2013 has already seen some amazing fiction—but wait, there’s more! Here’s a peek ahead at a few of the major summer releases. Which ones will make your TBR list? Tell us in the comments!
The Engagements by J. Courtney Sullivan (Knopf). In her third novel, Sullivan looks at the idea of marriage and how it has changed—or not—over the decades, tying her story in to the 1940s De Beers ad campaign that made the diamond engagement ring a touchstone (pun intended) of American culture.
Sparta by Roxana Robinson (Sarah Crichton). With her customary perception, Robinson takes on the issue of soldiers returning to the home front. Conrad enlisted after college, served his time without major incident, and comes home to his girlfriend and family. But he is unable to ease back into everyday life—and his bitterness turns into anger that might have serious consequences.
Big Brother by Lionel Shriver (Harper). Inspired in part by Shriver’s own relationship with her brother, who died of complications from diabetes and obesity in 2010, this is an unflinching look at the toll of obesity on family relationships. (read more)
Trans-Atlantic by Colum McCann (Random House). Describing a Colum McCann novel is always a tricky proposition—he’s a master at weaving together multiple, disparate storylines. So let’s just say this latest novel goes from 1849 to 1918 to 1998 and explores the relationship between America and Ireland, slavery and freedom and war and peace.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (Morrow). Has it really been four years since the publication of Gaiman’s last adult novel? This new modern fable—which, at 192 pages, is more of a novella—tells the story of a man who returns to his native English village and suddenly realizes the cost of the horrible evil he fought as a child, with the help of Lettie Hempstock and her extraordinary mother and grandmother. (read more)
The Son by Philipp Meyer (Ecco). Meyer’s debut, American Rust, drew an incredible amount of critical acclaim when it was published in 2009, garnering comparisons to literary luminaries like Philip Roth, Cormac McCarthy and John Updike. His second novel, The Son, is an epic story of power and dynasty in Texas over 150 years—and it’s a modern classic. (read more)
Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House). Five years after the runaway success of American Wife, Sittenfeld returns with the story of twin sisters: Vi, a professed psychic, and Kate, a wife and mother in denial of her talents. When Vi predicts a devastating earthquake is around the corner, Kate must decide whether to support her sister and out herself for the potential good of the community, or continue to ignore her own instincts. (read more)
Enon by Paul Harding (Random House). It’s been two years since Harding stunned the literary world by winning the Pulitzer for his novel Tinkers, a quiet story of a complicated father-son relationship. Enon is another emotional, internal journey: The first-person story of a man dealing with his 12-year-old daughter’s death in a senseless accident.
The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer (Ecco). The author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli returns with another magical story. Greta Wells experiences three alternate lives during a therapy session, all with different secrets and losses, pain and happiness. Which one will she ultimately choose?
Fin & Lady by Cathleen Schine (Sarah Crichton). News that this summer will bring smart beach reading from Schine makes me happy. Fin is 11 when his parents die in 1964, and he is sent to live with his older sister, Lady. But Lady is a free spirit, and Fin soon realizes he’s as much her caregiver as she is his.
Amy Falls Down by Jincy Willett (Thomas Dunne). Heads up to readers who like their fiction full of dark humor, sharp wit and fierce intelligence—Jincy Willett has a new book out. A sequel of sorts to her last book The Writing Class, Amy Falls Down also stars bitter novelist Amy Gallup. When an interviewer arrives shortly after Amy takes a nasty bump on the head, the resulting article—where Amy’s rambling quotes are dubbed pure genius—turns around her failing career.
The Never List by Koethi Zan (Pamela Dorman). Will this be the Gone Girl of 2013? Zan’s story of a young woman marked by the consequences of her time spent as the prisoner of a sadistic kidnapper is drawing lots of buzz already.
The People in the Trees by Hanya Yanagihara (Doubleday). This ambitious first novel, billed as an “anthropological adventure,” was a decade in the making and is already being compared to Norman Rush and Ann Patchett.
Clare of the Sea-Light by Edwidge Danticat (Knopf). Danticat’s lyrical latest is set in small-town Haiti, where the disappearance of a young girl unites the lives of the residents.
Night Film by Marisha Pessl (Random House). She’s back! Pessl’s long-awaited second novel is being described as a “psychological thriller about obsession, family loyalty and ambition set in raw contemporary Manhattan.”
Archangel by Andrea Barrett (Norton). It’s been too long since the National Book Award-winning author released a book. This time it’s a collection of short stories about scientific firsts—subject matter that Barrett fans love to see her sink her teeth into.
After Her by Joyce Maynard (Harper). The new novel from the journalist and best-selling author of Labor Day and The Good Daughters is set in the summer of 1979 in Northern California, where sisters Rachel and Patty are largely left to their own devices by their distracted mother and perpetually cheating, yet charming, detective father. But when murdered girls begin turning up in the mountains near their home, Rachel and her father embark on separate quests to solve the case.
What books are you looking forward to this summer?