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

Summer reading is on the horizon for publishers and this second batch of June fiction includes at least one novel that might be described as such although it’s a category I Cover image for Sandwich by Catherine Newmantend to avoid.

I’ve yet to get around to Catherine Newman’s We All Want Impossible Things, despite several readers whose opinions I trust urging me to do so. Sandwich comes billed as a ‘feelgood tribute to female friendship’ which sees Rocky eagerly anticipating her family’s annual escape to Cape Cod now that her two children are sufficiently adult to be fun without needing her so much and her parents are ageing but still healthy. However, ‘with her body in open revolt and surprises invading her peaceful haven, the perfectly balanced seesaw of Rocky’s life is tipping towards change’ says the blurb, rather ominously. I can’t resist at least one Cape Cod summer novel, and this may well be this year’s. Cover image for After Annie by Anna Quindlen

I’ve long been a fan of Anna Quindlen’s quietly insightful novels. I’ve reviewed both Alternate Sides and Still Life with Breadcrumbs remarking that her writing doesn’t seem to get the attention it deserves here in the UK. Perhaps that will change with After Annie which follows Annie Brown’s family and friends over the course of a year after her death during which her daughter finds herself looking after her siblings and her broken father. Throughout the year, each of the main characters change, drawing on their memories of the woman who was their linchpin and growing stronger in the process. I loved this moving, compassionate and perceptive novel. Review shortly…

Cover image for Background for Love by Helen WolffHelen Wolff’s autobiographical novel Background for Love sees a young woman living in 1930s Berlin, ditching her older lover after a summer spent on the Côte d’Azur, setting herself up in a cottage near Saint-Tropez where she will meet connections that will change her life. Wolff and her husband Kurt established the American publishing house Pantheon Books after fleeing Nazi Germany. This new edition, the first in English, has been translated by her grandson, Tristram, and comes with a contextual essay written by Wolff’s historian grandniece. Sounds unmissable to me.Cover image for The Third Love by Hiromi Kawakami

I loved both Strange Weather in Tokyo and The Nakano Thrift Shop so am eager to read Hiromi Kawakami’s The Third Love in which, having married her childhood sweetheart, Riko finds herself trapped with an unfaithful husband. An old friend teaches her to escape by living inside her dreams where she creates a series of lives for herself, from seventeenth-century courtesan to a medieval servant, prompting her to reflect on her own life as a twenty-first-century woman and wondering if she’s ready for change.

Cover image for Clean by Alia Trabucco Zeran’s In International Booker-shortlisted Alia Trabucco Zerán’s Clean a young girl has died. Her wealthy family’s maid tells us her story from a locked room, introducing us to her daily routine and taking us through the events that have led up to this moment. ‘Disturbing and profound, Clean explores domestic work, class and violence, against the backdrop of Chile’s changing political landscape. This is one of the most daring and compelling thrillers in international literature’ says the blurb rather ambitiously. Keen to read this one which sounds a step outside the usual thriller formula.

That’s it for June’s new fiction. As ever, a click on a title will take you to a more detailed synopsis should you want to know more, and if you’d like to catch up with part one it’s here. Paperbacks soon…

29 thoughts on “Books to Look Out For Out for in June 2024: Part Two”

  1. Sarah Collins

    Interesting selection, they all sound great. I’m going to join the chorus telling you to read we all want impossible things

  2. I’ve read two Anna Quindlens and would compare her to Anne Tyler: very, very readable, but a bit too quiet for me. I really want to read something by Zerán.

  3. Interesting selection Susan, all female writers with strong stories to tell. The Helen Wolff book really appeals to me, will have to order it in our local independent bookshop (keeping these treasure troves in business is very important).

  4. I think Quindlen was mis-marketed over here, quite some time ago, as women’s fiction (with Elizabeth Berg and Alice Hoffman, both writers whose books I quite enjoy but they’re just a little lighter), partly maybe because they were all included as part of Oprah’s BookClub when it was still a young cultural phenomenon (as was Sue Miller, whom you’ve mentioned)…but there’s actually quite a dark streak in Quindlen’s fiction which, I think, sets her apart from those others somewhat.

    1. Oh, how I hate that phrase when used by publishers! I think that’s the same here – I remember reading Black and Blue many years ago which was gut-wrenching on domestic violence.

  5. jenniferbeworr

    What a brilliant roundup. I used to read Anna Quindlen’s column religiously in the NY Times when I lived just outside NYC. It isn’t much exaggeration to say it was the thing I most looked forward to in my late 20s! So it’s weird that I’ve never read any of her novels. Must fix that. The others, especially Background for Love, wow…

    1. Thanks, Jennifer. Presumably, she’s quite a big name in the States. I’d recommend her fiction – insightful and nicely understated. Background for Love does sound very enticing doesn’t it.

Leave a comment ...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.