Are we officially in summer reading season now? The summer of 2020 is a summer like few others, and the books due out this July line up with that very well. From surreal fiction to the secret history of boy bands to a tribute to an under-appreciated writer, the books we’re most excited about this month offer an abundance of ways in which to see the world.
Natalie Bakopoulos, Scorpionfish
(July 7, Tin House)
In Natalie Bakopoulos’s new novel Scorpionfish, a grieving academic returns to Athens and renews her connection with an up-and-coming politician. This novel blends the personal and the political, showcasing the dangerous ways that the two can converge. Scorpionfish blends history and contemporary concerns in a gripping package.
Blake Butler, Alice Knott
(July 7, Riverhead Books)
What happens when Blake Butler’s frenetic prose is applied to a story of art, isolation, and obsession? The result might look like Alice Knott, Butler’s new book about memories, the destruction of art, and the endurance of trauma. We can’t wait.
Sarah Gerard, True Love
(July 7, Harper)
With her previous books, Sarah Gerard has shown her command of both fiction and nonfiction. Now she returns to the former with her new novel True Love, which focuses on a group of people, each searching for different forms of love in their own way. Blending memorable characters and unexpected interactions, Gerard’s new book has plenty to offer.
Norman Lock, American Follies
(July 7, Bellevue Literary Press)
Norman Lock’s new novel American Follies continues his reimagining of the American literary canon, then putting a surreal spin on it. Here, he references both some of his earlier works and the secret history of New Jersey in a phantasmagorical novel of secret missions, racist organizations, and unlikely alliances.
Lynn Steger Strong, Want
(July 7, Henry Holt & Co.)
As tremendous admirers of Lynn Steger Strong’s writing (some of which we’ve been lucky enough to publish), we’ve been eagerly awaiting her second novel since we first heard news of it. Want focuses on the bond between two women amidst a time of economic uncertainty, and the complications that ensue as a result.
Ian F. Svenonious, The Psychic Soviet
(July 7, Akashic Books)
Ian F. Svenonious isn’t just the frontman for a host of beloved post-punk bands; over the years, he’s also developed as an author and satirist worth reading. The Psychic Soviet was his debut book; this new edition includes some new material, along with the works that first put him on the literary map.
Yoss, Red Dust; translated by David Frye
(July 7, Restless Books)
Cuban author Yoss has developed a stateside following for his distinctive spin on science fiction, at once irreverent and deeply humanistic. Red Dust offers his spin on noir narratives with a science fictional spin, as a robotic detective investigates a bizarre case across a number of planets.
Stephen Graham Jones, The Only Good Indians
(July 14, Gallery/Saga Press)
Stephen Graham Jones writes fiction that unsettles in a particularly unnerving way. His recent novella Mapping the Interior stands as a bold example of American folk horror; with his new novel, The Only Good Indians, Jones tells the story of a group of Indian men grappling with unearthly forces for their sanity and their lives.
David Mitchell, Utopia Avenue
(July 14, Random House)
David Mitchell’s fiction functions on the interpersonal level and on the cosmic level — and, frequently, does both at once. Utopia Avenue is his take on the rock and roll novel, and traces the fortunes of a rising band and the conflicts they face, both materially and spiritually.
David Berry, On Nostalgia
(July 21, Coach House Books)
In an era of constant reboots, revivals, and reunions, it seems like the right moment for a book about the appeal of nostalgia. And thus, David Berry’s On Nostalgia, a thoughtful and provocative look at what nostalgia means and how its role in society and culture has shifted over the years and decades.
Catherine Lacey, Pew
(July 21, Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
Plenty of writers whose work we enjoy are returning with new books this month; Catherine Lacey is no exception, and her new novel Pew promises to be a mysterious, atmospheric look at memory, identity, and community. It centers on a mysterious child taken in by a congregation and the revelations that they uncover, leading towards a powerful denouement.
Maria Sherman, Larger Than Life
(July 21, Black Dog & Leventhal)
What does it mean to be in a boy band? What is the cultural history of such groups? Those are the questions Maria Sherman addresses in her new book Larger Than Life. If you’ve read any of Sherman’s writing on music and pop culture over the last few years, you’re already familiar with her incisive looks at art and the people who make it. This looks to be a perfect match of subject and author.
Jayant Kaikini, No Presents, Please; translated by Tejaswini Niranjana
(July 28, Catapult)
You might not be traveling much during the pandemic, but the right books can provide a transportive experience. Cue Jayant Kaikini’s No Presents, Please, which offers a resonant glimpse of contemporary Mumbai through a series of powerful short stories. As a bonus, this book recently won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.
Tinashe Mushakavanhu, Reincarnating Marechera: Notes On a Speculative Archive
(July 30, Ugly Duckling Presse)
Periodically, we will lament the fact that the late Dambudzo Marechera’s writings are not better-known in the United States. (If you can track down a copy of The House of Hunger, we highly recommend it.) Tinashe Mushakavanhu’s Reincarnating Marechera offers a welcome exploration of Marechera’s bibliography and a consideration of why his work still endures.
Note: all cover artwork and release dates are subject to change.
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