime drama; in Stray Dogs, you get a novel that brings together the best elements of both.
Rebecca Bengal, Strange Hours: Photography, Memory, and the Lives of Artists
(June 27, Aperture)
Rebecca Bengal has written extensively about photography and other forms of art and creative expression. In this new collection — featuring a Joy Williams introduction — readers can enjoy a selection of Bengal’s writings on some of the greatest photographers of their time, with insightful looks into their themes and processes.
Tara Isabella Burton, Self-Made: Creating Our Identities from Da Vinci to the Kardashians
(June 27, Public Affairs)
Tara Isabella Burton has pulled off the impressive feat of writing both eminently readable nonfiction on heady concepts and gripping fiction that wrestles with big moral questions. Her new book, Self-Made, falls into the former category; it’s a fascinating look at (as you might guess) the self, and how conceptions and depictions of it have changed over the centuries.
Note: all release dates and cover artwork are subject to change.