14 New Books for August

This month, we’ve got our eyes on Radiant Fugitives by Nawaaz Ahmed, Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So, Clark and Division by Naomi Hirahara, and 11 other titles by writers from the West.

new august book picks
Alta
1 AFTERPARTIES, BY ANTHONY VEASNA SO
afterparties, anthony veasna so
Ecco

Anthony Veasna So, who died at the end of last year, was known for his incisive wit, and his posthumously published debut collection of short fiction reflects the mundane and the surreal with clarity and comedy. In most of his stories, characters must grapple with the legacy of the Khmer Rouge genocide along the axes of race, sexuality, and class in America. Ecco, August 3

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2 CLARK AND DIVISION, BY NAOMI HIRAHARA
clark and division, naomi hirahara
Soho Crime

Reeling after their release from the internment camp at Manzanar, the Ito family move east to Chicago to reunite with their oldest daughter, Rose. On the night of their arrival, Rose is killed by a train. The incident is deemed a suicide, but Rose’s sister, Aki, has her doubts. What follows is Aki’s search for what really happened to her sister and is infused with Hirahara’s deep knowledge of Japanese American history. Soho Crime, August 3

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3 THE GLASSY, BURNING FLOOR OF HELL, BY BRIAN EVENSON
glassy burning floor of hell, brian evenson
Coffee House Press

Evenson’s latest short story collection imagines what the world might look like beyond the Anthropocene and asks cogent questions about the meaning of community in the face of crisis and natural disasters. The Glassy, Burning Floor of Hell uses horror to showcase the potential of utter human monstrosity. Coffee House Press, August 3

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4 GORDO, BY JAIME CORTEZ
gordo, jaime cortez
Black Cat

This short story collection features a wide array of characters living in a migrant workers’ camp in California. Cortez introduces a young boy trying to contend with his father’s ideas of what it means to be a man, a high school artist who runs away from home, and twins who come to the camp year after year. Gordo deals with the complexities of being a person and raises important questions about those we make space for in America. Black Cat, August 17

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5 THE GUIDE, BY PETER HELLER
the guide, peter heller
Knopf

Heller—who has been a finalist for a Los Angeles Times Book Prize—builds this novel around a man who works at a prestigious fishing lodge in Colorado and discovers that something sinister is occurring at his workplace. Knopf, August 24

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6 IN THE WATCHFUL CITY, BY S. QIOUYI LU
in the watchful city,  s qiouyi lu
Tor.com

Lu’s futuristic novel centers on Anima (æ/ær/ærs pronouns), who lives in a city called Ora and surveils and protects aer fellow citizens by body hopping into other living things. Anima begins to questions ær role when æ encounters Vessel, an outsider holding a collection of strange objects and stories that extend beyond the borders Anima knows. Tor.com, August 31

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7 THE LAST NOMAD: COMING OF AGE IN THE SOMALI DESERT, BY SHUGRI SAID SALH
last nomad, shugri said salh
Algonquin Books

In this memoir, Salh, a Somali-born author and nurse, recalls being sent at the age of six from the city of Galkayo to the desert to live with her grandmother as a nomad. There she experienced hardship from drought and predators as well as love and peace in the form of community and tradition before moving back to Galkayo and ultimately fleeing Somalia’s civil war. Algonquin Books, August 3

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8 THE PEOPLE WE KEEP, BY ALLISON LARKIN
people we keep, allison larkin
Gallery Books

After failing out of school, April Sawicki leaves her father’s mobile home and sets out into the world with no plan but to survive. Although she finds a coffee shop where she can work and friends she loves, April remains unsure of her ability to care for the people in her life. Gallery Books, August 3

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9 THE PRESIDENT AND THE FROG, BY CAROLINA DE ROBERTIS
president and the frog, carolina de robertis
Knopf

A journalist walks the gardens of a former Latin American president, interviewing him about his revolutionary roots and mythic legacy. As they talk, the president debates whether or not to reveal the identity of the only soul who preserved his sanity amid torture and imprisonment and who first heard his dreams of democratization: a frog. Knopf, August 3

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10 RADIANT FUGITIVES, BY NAWAAZ AHMED
radiant fugitives, nawaaz ahmed
Counterpoint Press

In this debut novel, Seema, a pregnant woman exiled from her father’s home in India; Tahera, her pious Muslim sister; and their ailing mother, Nafeesa, reunite in San Francisco. Interweaving verses of poetry and narrated from the point of view of Seema’s unborn child, this is a stunning examination of family, sacrifice, and empathy. Counterpoint Press, August 3

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11 RUDE TALK IN ATHENS: ANCIENT RIVALS, THE BIRTH OF COMEDY, AND A WRITER’S JOURNEY THROUGH GREECE, BY MARK HASKELL SMITH
rude talk in athens, mark haskell smith
Unnamed Press

Using the surviving work of Aristophanes, conversations with experts in various fields, and his own experience as a writer and traveler, Smith reveals the life of a forgotten writer in ancient Greece to investigate the impacts of comedy on various facets and constructs of the world. The book takes us on a journey through Athens, exploring the relevance of comedy in both the past as well as the present day, particularly in light of our current political climate. Unnamed Press, August 17

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12 SKINSHIP, BY YOON CHOI
skinship,  yoon choi
Knopf

Choi’s first collection of stories revolves around Korean American families as they navigate generational differences and the effects of displacement on their senses of self and collective identity. At its heart, Skinship illuminates how families endure in times of difficulty and great disappointment and how language itself can limit or open up new worlds. Knopf, August 17

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13 THE STAHL HOUSE: CASE STUDY HOUSE #22, THE MAKING OF A MODERNIST ICON, BY BRUCE STAHL AND SHARI STAHL GRONWALD, WITH KIM CROSS
stahl house, case study house 22, bruce stahl,  shari stahl gronwald
Chronicle Chroma

Narrated by the children of the original owners, this book pulls together photographs, drawings, and documents to tell the story of one of the world’s most iconic houses, a bona fide modernist architectural masterpiece. Chronicle Chroma, August 31

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14 SUPERDOOM: SELECTED POEMS, BY MELISSA BRODER
superdoom, melissa broder
Tin House

Broder collects poems from her past three collections, which are out of print, as well as new work to focus on the human body as a vehicle through which to find an original perspective on our understanding of the revered, the depraved, the horrific, and the beautiful. Tin House, August 10

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