10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in June 2015

Looking for something terrific to read? We've got you covered! Here are 10 great novels and story collections coming out this month.


In the Country
by Mia Alvar
This stunning debut story collection is getting raves. Alvar’s stories “reflect her own peripatetic background (Manila born, Bahrain/New York raised, Harvard/Columbia educated), featuring a cast of immigrants, expats, travelers, runaways, and returnees caught in constant motion—geographically, socioeconomically, politically, emotionally—as  they search for respite and long for an elusive ‘home’” (Library Journal). Kirkus Reviews calls it “a triumphant, singular collection deserving of every accolade it will likely receive.”

The Star Side of Bird Hill
by Naomi Jackson
Brooklyn-born Dionne Braithwaite, 16, and her 10-year-old sister Phaedra have been sent to live with their grandmother in a small village in Barbados while their single mother gets her life together. As their stay becomes unexpectedly longer, generational and cultural conflicts arise, Dionne meets boys and Phaedra embraces her new Caribbean home. “The themes she touches on—mental illness, immigration, motherhood, sexual awakening—are potent and deftly juggled, anchored in the vivid locale of Bird Hill yet universally relatable. Readers will be turning the pages to follow Phaedra and Dionne's memorable journey” (Publisher’s Weekly). Debut novelist Jackson is a Fulbright scholar and winner of the Maytag Fellowship for Excellence in Fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.

In the Unlikely Event                                              
by Judy Blume
Beloved author Blume bases her newest novel on three real-life plane crashes that occurred near Newark Airport during the winter of 1951-52. The three crashes have a profound impact on 15-year-old Miri, her family and friends. Publishers Weekly calls it “characteristically accessible, frequently charming, and always deeply human.” This novel will appeal to both teens and adults.

The Meursault Investigation
by Kamel Daoud, translated by John Cullen
Harun mourns the loss of his brother Musa, an Algerian Arab who was killed by Meursault, the protagonist of The Stranger, in this vivid retelling of the novel by Camus. The New York Times calls it “an intricately layered tale that not only makes us reassess Camus’s novel but also nudges us into a contemplation of Algeria’s history and current religious politics; colonialism and postcolonialism; and the ways in which language and perspective can radically alter a seemingly simple story and the social and philosophical shadows it casts backward and forward.” Library Journal calls it “an eye-opening, humbling read, splendid whether or not you know and love the original.” This debut novel earned a Prix Goncourt nomination for the author, an Algerian journalist.

Ghost Summer: Stories
by Tananarive Due
Ghost Summer is the first short story collection from Tannarive Due, an award winning author of speculative fiction and horror. “Due crafts perceptive and realistic accounts of the experiences of African-American families, including racism, familial dysfunction, and traditional religion, but she adds chilling supernatural elements that simultaneously infuse her plots with visceral dread and add immediacy to the social commentary underlying her stories” (Novelist).

The Sunlit Night
by Rebecca Dinerstein
21-year-old Frances flees a broken heart and her splintering family in Manhattan for a tiny village in Norway where she apprentices with an artist who silently paints murals with only the color yellow. Grieving 17-year-old Yasha, a Russian immigrant to the U.S., has come to the same village to bury his father, who wanted to be laid to rest "at the top of the world". An unlikely romance brews between the two in this unique setting accompanied by a “cast of sitcom-ready Norwegian misfits” who are “engaging and sad and quirky” (Kirkus). Publishers Weekly raves, “Dinerstein's novel is a rich reading experience” and “her prose is lyrical and silky, but it's also specific, with acute observations and precise detail, and she evokes the sun-stroked, barren Norwegian landscape with a striking sense of place.”           

The Truth and Other Lies
by Sascha Arango
Rich, bestselling author Henry Hayden has some secrets. For one, his wife is actually the author of the books bearing his name. Also, his agent is also his mistress, and now she’s pregnant. Then, there’s the matter of a series of mysterious deaths. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a cross between James M. Cain and Patricia Highsmith, with a wide streak of sardonic humor” and “German screenwriter Arango's first novel is superior pulp, with schemers all around and plenty to say about fame, identity, and mortality.”

A History of Money
by Alan Pauls, Translated by Ellie Robbins
This is the first US release from an author that Roberto Bolaño called "one of the best living Latin American writers." Set during the financially troubled decades of the 70s and 80s in Argentina, this novel examines a family’s prickly relationship with money and showcases the author’s experimental style. “Pauls dazzles the reader with run-on sentences and page-long paragraphs that generate a linguistically rich, money-hungry momentum” (Booklist).

The Pinch: A History
by Steve Stern
Set in The Pinch, a Jewish neighborhood in Memphis, in the late 60s, Lenny Sklarew works in a bookstore and sells drugs on the side. He discovers a book by Muni Pinsker called The Pinch: A History in which he is a character, arriving in Memphis from Siberia in 1911. “With a motley cast, including blues musicians, a folklorist, an ogre, levitating Hasidim, and a limping tightrope walker, Stern, an ebullient maestro of words and mayhem, wonder and conscience, orchestrates a cacophonous, whirling, gritty, tender, time-warping saga that encompasses a cavalcade of horror, stubborn love, cosmic slapstick, burlesque humor, and a scattering of miracles” (Booklist). Stern’s last book, a story collection called The Book of Mischief, was named a best book of the year by Kirkus Reviews and The New York Times. You can read an excerpt of The Pinch here

I Saw a Man
by Owen Sheers
Michael’s wife Caroline was a TV journalist, accidentally killed by a U.S. drone attack in Pakistan. The grieving widower moves to London, where he is warmly embraced by his next door neighbors, Josh and Samantha Nelson. Tragedy strikes again when Michael is involved in a fatal accident involving one of the Nelson’s daughters. Kirkus calls it a “highly original, engrossing literary thriller” and Booklist praises the way Sheers “indicts not only his characters but also the wider culture for the ways in which we shirk culpability.” Owen Sheers is an award winning Welsh poet, novelist and playwright, and the author of Resistance (2007).

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