Exploring the art of prose


New Books: June 2020


The June 2020 edition of new fiction we can’t wait to read!


Carlos Manuel Álvarez, The Fallen (translated by Frank Wynne)

“A dreamlike yet insightful novel of a family and a country decaying from the inside….The reader is pulled into a vivid story that’s tender yet never touches on sentimental. Instead, the book pulses with a vivid realism and humanity that is heightened by Wynne’s poetic translation. The country and the family are both afflicted with a malaise that has seeped into their bones and is hard to shake loose.” Kirkus, starred review

From Graywolf | June 2

Brit Bennett, The Vanishing Half

“Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white. Bennett balances the literary demands of dynamic characterization with the historical and social realities of her subject matter.” The New York Times

From Riverhead | June 2

Marie-Helene Bertino, Parakeet

“Brilliant, chaotic, and fantastically untethered from humdrum reality…Bertino playfully, precisely builds a big world in these pages, somehow making the case that there’s too much love, pain, and magic to ever fit in one story, and fitting it in all the same.” Booklist, starred review

From Farrar, Straus and Giroux | June 2

Juan Cárdenas, Ornamental (translated by Lizzie Davis)

“Cárdenas understands the great possibilities available to literary minimalism, taking advantage of them linguistically as well as politically, in careful strokes of theme and plot. A stunning novel about the entitlement of both the pharmaceutical industry and the art world, but also about desire, addiction, excess, and a security team made of spider monkeys. Perhaps the most damning fictional portrait of late capitalism I have ever read, at once absurd and startlingly relevant, Ornamental is a subtle and beautifully written nightmare.” —Brian Evenson 

From Coffee House Press | June 2

Zachary Doss, Boy Oh Boy: Stories

Winner of the Grace Paley Prize in Short Fiction

“There’s a sly and unprepossessing humor to these stories, the feeling of someone waiting for you to notice the joke, though there’s never just one. It’s right there in the title—Boy Oh Boy—and it is something you might say as you read these stories of the way we are all abandoned to this world, to make of it what we can. Zach Doss is a writer to celebrate. He didn’t live long enough to give us more than this, but here is a book that sings like a troubadour under the balcony at midnight, songs of love and trouble, again and again, seemingly effortless and full of charm. Pick it up.” —Alexander Chee

From Red Hen Press | June 2

Megha Majumdar, A Burning

A Burning is an excellently crafted, utterly thrilling novel full of characters that I won’t soon forget. Megha Majumdar writes about the ripple effects of our choices, the interconnectedness of our humanity, with striking beauty and clarity. A stunning debut.” —Yaa Gyasi

From Knopf | June 2

Alice Miller, More Miracle than Bird

“Alice Miller proves herself to be a superb medium, summoning the mind and heart of Georgie Hyde-Lees and placing her at the center of a finely tuned and riveting drama. More Miracle than Bird is both a necessary corrective and a vivid portrait of a set of mercurial artists in a tumultuous time.” —Christopher Castellani

From Tin House Books | June 2

Ottessa Moshfegh, Death in Her Hands

“Perhaps the most jarring genre of fiction is the kind that takes you deep into the gradual unraveling of a person’s mind. Moshfegh does a masterful job with Death in Her Hands, which follows a protagonist who believes she’s solving a murder. The book moves seamlessly from suspenseful to horrifying, retaining the reader’s attention all the while.” —Marie Claire

From Penguin | June 23

Ashleigh Bryant Phillips, Sleepovers: Stories

Winner of the 2019 C. Michael Curtis Short Story Book Prize

“Ashleigh’s prose often holds an incantatory crispness that lulled me into forgetting what I was reading, particularly in extraordinarily sad stories like ‘The Virgin’ and ‘An Unspoken,’ both of which derive their power from an almost unbearable dramatic irony and an equally deep hunger for human connection and compassion. I see in this collection a steely writer, one deeply moved by her place and her people, but also fully committed to the truth no matter how dark or difficult or complicated it may be.” —Lauren Groff

From Hub City Writers Project | June 16

Emily Temple, The Lightness

“Temple’s evocative exploration of teenage girlhood, shame, and longing illuminates the double-edged desire for power and belonging. Her sentences are complex and rich…Temple’s narrative strategies of deferral invite us into a complex, psychological study of a young woman haunted by her past—and her capacity to hunger for violence and self-destruction. A dark, glittering fable about the terror of desire.” Kirkus, starred review

From William Morrow | June 16