Books of the Month: May 2024

May 2024 Books

It’s a few days into a new month, and you can probably tell what’s next: we have some May books we’d like to recommend. Stylistically, they cover a lot of terrain; you’ll find everything from experimental short fiction to haunting meditations of contemporary politics here. Read on for some suggestions for the weeks to come.


‘Pemi Aguda, Ghostroots
(May 7, W.W. Norton)

“In fiction, trapping a character pushes the repressed to the surface, forces them to look—at the world, at themselves.” So said ‘Pemi Aguda in a recent interview about her approach to storytelling. Her debut collection takes readers into a surreal series of lives in the city of Lagos, creating a heightened reality where these conflicts play out.

"The Ministry of Time"

Kaliane Bradley, The Ministry of Time
(May 7, Avid Reader Press)

We’re always here for an ambitious take on time travel, and Kaliane Bradley’s new book — about a star-crossed romance playing out over a distance of centuries — seems to fit that bill perfectly. Writing at The Guardian, Ella Risbridger praised the book for how its “vast themes are handled deftly and in deference to character and plot.”

"American Abductions"

Mauro Javier Cárdenas, American Abductions
(May 7, Dalkey Archive Press)

The latest novel by Mauro Javier Cárdenas is set in the not-so-distant future and chronicles a number of issues converging in menacing ways, from nationalism to the growth of algorithms. Cárdenas does great things with big ideas, and this looks to be another addition to an impressive bibliography. And you can read an excerpt from it here.


Ashley Honeysett, Fictions
(May 7, Miami University Press)

We’re always on the lookout for work that does bold things with form, and Ashley Honeysett’s Fictions certainly seems to fit that description. Hugh Sheehy called it “[s]imultaneously novella-in-stories, plague journal, memoir, and meditation on writing fiction.” We’re intrigued.

"Buster: A Dog"

George Pelecanos, Buster: A Dog
(May 7, Akashic Books)

Whether you’re a fan of his D.C.-set crime novels or his work for television, you’ve probably encountered and dug some of George Pelecanos’s work in one medium or another. For his latest book, he’s opted to take a very different route to exploring modern life: this time, the narrator is a dog.

"Wire Mothers"

Katharine Coldiron, Wire Mothers
(May 12, Whisk(e)y Tit)

Drawing inspiration for one of the most heartbreaking behavioral studies of all time, Katharine Coldiron’s new collection explores an array of unconventional approaches to life. From chowing down on books to arranging illicit activities, Coldiron’s characters take the road less traveled — leaving it demolished in their wake.

"April May June July"

Alison B. Hart, April May June July
(May 14, Graydon House)

It seems eminently fitting to have a recommended book for May that actually features the month in question in its title. Alison B. Hart’s new novel chronicles a quartet of estranged siblings who find themselves reunited with an unlikely goal: figuring out why their long-absent father is back after disappearing years earlier.

"We Were the Universe"

Kimberly King Parsons, We Were the Universe
(May 14, Knopf)

We’re longtime admirers of Kimberly King Parsons’s fiction, and we’re happy to see that this month brings with it her debut novel. Psychedelics, pornography, and an avid fantasy life all play a part in this novel of one woman’s inner conflicts and familial drama.

"The Berlin Wall"

David Leo Rice, The Berlin Wall
(May 14, Whisk(e)y Tit)

To read the fiction of David Leo Rice is to enter an ever-shifting world in which memories conjure the landscape and obsessions soon blossom into cults. The Berlin Wall has nestled narratives and haunting surrealism in abundance; it also features pieces of the titular wall that have taken human form. We’re entirely on board.


John Madera, Nervosities
(May 15, Anti-Oedipus Press)

For his debut collection, Big Other editor John Madera has brought together a host of his short fiction — genre-spanning and formally inventive work throughout. Here’s what Brian Evenson had to say: “What I love about these stories is how they couple a commitment to language and maximalist literary endeavor with a sensibility that is politically aware, engaged, and radical.”

"As It Was in the Beginning"

Gertrude Trevelyan, As It Was in the Beginning
(May 31, Boiler House Press)

In recent years, Boiler House Press has been working on getting the bibliography of the late Modernist writer Gertrude Trevelyan back into print. Trevelyan was, by all accounts, writing groundbreaking work in the 1930s but became a casualty of the Blitz. This novel focuses on its protagonist revisiting her life as it draws to a close, with Trevelyan exploring her psychology in meticulous detail.


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

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