August brings with it hotter temperatures, a vision of a more humid life, and the slightest hint that fall might be on the way. August also brings with it a host of thought-provoking books, deftly-translated works from around the world, and imaginative fiction that riffs on contemporary concerns. Here’s a look at some of the books due out this month that have us most excited.
Jess Row, White Flights: Race, Fiction, and the American Imagination
(Aug. 6, Graywolf Press)
Jess Row’s previous novel, Your Face in Mine, grappled with questions of race and identity in contemporary American society. For his next book, he’s opted for a work of nonfiction that addresses some of those same questions from a different perspective. Like its predecessor, however, White Flights looks to be a thought-provoking read.
Jia Tolentino, Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion
(Aug. 6, Random House)
Jia Tolentino’s new book Trick Mirror addresses a host of fraught questions, from the line separating self-image from self-delusion to the dangerous ways in which social media can spiral out of control. Tolentino is known for her incisive essays about modern society, and this book furthers her perceptive takes on how we live today.
Kristen Case and Alexandra Manglis (editors), 21 | 19: Contemporary Poets in the Nineteeth-Century Archive; introduction by Fred Moten
(Aug. 13, Milkweed Editions)
A group of poets walks into a bar… Well, maybe not a bar, per se; how about an archive? This new anthology finds a group of contemporary poets responding to 19th-century poems in a variety of ways. Whether you’re seeking resonant moments of thematic overlap or gripping literary scholarship, there’s likely going to be something here to delight or enlighten.
Yoko Ogawa, The Memory Police; translated by Stephen Snyder
(Aug. 13, Pantheon)
Yoko Ogawa’s haunting fiction takes many forms, from the Gothic to the visceral. In her new novel The Memory Police, her work takes a turn for the dystopian: it’s set in an island state where objects begin vanishing mysteriously, and a governmental agency works to make sure that those objects remain obscure. It’s a novel that’s ominous in its implications and chilling in its execution.
Kimberly King Parsons, Black Light
(Aug. 13, Vintage)
With her debut collection Black Light, Kimberly King Parsons has established herself as a prime chronicler of the bleaker side of human existence. In these moody, stylish stories, Parsons ventures into fraught relationships, ecstatic experiences, and the weight of past trauma. The result is a searing first book, and one that should spark debate for years to come.
Chris Terry, Black Card
(Aug. 13, Catapult)
Chris L. Terry’s new novel Black Card blends an exploration of punk rock with a foray into the dynamics of race in America today. The result is a singular work of fiction, one that ventures to unexpected sociopolitical and cultural spaces and pushes towards a revelatory ending.
Rob Hart, The Warehouse
(Aug. 20, Crown)
Following a host of acclaimed works of crime fiction, Rob Hart takes a turn for the speculative with his latest novel, The Warehouse. It’s set in a near-future world where a massive tech company has returned the country to the days of company towns — and where secrets and betrayals play out in a harrowing fashion, with lives colliding along the way.
Rion Amilcar Scott, The World Doesn’t Require You
(Aug. 20, Liveright)
Rion Amilcar Scott’s new collection, The World Doesn’t Require You, follows up his acclaimed first book Insurrections with another psychologically-nuanced take on the lives of a disparate group of characters. The stories in this collection grapple with intense themes, and situate themselves in a space that sometimes ventures into the surreal.
David James Keaton and Max Booth III (editors), Tales From the Crust: An Anthology of Pizza Horror
(Aug. 27, Perpetual Publishing)
Do you like pizza? Do you like horror fiction? Well then. Tales From the Crust boasts contributions from the likes of Brian Evenson, Cody Goodfellow, and Rob Hart. And, again, it’s a book of pizza-themed horror fiction. What’s not to like?
Jean-Patrick Manchette, Nada; translated by Donald Nicholson-Smith; introduction by Luc Sante
(Aug. 27, NYRB Classics)
The taut, stylish crime fiction of the late Jean-Patrick Manchette is like nothing else you’re likely to read in this year or any other. The latest of his novels to be translated is Nada, which wrestles with the legacy of 1968 and explores questions of political radicalism and violence.
Nell Zink, Doxology
(Aug. 27, Ecco)
Nell Zink’s fiction resonates with memorable characters, a penchant for offbeat subcultures, and sudden shifts in tone. With Doxology, Zink explores the legacy of an up-and-coming band in late-90s New York City, and the relationships that emerge and evolve from it in the years that follow.