Books you might have missed in June
Given the sizeable number of new releases that arrive in store each month, here are notes from the Readings editorial office on books you might have missed in June.
Family Life by Akhil Sharma
This is Akhil Sharma’s brilliant second novel. It tells the story of an Indian family – with two sons, aged eight and twelve – who have migrated to America in the early eighties. Early in the novel, the eldest son is injured in a pool accident and catastrophically brain damaged. He spends a year in hospital, and then time in a nursing home before the family decides to care for him in their home. The family, as they were, disintegrates from here.
Written from the point of view of the younger boy, Ajay, Sharma’s book is darkly funny and a beautiful portrait of familial love.
Carsick by John Waters
Carsick is actor, writer and film director John Waters’ journey of hitchhiking across America, armed with a cardboard sign that reads ‘I’m not psycho’. Waters sets out on what he calls his ‘homo-hobo journey’ from his home in Baltimore, heading west to his co-op apartment in San Francisco.
The book is both Waters’ fictional writing – crude, funny, delightful and dirty – of his best and worst hitchhiking scenarios, and a true travelogue of his ‘real rides’ thumbing it across middle America.
The Vacationers by Emma Straub
The Vacationers is the new book after Emma Straub’s buzz heavy 2012 novel, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures. It follows a contemporary, dysfunctional New York family – Jim and Franny, their daughter Sylvia, son Bobby and his girlfriend, and Franny’s best friend Charles and his husband – as they holiday for two weeks in Majorca.
The Huffington Post have commented that Straub’s book should be read by those ‘who gravitate to literary fiction written in spare, clean prose. Also, those who enjoy reading about New York denizens and their domestic upheavals.’
Belle Place is the editor of Readings Monthly.