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Summer reading preview: New novels by Keith Gessen, R.O. Kwon, Gary Shteyngart and more

Escapist or timely. Thought-provoking meditation or cross-country jaunt. Auspicious debuts shimmering with evocative prose or familiar favorites offering fresh perspectives on today’s world. Here are 10 fiction titles for your summer reading list.

'Wait, Blink'

‘Wait, Blink’ By Gunnhild Øyehaug This Norwegian writer’s
Photo Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

By: Gunnhild Øyehaug
One-line plot: This Norwegian writer’s lyrical, reflective story of young women trying to find and hold onto meaning, love and their essential selves is now available in English.
Why you should read it: Øyehaug enhances her affecting first novel with poignant insights on nature, art and philosophy, from the granular to the grandiose.
Out: June 5; Farrar, Straus and Giroux
 

'A Terrible Country'

2. ‘A Terrible Country’ By: Keith Gessen One-line
Photo Credit: Viking

By: Keith Gessen
One-line plot: Andrei Kaplan leaves New York for Moscow, the city of his birth, to care for his 89-year-old grandma. 
Why you should read it: Gessen’s first novel in a decade is both a piercing look at contemporary Russian society and a touching story of the struggle to find your place in the world. 
Out: July 10; Viking

'All These Beautiful Strangers'

3. ‘All These Beautiful Strangers’ By: Elizabeth Klehfoth
Photo Credit: William Morrow

By: Elizabeth Klehfoth
One-line plot: Charlie Calloway and her rich, ravishing, private-school friends all behave badly in this story of secret societies and dark pasts.
Why you should read it: If you want the literary equivalent of a CW thriller (think ‘Riverdale’ meets ‘Gossip Girl’), Klehfoth’s debut is for you.
Out: July 10; William Morrow

'America for Beginners'

4. 'America for Beginners' By: Leah Franqui One-line
Photo Credit: William Morrow

By: Leah Franqui
One-line plot: Franqui’s delightful debut follows Bengali widow Pival Sengupta on a journey of discovery from New York to Los Angeles, where she plans to confront her gay son’s ex-lover.
Why you should read it: Franqui balances serious considerations of caste and prejudice with humor, wonder and good old-fashioned storytelling.
Out: July 24; William Morrow

'Inappropriation'

5. ‘Inappropriation’ By: Lexi Freiman One-line plot: Fifteen-year-old
Photo Credit: Ecco

By: Lexi Freiman
One-line plot: Fifteen-year-old Ziggy Klein tries to sort out her feelings and a fluid gender identity amid the complicated curves and judgments of modern-day feminism. 
Why you should read it: Freiman has penned a hilarious modern take on the world of cliques, class and Australian drag clubs.
Out: July 24; Ecco
 

'The Incendiaries'

6. ‘The Incendiaries’ By: R.O. Kwon One-line plot:
Photo Credit: Riverhead Books

By: R.O. Kwon
One-line plot: Kwon’s kinetic writing sees Will and Phoebe’s comfortable college life pulled apart by the extremist cult of John Leal, who may have done time in a North Korean prison. 
Why you should read it: This exceptional debut dissects faith and our struggles to fill the void left by loss.
Out: July 31; Riverhead Books
 

'The Distance Home'

7. ‘The Distance Home’ By: Paula Saunders One-line
Photo Credit: Random House

By: Paula Saunders
One-line plot: Leon and René — brother and sister growing up in postwar South Dakota — excel at everything they do, but despite his talents Leon is abused and kept down. 
Why you should read it: Saunders’ elegant first novel explores family and how frustrated dreams never die. 
Out: Aug. 7; Random House

'The Third Hotel'

8. ‘The Third Hotel’ By: Laura van den
Photo Credit: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

By: Laura van den Berg
One-line plot: A young woman chases after her husband — who died five weeks earlier. 
Why you should read it: Like an award-winning documentarian, the author leads readers through a vaguely supernatural, possibly metaphysical, dreamscape in Havana, Cuba, in this enthralling story of grief.
Out: Aug. 7; Farrar, Straus and Giroux

'His Favorites'

9. 'His Favorites' By: Kate Walbert One-line plot:
Photo Credit: Scribner

By: Kate Walbert
One-line plot: Jo is a teenager who is accidentally responsible for her best friend’s death; sensing her vulnerability, a teacher initiates an abusive relationship. 
Why you should read it: Told from Jo’s point-of-view, this slim volume is an unflinching addition to the #MeToo conversation. 
Out: Aug. 14; Scribner
 

'Lake Success'

10. ‘Lake Success’ By: Gary Shteyngart One-line plot:
Photo Credit: Random House

By: Gary Shteyngart
One-line plot: Shteyngart’s first novel in eight years follows hedge-fund manager Barry Cohen’s attempt to rewrite his narrative on a bus trip across the South while his estranged wife in NYC adjusts to their son’s autism. 
Why you should read it: A keen and witty observer, Shteyngart’s return is cause for joy. 
Out: Sept. 4; Random House
 

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