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Go Set a Watchman

Harper Lee (Harper)

Scout returns to Maycomb, Ala., some 20 years after the events of To Kill a Mockingbird, to visit her father, Atticus. Lee's second novel arrives with a build-up of 55 years (almost to the day) of anticipation.


In the Unlikely Event

Judy Blume (Knopf)

Blume's first adult novel since 1998's Summer Sisters centers on the three fatal plane crashes that hit Elizabeth, N.J., during the winter of 1951–52. Through a variety of perspectives, readers are brought back to the '50s, resulting in a characteristically accessible, frequently charming, and always deeply human story.



Christian Kracht, trans. from the German by Daniel Bowles (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

This oddball novel follows a thumb-sucking vegetarian nudist named August Engelhardt and his quest to start a coconut-based utopia in the South Seas at the turn of the 20th century. Kracht's delightful adventure shifts from the philosophical to the suspenseful to the slapstick, and is just as nutty as Engelhardt's prized foodstuff.


The Rocks

Peter Nichols (Riverhead)

The sunny beach town of Cala Marsopa on Mallorca is the setting of Nichols's story of love and separation between former couple Lulu and Gerald, who have managed to avoid each other for almost 60 years. Readers will be transported to the wind-swept Mediterranean in this smart page-turner, perfect for taking to the beach.


The Meursault Investigation

Kamel Daoud, trans. from the French by John Cullen (Other Press)

This summer's best anti-beach read. Using as its origin point the fateful beach encounter from Camus's The Stranger between Frenchman Meursault and Algerian Arab Musa, Daoud's intensely atmospheric novel is narrated by Harun, Musa's brother. This meditation on guilt and alienation will captivate readers, and the delicious ambiguity will haunt them long after the leaves start falling.


Death and Mr. Pickwick

Stephen Jarvis (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

If you're looking for an immersive Dickensian doorstopper this summer, look no further than Jarvis's rollicking re-creation of Dickens's publication of The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club. Jarvis's panoramic perspective of 19th-century London and its vibrant denizens makes for thrilling reading.


In the Country

Mia Alvar (Knopf)

Each story in Alvar's debut collection feels as rich, as deep, and as crafted as a novel. She moves from Manila to Bahrain to Tokyo, from 1971 to 1986 to the 21st century, and elegantly addresses themes of class, race, and gender.


Map: Collected and Last Poems

Wislawa Szymborska (HMH)

The celebrated Polish poet, winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize for Literature, has her seven decades of work collected in this marvelous posthumous volume. Szymborska's gift for nuanced observation is on full display and fans will be able to trace her development over her storied career.


A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories

Lucia Berlin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)

What better way to spend your summer than with Berlin's cast of disaffected characters, drifting from cafeterias and laundromats, full of everyday resentments and affections. Many of these stories are just a few pages; the perfect length to pick up and come back to throughout the long, lazy summer.


The Sunken Cathedral

Kate Walbert (Scribner)

Walbert's (A Short History of Women) novel is a portrait of two 80-something widows in New York's Chelsea neighborhood venturing outside their comfort zone to take an art class. This wistful yet playful story of women reaching out during their last days of independence captures the full drama of everyday life.


A Window Opens

Elisabeth Egan (Simon & Schuster)

In the debut novel from Glamour magazine editor Egan, Alice Pearse juggles a job at a start-up, her kids growing up, her father's illness, and supporting her husband's recent career change. Egan's story of a woman finding happiness in the modern age is a satisfying, humorous, inspiring read.


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