Thursday, June 2, 2011

5 Fiction Releases to Watch for in June

Summer is finally on its way! Time to load up on books and relax in the sunshine. If you're building your summer reading list, why not consider one of these 5 June releases.

Daughters of the Revolution
by Carolyn Cooke (June 7)

This could be a sleeper favourite. A first novel from the author of an award winning short story collection, and with a compelling premise. Centred on a private prep school in Boston and spanning decades, Cooke's novel is an examination of class and privilege, race and gender and political transformation. Booklist called it an "amazing first novel" and Library Journal said that "this cautionary tale deserves wide readership."

The Astral
by Kate Christensen (June 14).

Between the starred review in Library Journal and the Brooklyn setting, I'm not surprised this one caught my eye. The title refers to the apartment building which the central characters call home. Although they have lived there 30 years, their lives—much like the neighbourhood they inhabit—are shaken up by great changes. At the centre of the story is Henry, a (failed) poet accused of infidelity by his wife. Christensen is the PEN/Faulkner award winning author of The Great Man (another New York set novel) and her latest has been called "A masterpiece of comedy and angst." (Kirkus Reviews—also starred)

Before I Go to Sleep
by S.J. Watson (June 14)

This one seems to be poised to become one of the summer's thriller hits. Here's a teaser from the publisher: "Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories." Sound intriguing? That's just the set up! It's the startling entries that Christine makes in her secret memory diary that really turn the suspense up a notch. Tess Gerritsen and Denis Lehane have both provided glowing jacket quotes.

The Girl in the Blue Beret
by Bobbie Ann Mason (June 28)

From the publisher: "Inspired by the wartime experiences of her late father-in-law, award-winning author Bobbie Ann Mason has written an unforgettable novel about an American World War II pilot shot down in Occupied Europe. When Marshall Stone returns to his crash site decades later, he finds himself drawn back in time to the brave people who helped him escape from the Nazis. He especially recalls one intrepid girl guide who risked her life to help him—the girl in the blue beret." World War II novels continue to have resonance with readers, and with the recent success of Sarah Blake's The Postmistress, this one could take off.

Various Positions: A novel
by Martha Schabas (June 28)

First novel from a Canadian author who currently lives in Kingston. Is this Can Lit's answer to the movie Black Swan? The book follows Georgia in her quest for success in the ballet world. The publisher tells us this novel "takes us inside the beauty and brutality of professional ballet". Accepted into a respected ballet school, Georgia catches the attention of the school's director, who "singles her out as a star and subjects her to increasingly vicious training, [while] Georgia obsesses about becoming his perfect student..."

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