Hot New Reads to Get You Through the Heat Wave — July Fiction Preview

This month has been hot hot hot so far, and lets be honest, there’s only one way to truly handle the heat: like Daisy Buchanan, you’ll find us reclined on a chaise longue with a tall glass of iced tea, an elegant fan and a good book! Just kidding, but you will find us camped out around the AC unit trying to escape the heat with some of our favourite new books. Keep reading for this month’s bookish distractions from indie publishing…

God’s Teeth and Other Phenomena by James Kelman

PM Press, 9781629639390, p/b, £12.99, 21/07/2022

This Scottish author needs little introduction — Kelman’s 1994 Booker Prize and further parade of accolades speak for themselves. This electric new novel explores the complexities and psychological challenges of making art through the story of Jack Proctor, an artist and writer attempting to re-enter the art world after slipping into irrelevance. Unknown to most, unable to work on his own writing, surrounded by a host of odd characters, would-be writers, antagonists, handlers, and members of the elite House of Art and Aesthetics, Proctor finds himself driven to distraction (literally in a very, very tiny car). This is a story of a man attempting not to go mad when forced to stop his own writing in order to coach others to write.

Eden by Sonia Overall

Weatherglass Books, 9781739983314, p/b, £11.99, 21/07/2022

If you’re looking for literary fiction that surprises you, then look no further than Sonia Overall’s Eden. A bold new exploration of the life and work of Ernest Hemingway, focussed on his complex relationship with gender and sexuality, intertwined with a contemporary story about sexual and social taboos. Penelope is an English professor, who, decades after Hemingway’s death, becomes obsessed with this book, and feels its influence on her own life and her infatuation with a young male student. Catherine is the young wife in The Garden of Eden who speaks to us as she begins to test the confines of her fictional existence. The three narratives entwine and progress to a fascinating and moving conclusion.

Of Saints and Miracles by Manuel Astur

Peirene Press, 9781908670717, p/b, £12.99, 07/07/2022

Magical realism meets dark, twisted crimes in this novel from Manuel Astur, who was selected by the European Union as ‘One of the Ten Most Interesting New Voices in Europe’. Described by Patrick McGuinness as a ‘fierce, passionate book,’ this story reveals the life of Marcelino living alone on his parent’s farm in the beautiful but impoverished Asturias countryside. But when Marcelino’s brother tricks him out of his land and home, a moment of uncontrolled anger sparks a chain of events that can’t be reversed. Marcelino flees into the wild peaks, dense woods and abandoned villages that surround his home, becoming a cult hero as he evades the authorities. This poetic and enigmatic story of an outcast on the run is unlike anything you’ve read before.

The Very Nice Box by Laura Blackett and Eve Gleichman

Verve Books, 9780857308269, p/b, £9.99, 26/07/2022

The Very Nice Box follows Ava Simon, a storage designer for STÄDA, a slick Brooklyn-based furniture company. She’s hard-working, obsessive, and heartbroken from a tragedy that killed her girlfriend and upended her life. It’s been years since she’s let anyone in. But when Ava’s new boss — the young and magnetic Mat Putnam — offers Ava a ride home one afternoon, an unlikely relationship blossoms. Ava remembers how rewarding it can be to open up — and, despite her instincts, she becomes enamoured. But Mat isn’t who he claims to be, and the romance takes a sharp turn… Exploring male-dominated corporate culture and the intersection of wellness culture in the workplace, this is the perfect read for fans of Sourdough by Robin Sloan, Severance by Ling Ma, and Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata.

Good Husbands by Cate Ray

September Publishing, 9781914613135, h/b, £14.99, 14/07/2022

This dark and twisted thriller is a great fit for anyone obsessed with iconic movies and TV shows like How to Get Away with Murder or Gone Girl. This gripping, high-impact drama starts with three very different women who believe they have the perfect families and the perfect husbands. However, when they all receive the same letter accusing their husbands of a terrible crime 20 years ago, they’re sent into a spiral of disbelief and desperation. As they try to uncover the truth, the women must work out who they believe, what they should do, and whether the men they loved can be trusted ever again.

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