Books of the Month: July 2023 Edition

July 2023 Book recommendations

And now it’s July. Most of the time, when we assemble these lists, there are one or two themes that stand out across the books selected. This time out, it’s a little more of a grab bag: a little experimental fiction here, a little translated comics there. Still, we’re very enthusiastic about what the month has in store, including new books from some longtime favorites — and a few Sunday Stories alumni.

Scott Adlerberg, The Screaming Child
(July 11, Ghoulish Books)

Scott Adlerberg can do historical sweep, nuanced character work, and nail-biting tension. With his new book, you can safely add “uncanny storytelling” to that list. It’s about a woman living and working in solitude who begins to hear strange cries — cries that seem somehow connected to her own missing child. Unsettling? Oh yes.

The Oud Player of Cairo

Jasmin Attia, The Oud Player of Cairo
(July 11, Schaffner Press)

In her award-winning debut novel, Jasmin Attia journeys into the recent past of Cairo to tell the story of an ambitious young woman who defies convention and follows in her family’s musical tradition. For a nuanced look at both urban life and the making of art, Attia’s novel has both in abundance.

Half-Life of a Stolen Sister

Rachel Cantor, Half-Life of a Stolen Sister
(July 11, Soho Press)

There’s been a lot written over the years about the Brontë siblings, who have showed up in everything from a 1979 André Téchiné film to Kieron Gillen and Stephanie Hans’s comic book series Die. With her new novel, Rachel Cantor explores these uniquely creative lives in a formally inventive way, making for a singular look at literary history.


Sarah Rose Etter, Ripe
(July 11, Scribner)

Sarah Rose Etter’s fiction to date has memorably combined visceral imagery with heady doses of surrealism — and her latest novel seems primed to continue that streak. It’s the story of a woman working at an ethically dubious technology company and the black hole that’s been her constant companion in life, all of which makes for a fascinating and intriguing combination.

The Stolen Coast

Dwyer Murphy, The Stolen Coast
(July 11, Viking)

We quite enjoyed Dwyer Murphy’s previous novel, An Honest Living, which pulled off both crime-fiction thrills and a memorably shaggy, lived-in quality. With The Stolen Coast, Murphy has traded his New York setting for one in Massachusetts, and tells a story that zeroes in on life’s gray areas and quasi-legal operations. We’re on board for it.

The Beast You Are

Paul Tremblay, The Beast You Are
(July 11, William Morrow)

Do you like your fiction abounding with unexpected horrors and ethical dilemmas? Paul Tremblay has you covered. What about fiction that wrestles with ambiguity in innovative ways? Paul Tremblay also has you covered. The Beast You Are is his new collection; we’re eager to see what new ways he takes his style this time out.


Kathleen Alcott, Emergency
(July 18, W.W. Norton)

We’ve admired Kathleen Alcott’s longform fiction to date, and we’re just as excited to read Emergency, her first collection of short stories. And the advance word on this one has us especially excited, with Kirkus praising it for its “exquisite insights about women’s agency and the corrosiveness of male privilege.”

Field Guide to Graphic Literature

Kelcey Ervick and Tom Hart, editors, The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Graphic Literature
(July 18, Rose Metal Press)

We’re always up for a good collection of writing analyzing how notable creative works come together. This new anthology focuses on everything that falls under the heading of graphic literature. And given that the contributors range from Eleni Sikelianos to Matt Madden, that suggests a broad range of styles indeed.

Social Fiction

Chantal Montellier, Social Fiction; translated by Geoffrey Brock
(July 25, New York Review Comics)

Speaking of graphic storytelling, how about a series of science fiction graphic novellas translated into English for the first time? Journalist Paul Gravett called this volume “hugely overdue” and noted that these stories are “more relevant than ever” — and, as speculative narratives go, that’s especially compelling.

The Freedom Clause

Hannah Sloane, The Freedom Clause
(July 25, The Dial Press)

Back in 2014, we published a short story by Hannah Sloane; this year sees the release of her first novel, and we’re thrilled to see it. The Freedom Clause is a carefully-observed story of a contemporary marriage, and the decision by both parties to make an open one, with several notable caveats. What follows is a fascinating character study and an exploration of intimacy.

King of the Armadillos

Wendy Chin-Tanner, King of the Armadillos
(July 25, Flatiron Books)

Following several acclaimed works of poetry, Wendy Chin-Tanner now turns her attention to prose with this, her first novel. King of the Armadillos tells the story of a young man whose life is disrupted when he’s forced into a quarantine facility as a result of a medical condition, and the unexpected directions his life takes as a result.


Note: all release dates and cover artwork are subject to change.

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