SUMMER READS 2014: Literary classics in the making

What is it about summer that makes us want to lose ourselves in the pages of the newest novel? Fans of literary fiction looking for the books that will transport them to other lands, or introduce them to intricate characters and complex relationships, should look no further than this list of new books hitting stores—and the beach—this summer.

  Wonderland_HomeWonderland by Stacey D’Erasmo (Houghton Mifflin Harcout, May 6)

D’Erasmo’s newest novel is narrated by musician Anna Brundage, who at 44 is launching a comeback, returning to her music and her life on tour one more time to try to salvage the career she struggled so hard to achieve. During her European tour, Anna revisits scenes from her bohemian childhood, in particular those with her father, a famous artist with whom she had a complicated relationship. Among the extensive research she did for the book D’Erasmo went on tour through Europe with the band Scissor Sisters making the book that much richer in its details. Wonderland is an excellent summer read for anyone looking for an escape into another world.

The Snow Queen CoverThe Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham (FSG, May 6)

Cunningham’s sixth novel explores the relationship between two brothers: Barrett, who has just been dumped, and Tyler, a musician whose fiancée, Beth, is battling cancer. Tyler struggles to write the perfect love song for his wedding, while Barrett appears to have been touched by God in the form of a radiant and shimmering light he witnessed over Central Park. This beautiful and heartbreaking novel by the Pulitzer Prize-winner Cunningham is a must-read this summer for lovers of literary fiction with intricately developed characters.

Land of Love and Drowning coverLand of Love and Drowning by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead, July 10)

This debut novel will transport readers to the Virgin Islands as it chronicles three generations of an island family during the early- to mid-1900s. Arriving on the island after a shipwreck leaves them orphaned, the Bradshaw sisters and their half-brother each possess their own magic that will either be the key to their salvation, or undoing. This unique and imaginative novel spans 60 years of the Bradshaw family’s life, and will captivate readers.

colorless_tsukuru_tazaki_and_his_years_of_pilgrimage_by_haruki_murakamiColorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel (Knopf, Aug 12)

This new novel, Murakami’s first since IQ84, sold one million copies in the week after its release in Japan last year. If that isn’t the definition of a literary fiction summer blockbuster, we don’t know what is. Whereas IQ84 was epic in its scope, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki is more focused on the individual experience of the main character, who has been ostracized by his friends because he is colorless. A literary classic in the making.

 

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