Books to Look Out For Out for in June 2024: Part One

Cover image for Going Home by Tom LamontThis first few titles in this batch of potential June goodies have a coming-of-age theme beginning with the only one I’ve already read. Téo finds himself in charge of two-year-old Joel after his mother takes her own life in Going Home, Tom Lamont’s warm-hearted, empathetic debut. Social Services’ machinery grinds into action with the help of Sibyl, the local rabbi, deeming Téo a suitable temporary carer, plunging him into a parenting role he didn’t ask for while his wealthy, hedonistic best friend Ben looks on. Over the next year, a kind of family is formed from this disparate set of characters plus Téo’s enthusiastic father who sees a fresh chance in Joel. This is a setup which might well have descended into sentimental schlock but Lamont steers it well clear of that. Review to follow…Cover image for Only Here, Only Now by Tom Newlands

Tom Newlands’ Only Here, Only Now is set in Scotland during the summer of 1994 when Cora Mowat is desperate to escape her seaside council estate. Cora knows she’s different, struggling with a mental restlessness made worse by the futile attempts of her mother and her renegade new boyfriend to forge some sort of family. ‘In this extraordinary debut, drawn from life but written with riotous imagination, Tom Newlands explores what it means to come of age in a forgotten corner of Scotland and dream of a life that feels out of reach. Vibrant, lyrical and fiercely funny, Only Here, Only Now is a story about poverty, identity and family that shines with hope and resilience’ says the blurb of a novel much praised by David Peace.

Cover iumage for Early Sobrieties by Michael DeaglerIt’s the glowing Percival Everett puff that’s piqued my interest with Michael Deagler’s Early Sobrieties which sees a twenty-six-year-old man attempting to spend the summer sober. Everything seems to be against Dennis, not least his parents’ decision to kick him out of the family home into the arms of ex-drinking buddies and former classmates. ‘Early Sobrieties is a devastatingly witty novel about coming of age a second time. Deagler’s debut marks the arrival of an astonishing new voice in American fiction’ promises the blurb. Not, perhaps, the most exciting synopsis but if it’s good enough for Mr Everett…Cover image for The Heart of Winter by Kevin Barry

I thoroughly enjoyed Kevin Barry’s short story collection, That Old Country Music, but have yet to read one of his novels. His latest, Heart of Winter, is set in the 1890s American West, opening in the town of Butte, Montana whose inhabitants have grown rich on copper mining and are running rampant on the proceeds. When a debauched balladeer falls hard for the new bride of a devout mine boss and she for him, they head out west with a company of Cornish gunmen hot on their trail. Very much like the sound of that.

Cover image for Determination by Tawseef KhanTawseef Khan’s Determination follows a young immigration solicitor trying to do the best for her clients in the government’s ‘hostile environment’. Pushed to the limit, Jamila suffers a breakdown which forces her to reassess her life while still committing herself to a career helping others. ‘In this polyphonic, assured and character-driven debut, we meet the staff of Shah & Co Solicitors, who themselves arrived in the UK not too long ago, and their clients, more recent arrivals who are made to jump through hoops to create a life for themselves whilst trying to achieve some semblance of normality’ says the blurb whetting my appetite. It’s the polyphonic narrative that particularly tempts me.Cover image for Scaffolding by Lauren Elkin

I like the premise of Lauren Elkin’s Scaffolding which sees two couples living in the same Parisian apartment fifty years apart. In 2019, David works in London while Anna is trying to come to terms with a miscarriage, making friends with a younger woman who’s part of a radical feminist group. In 1972, Florence is hoping to get pregnant, but Henry is ambivalent. ‘Both sets of couples face the challenges of marriage, fidelity, and pregnancy, against a backdrop of political disappointment and intellectual controversy. The characters and their ghosts bump into and weave around each other, not knowing that they once all inhabited the same space’ according to the blurb.

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

35 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in June 2024: Part One”

  1. I enjoyed Kevin Barry’s Night Boat to Tangier so I’d be interested to pick him up again, but these all sound so tempting! Some very striking covers too, there’s something chilling about Early Sobrieties.

  2. This looks an appetising clutch of titles. Like Madame Bibliophile, I enjoyed Night Boat to Tangier so the Kevin Barry’s on the list. And the Tawseef Khan looks really interesting. But then they all do. The Tom Newland is arriving in our library soon, so I might start there.

  3. I’d like to read the Newlands and the Khan. And another novel set in the same building over several generations with the Elkin!

  4. Interesting titles from authors I am not familiar with. Except Kevin Barry and I still haven’t read his work despite him being Irish too. He us appearing at West Cork literary festival in July. I must read his books in advance.

  5. I’m not familiar with any of these titles but am most drawn to Only Here, Only Now -my choice maybe influenced by the fact I’m heading to Scotland for a holiday later this month

    1. I like the sound of that one, too. Have fun in Scotland, Karen. I went to Glasgow in early June last year and came home with what passes as a tan for me!

        1. The highlight of my stay was a visit to the Burrell collection about a ten-minute train ride out of gthe city. Other than that the botanical gardens were lovely and the museums in Kelvingrove are excellent. I wrote a post on my visit if you’d like to see some pictures/impressions.

          1. Wonderful – we are planning to go to Kelvingrove for sure and probably going to pay a visit to the Art School to see the restoration after the fire. I’ll take a look at your post for other ideas though

  6. Interesting selections as always. Only Here, Only Now sounds like it proves that (first world) poverty is SSDD or, rather, same stuff different location. Like where I live today. (I have 2 college degrees and a white collar profession) my kids high school classmates would be modern versions of these people I bet.

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