Books to Look Out For Out for in June 2022

Cover image for Fight Night by Miriam ToewsBack from lovely Italy (more of which later in the week) with a disappointingly short June preview although I have read four of the eight that caught my eye so those come tried and tested beginning with the one that’s most likely to be on readers’ radars already.

Miriam Toews’ Fight Night takes the form of a letter written by nine-year-old Swiv to her father, off defending the world from fascism according to her uninhibited, chatty grandmother with whom she lives. Suspended from school for fighting again, she’s currently following an eccentric home-schooling curriculum based around Grandma’s determination that she should be equipped to take on the world. Child narrators are notoriously difficult to pull off but Swiv is instantly engaging as she recounts Grandma’s often embarrassing antics. Her sobering family history make this a tragicomedy that’ll have you rooting for Swiv to its end. Review shortly…

Set in mid-90s Cambridge, Tiepolo Blue is a tragicomedy of a very different kind. It follows Don Lamb, renowned Tiepolo expert andCover image for Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill art history professor, who caught the eye of Valentine Black, two decades his senior, on his first day as an undergraduate. Egged on by Val, Don voices his opinions about an installation approved by the new Master landing himself in all sorts of trouble. By the end of the novel Don’s life has unravelled in spectacular fashion. Cahill skewers the art world nicely and the pompous vanity of academia is excruciatingly well portrayed. I’d guessed what was happening about halfway through but Cahill’s novel still had me gripped, wondering when the penny would drop for Don. Review soon…

Cover image for Stargazer by Laurie PetrouIt was the theme of female friendship that drew me to Canadian author Laurie Petrou’s Stargazer but there’s an art thread, too. It follows Aurelle and Diana who become inseparable after Diana’s bullying brother drowns, both choosing to study at the university attended by Aurelle’s famous mother where they set up house together. Diana is happy to dip into student life but remains largely aloof while Aurelle relishes her apparent anonymity. As the year wears on, Diana proves herself to be a prodigious artistic talent at a terrible cost to Aurelle who throws herself into partying.  I thoroughly enjoyed this exploration of friendship, art and fame which has a great ending. Review to come…Cover image for The Cherry Robbers by Sarai Walker

Sarai Walkers The Cherry Robbers is about a reclusive American artist, the youngest of six sisters at a time when the only way out of their cloistered New England home was through marriage. The first of the sisters to marry dies shortly afterwards, as does the second. The remaining four are left to make their own way through the ruins of the family’s life. ‘The Cherry Robbers is a wonderfully atmospheric, propulsive novel about sisterhood, mortality and forging one’s own path’ say the publishers promisingly. Lots of praise from readers whose opinion I trust on Twitter for this one.

Cover image for The Lovers by Paulo CognettiThree years ago, I reviewed Paulo Cognetti’s Eight Mountains which I loved for its sensitive depiction of friendship and glorious descriptions of both the Italian Alps and the Himalayas. I’m hoping for more of that with The Lovers which follows Fausto and Silvia who meet in winter and for whom mountains are an integral part of their story. Described by the publishers as having ‘a classic, enduring appeal, a cinematic feel, a captivating backdrop, and a romantic sensibility underpinned by a spare, powerful prose style’ it sounds like another moving testament to the power of love and landscape.Cover image for Hearts and Bones by Niamh Mulvey

Two June short story collections, one of which I’ve read. I’m on a winning streak with Irish women authors this year. I’m sure to hit a dud eventually but Niamh Mulvey’s debut, Hearts and Bones, certainly wasn’t it. This slim collection comes with a subtitle which sets the tone, echoed by that brilliant jacket, as its narrators, mostly women, look back at turning points in their lives, from a teacher’s visit to her boyfriend which turns out to be surprisingly liberating when his cleaner becomes a friend and ally, to a ten-year-old who watches her alcoholic mother blossom knowing it can’t last and resolves how to survive with an unnerving maturity. Review soon…

Cover image for Islanders by Claire ThomasSet on Guernsey, Islanders, Cathy Thomas’ collection of closely linked stories, spans twenty years in the lives of a group of people – some related to each other, others old schoolmates, acquaintances and friends. Thomas’ stories ‘tear back the facade of a small community to reveal the desires, friendships, betrayals, regrets and heartaches of twelve intertwined people’ according to the blurb which sounds unmissable to me, and what a fabulous cover.

That’s it for June’s new fiction. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis for any that take your fancy. Paperbacks soon…

27 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in June 2022”

  1. I’ve seen another recommendation for Tiepolo Blue recently – it looks intriguing. Glad you had a lovely holiday

  2. Welcome back Susan! Some very striking covers in this selection. I’m drawn to Islanders as I don’t think I’ve read anything set on Guernsey before. Looking forward to your Italy post 🙂

  3. Still haven’t read Eight Mountains, so I shouldn’t really be eyeing that new Cognetti, but I can never resist a book about mountains and friendship.

  4. I have proofs of Fight Night and Hearts & Bones and I’m looking forward to them. (I just need to dig out the box they’re in!) The Cherry Robbers sounds intriguing. I’ll look out for more about it.

      1. I tried to be sensible about how I labelled boxes, e.g. “June books TBR” or “20 books of summer options”. However, we let our neighbour loose on unpacking boxes from her car into the house while we loaded the van, and she stacked most of the book boxes in a giant floor-to-ceiling tower in the corner of the dining room, which I will have to disassemble very carefully in the coming days!

  5. Hm, not sure about Tiepolo Blue. I’m drawn by the art theme but the tragicomic treatment could be irritating so I’ll do what I often do in these cases – get a copy from the library. That way if I don’t much care for the book I don’t feel guilty about the cost.

    1. I can vouch for both Stargazer and Hearts & Bones – I’ll be reviewing both next month. Expectations are high for the Cognetti. Eight Mountains was such a beautiful book.

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