13 new books coming in August
afterlifeby Abdulrazak Gurnah (Riverhead, August 23)
Gurnah, who received the Nobel Prize in Literature last year, often deals with themes of exile and displacement in his writing. His latest novel, set in East Africa under German rule in the 1900s, follows three characters: Ilyas, who joins German troops; his sister, Afiya, who is raised by his best friend after he leaves; and Hamza, another ex-soldier who returns from the war and falls in love with Afiya.
One of Edie Sedgwick’s sisters delves into the star’s life and career in this deeply personal story. “I’m trying to figure out exactly what happened when Edie got together with Andy [Warhol],” she wrote. “I want to understand what he was doing, because right now it seems to me that when the two came together, something was triggered that led to the present we all live in.”
Dead End Memories: Stories, by Banana Yoshimoto. Translated by Asa Yoneda. (Counterpoint, August 9)
First published in Japan in 2003 and newly available here, this collection features many of Yoshimoto’s iconic themes: lonely women, betrayal, relationship upheaval – and grace too.
Diary of a void, by Emi Yagi. Translated by David Boyd and Lucy North. (Viking, August 9)
In this first novel, the only woman in his Tokyo office fakes a pregnancy to avoid unwanted tasks at work. As she goes deeper into the lie (disguise of a growing belly, followed by the evolution of her “baby”), the story takes on a totally absurd dimension – to better explore discrimination and double standards.
In her heyday, Kiki de Montparnasse was a star in the bohemian district of Paris: a surreal movie star, a famous painter and an incandescent nightclub star. But now she’s often overshadowed by her relationship with Man Ray. This biography reminds readers of her artistic achievements in her own right – she may have been Man Ray’s muse, but that’s not all – and deepens their relationship.
The Last White Manby Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead, August 2)
In this latest novel from the “Exit West” author, Anders, a white man, wakes up to realize his skin color has turned “a deep, unmistakable brown.” As more people in the community begin to undergo similar transformations, it triggers a reckoning for power and justice.
In 1940s Los Angeles, Maria works as a producer for a bankrupt movie studio after fleeing Italy years earlier. His boss, Artie, is out of luck: the money is running out, he’s at odds with his business partners – and that was before he was summoned to testify before Congress. As World War II breaks out, the studio becomes a haven for all manner of exiles – actors, writers, émigrés.
What happens when the parent-child relationship is reversed? Tillman, a novelist and critic, cared for her mother as she neared death, and in this book she captures her changing feelings and responsibilities in ruthless detail.
Mount Chicagoby Adam Levin (Doubleday, August 9)
In this novel, a Chicago comedian faces an unthinkable tragedy: a sinkhole opens up beneath the Art Institute, killing nearly his entire family. In the midst of his grief, he crosses paths with a longtime fan who works in the mayor’s office. There’s a lot of heartache, urban politics and humor – as well as moving passages from the perspective of a neurotic parrot.
In this first novel, a queer black young man leaves behind his comfortable home life in Indianapolis and travels to New York in the 1980s, which provides an exciting, sometimes rabid political and societal backdrop for his time in adulthood.
Macy’s 2018 book, “Dopesick,” traced Purdue Pharma’s role in the opioid crisis. Here, she focuses on the people battling overdoses on the front lines — nurse practitioners, ministers — who refuse to stigmatize addiction.
Yoga, by Emmanuel Carrere. Translated by Jean Lambert. (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, August 2)
Carrère had hoped to write “a subtle little book on yoga,” he notes in this semi-autobiographical new novel. But the story goes far beyond: the dissolution of his romantic relationship; depression and other private sorrows; and, finally, how meditation and writing inform each other.