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The 10 Novels Not to Miss This Summer

Stock Up on the Summer's Best Fiction for Those Lazy Summer Weekends Ahead
Tertulia •
May 25th, 2023

Once you're knocked out of that pickleball tournament, you're going to need a stack of poolside reading this summer. We can't think of a better escape than these 10 buzzy and compulsively readable novels—plus, a bonus story collection. Our summer fiction list includes the return of literary titans like Ann Patchett and Lorrie Moore, a stunning debut family saga, a Southern noir and much more... Preorder your books now for a hot fiction summer right at your doorstep!

If you're in the mood for gorgeous writing, and a surrealist story that starts seeping into your subconscious.

August Blue by Deborah Levy (June 6)

This is the latest novel by Booker Prize finalist Deborah Levy, which follows a concert pianist shadowed throughout Europe by a doppelganger. 

"Everything is a metaphor for something else, a clue to some other event, and that’s what makes this such a gleeful read. You know you’ve picked up only a fraction of what Levy has left for you to find; you know you’ll read August Blue again. At the same time, you’re forced to concede that once again she’s also made you feel more, perhaps, than you wanted. Emotionally, she’s opened you up as skilfully as she would open an item of seafood." – M. John Harrison in The Guardian.

If you're ready to sweat bullets with some gruesome Southern noir.

All the Sinners Bleed by S.A. Cosby (June 6)

By one of the greatest crime fiction writers working today, All the Sinners Bleed is the story of a serial murder invstigation that rocks a small southern town where secrets are festering under the surface. 

"Cosby may spend more time characterising his conflicted hero than his uniformly loathsome heavies, but, as in such previous successes by the author as Razorblade Tears, we are reminded that Cosby is primus inter pares among the current wave of exemplary US crime novelists writing from an African-American perspective." —Barry Forshaw in the Financial Times

If you're looking for a short novel that is haunting in a deep way. 

I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore (June 20)

The unmistakable tragicomedy of Lorrie Moore returns! In her first novel since 2009, she tells a story of just how much our pasts can haunt us through the eyes of a therapy clown, a teacher visiting his dying brother and an assassin. 

"For decades Lorrie Moore has been a master of identifying the places in contemporary life (yes, I’m counting the 1980s as contemporary) where funny and sad meet and become an emotional power couple. Her latest novel, after 2013’s A Gate at the Stairs, changes things up and finds her making a foray into historical fiction... How exciting to see what she’ll do in this new territory, especially given that her trademark wordplay transcends centuries and will likely be as snappy as ever." —Maris Kreizman in Vulture

If you're ready to sink into an epic family story complete with all the secrets and lies.

Banyan Moon by Thao Thai (June 27)

Debut author Thao Thai follows three generations of Vietnamese American women after the death of the family matriarch.

"Spanning decades and continents, vignettes of a teenage Minh's life in 1960s Vietnam add vibrant strokes to a searing portrait of mothers and daughters." —Jessica Wang in Entertainment Weekly

If you want to be transported to Warhol's downtown NYC circa 1966.

Nothing Special by Nicole Flattery (July 11)

A coming-of-age story about a teenager who drops out of school and becomes a typist and transcriber for Warhol, who is writing a novel drawing on the conversations of his many famous friends.

“To say that Nothing Special is a novel about Andy Warhol and the Factory is to miss the book’s true subject, which is young women’s self-scrutiny in a culture defined by male looking and male listening.” —Kevin Power in New York Review of Books

If you're wondering whether you're the only one with such toxic sibling relationships.

All-Night Pharmacy by Ruth Madievsky (July 11)

Well, we haven't read it. But this is how the publisher describes it: "Rachel Kushner meets David Lynch in this fever dream of an LA novel about a young woman who commits a drunken act of violence just before her sister vanishes without a trace." Yes, please! 

"Madievsky’s lyrical-prose style and arresting imagery create a book that is far more than an everyday romp through the Los Angeles underbelly. This is a startling story of a young woman consumed by the urge to do right." —Isle McElroy in Vulture

If you love getting swept up in the action of Colson Whitehead's vivid cast of characters.

Crook Manifesto by Colson Whitehead (July 18)

Two-time Pulitzer winner Whitehead continues his a detour from his books set in the Jim Crow south with this lively sequel to Harlem Shuffle, another heist novel set in 70s NYC.

"Whitehead’s darkly funny literary crime novel serves up scenes from Carney’s life that illustrate an era of upheaval in New York’s history."TIME

If you're in the mood for juicy, yet life-like storytelling that uncovers intimate secrets of the past.

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett (August 1)

In Ann Patchett's much-anticipated novel, a mother shares with her three grown daughters the story of her affair with a famous actor long ago. 

"Who is better, more nuanced, or more surprising on matters of love and family than Patchett? ...In Patchett’s novels, there’s always a strange mix of registers and reactions, something like dread or foreboding, balanced against a joyful effervescence that pushes us headlong toward whatever is coming next." —Dwyer Murphy in LitHub 

If you are ready to get sucked in to a great story, and barely register along the way that its a commentary on our complicity to late capitalism. 

Mobility by Lydia Kiesling (August 1)

The first book from the Crooked Media imprint co-founded by political commentator, former Obama White House staffer, and Crooked Media co-founder Jon Favreau, Mobility centers on a State Dept brat who grows up to pursue an ambitious career in the oil industry, but eventually returns to the scene of her youth, where slippery figures from the past reappear...

"Kiesling breaks down the barrier between the personal and political, ingeniously exposing the ways in which a person can be both ruled by and complicit in capitalism." —Bustle

If you're feeling fatalistic about a divided America and need a dose of hope.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store by James McBride (August 8)

In this follow-up to Deacon King Kong, master storyteller McBride reveals the shadowy past of Chicken Hill, the dilapidated neighborhood of Pottstown, PA, where immigrant Jews and African Americans lived side by side and shared ambitions and sorrows. The interwoven stories of the people of Chicken Hill show a community sustained by love, mutual respect and humanity.

“The interlocking destinies of [McBride’s] characters make for tense, absorbing drama and, at times, warm, humane comedy. . . If it’s possible for America to have a poet laureate, why can’t James McBride be its storyteller-in-chief?” —Kirkus

BONUS! This solid collection of short stories is breezy to read, but still prompts you to reflect on your everyday purpose, morality and joy.

Witness by Jamel Brinkley (August 4)

National Book Award finalist Brinkley sets these ten stories in the shifting landscapes of contemporary New York, with the common theme of taking action. Whether central figures or bystanders, his cast of characters must consider the moral challenge of speaking up or taking responsibility while often struggling to live up to the expectations of others.

“Portraits of intimacy and friendship, grief and mourning . . . Expect this to be one of the standout collections of the year.”—Dan Sheehan in LitHub 

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What to read next: