June 13, 2020
To celebrate Pride Month 2020 here is an eclectic assortment of new and recent works from disparate voices that strike a common chord. They represent an astonishingly talented group of writers, wide-ranging in their birthplaces, their races, their ages, their genders, their allegiances, their struggles, and their triumphs.
Buyer, Center for Fiction Bookstore
By Megha Majumdar
Published by Knopf
This summer’s must-read debut combines Indian politics, terrorism, and identity following three unforgettable characters: Jivan, a slumdog caught in a terrorist act; Lovely, a hjira with “a man’s chest, and . . . breasts . . . made of rags . . .”; and PT Sir, an ambitious teacher whose trajectory becomes inextricably tied to Jivan’s downfall. The hurtling events will keep you up at night.
By Brandon Taylor
Published by Riverhead
Transplant a young black, queer Alabama man to a conservative Midwestern college and the resulting fireworks over one weekend are appropriately incendiary. Center for Fiction writing workshop instructor Brandon Taylor is remarkably adept at illuminating the contradictory forces of his character’s childhood and his desires.2 .
You Exist Too Much
By Zaina Arafat
Published by Catapult
A Palestinian woman struggles to reconcile her yearning for love with her upbringing, taking her from the Middle East to the US in this powerfully told, potent first novel of cultures colliding. And we are thrilled to be presenting Arafat June 15 in a Center for Fiction virtual event. Mark your calendar!
By Naoise Dolan
Published by Ecco Press
A Dublin expat in Hong Kong falls for a beautiful lawyer and becomes enmeshed in an amorous triangle—will Prue choose the exciting Ava or a comfortable life with British banker Julian? Dolan’s novel is a modern, politically engaged romance for our times that is pitch-perfect for the readers of Sally Rooney.4 .
By Anna Dorn
Published by Unnamed Press
Dorn’s novel shows us the LA music scene through the eyes of a young lawyer caught up in the swirling world of rap, drugs, and the temptations of life on the edge. A forceful new voice to be reckoned with, her sharp observations and dark wit make this one a winner.
All My Mother's Lovers
By Ilana Masad
Published by Dutton Books
In the aftermath of grief over the death of her mother, Maggie must deal with revelations about her mother’s secret life and come to terms with her own new relationship—on many most-anticipated lists for new queer fiction, from Israeli-born Masad.6 .
By Danez Smith
Published by Graywolf Press
We could not leave out the extraordinary work of award-winning Danez Smith, whose recent book of poetry reminds us of the essential power and endurance of friendship and seems especially resonant for these days of isolation.
By Meredith Talusan
Published by Viking
From her beginnings as an albino Filipino boy from a small village to her life at Harvard University and the transition to becoming a woman, Talusin’s stirring memoir will surely become an instant classic.8 .
To the Friend Who Did Not Save My Life
By Hervé Guibert
Published by Semiotext(e)
A favorite of artists and writers in the gay community and winner of France’s Prix Collette in 1990, this 70s AIDS crisis memoir is now reprinted with an afterword by Edmund White—much-loved writer at the Center whose new novel, A Saint from Texas, arrives in August.
The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas
By Gertrude Stein
Published by Penguin Press
Stein’s iconic auto-fiction from 1907 has found it’s perfect illustrator in the ever-delightful Maira Kalman. Travel to Paris and the famous literary salon, and introduce this cult classic to a whole new generation of readers.10 .
By Audre Lorde
Published by Penguin Books
A beautiful new Penguin Vitae Classics edition, with Mahogany L. Browne’s foreword, of arguably one of the most important black feminist queer voices of the 20th century. This collection seems fresh and timely today, as Lorde’s words on sexuality, race, and gender ring out with astounding relevance.
Figure It Out
By Wayne Koestenbaum
Published by Soft Skull Press
Called, aptly, a ‘cultural spy’ by John Waters, the ever curious, ever brilliant Koestenbaum takes on art, sex, language, memory, and celebrity in this delicious collection of essays, revealing his virtuosic skill as America’s beloved polymath of the senses.12 .