May brings some impressive new works, including novels, memoirs, a graphic novel, and the English premiere of a Chinese classic. Here are some of the top titles coming out this month.
by Hala Alyan
Palestinian-American poet Alyan’s debut novel is a triumph. It’s the story of a family uprooted and fractured by war, and separated by the clash of Eastern vs. Western culture. Alyan beautifully illustrates the impermanence in our lives, as the Yacoub family is displaced again and again by conflict.
Among the Lesser Gods
by Margo Catts
Elena Alvarez has let her life be defined by bad decisions and accidents, including a deadly fire and an unplanned pregnancy. Seeking isolation after her latest debacle, she heads to the woods in Colorado to hide. But what she finds there will have her questioning everything she’s held onto from her past and considering how to proceed with her future.
Man of the Year: A Memoir
by Lou Cove
When Cove was 12, an outgoing, fun-loving friend of his father’s named Howie Gordon enlisted his help in making Gordon Playgirl’s Man of the Year. What ensued was a neighborhood canvassing campaign and an unforgettable summer. A charming, unique coming-of-age tale.
by Jem Lester
A wildly impressive debut novel about a family’s struggle to communicate with their 10-year-old autistic son, based on Lester’s own experiences raising an autistic child. “Shtum” will break your heart and put it back together several times before you reach the last page.
Priestdaddy: A Memoir
by Patricia Lockwood
The true story of Lockwood’s father, a larger-than-life character, who managed to become a Catholic priest, despite being married with five children. Lockwood’s recollections of growing up in an unorthodox household, and her prolonged visit decades later, are funny, frank, and fierce.
The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir
by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich
Marzano-Lesnevich had always been against the death penalty until she went to work in Louisiana at a law firm that defended clients on death row. It was there that she read about the horrific murder of a 6-year-old boy that had her questioning her beliefs, as well as examining trauma in her own past. This book is brutal and difficult to read at times, but it’s also unbelievably fantastic. (The author will be at Water Street Bookstore in Exeter on June 8!)
When Dimple Met Rishi
by Sandhya Menon
Now that Dimple Shah has graduated, her mother is really pressuring her to find the “ideal Indian husband.” But she doesn’t suspect anything when her family offers to pay for her to attend a summer Web programmers’ camp. And it’s at camp where — say it with me now — Dimple meets Rishi. This is a young-adult rom-com that is a head above the rest.
Notes of a Crocodile
by Qiu Miaojin, translated by Bonnie Huie
Written two decades ago, this is the English-language premiere of Miaojin’s coming-of-age novel about queer teenagers in Taiwan, a cult classic in China and winner of the 1995 China Times Literature Award. It’s a beautiful novel about independence and defiance.
by Kei Miller
Set in Jamaica in 1982, this is a remarkable novel about the violence and class struggles of one woman, filled with rich detail, beautiful language and storytelling, and unforgettable characters.
by Jillian Tamaki
The cartoonist of “This One Summer” and “SuperMutant Magic Academy” returns with a wonderful graphic novel about the lives of contemporary women, using fantastical and surreal elements to tell their stories.