Summer Reads

Add these to your nightstand.

Summer Reading List

If you’re already nearing the end of your summer reading list, don’t despair: Three fresh works of fiction beg to be added. Parnaz Foroutan’s scorching debut novel, The Girl From the Garden (Ecco), takes us to Iran, where a couple’s inability to conceive pits a young wife against her tyrannical husband, who will stop at nothing to secure an heir. Meanwhile, Ann Beattie’s gorgeous story collection The State We’re In (Scribner) makes a strong case for the significance of place—in this instance, Maine. (“Who hasn’t sat outdoors on a summer night and known—known without questioning it—that through the impenetrable black sky, someone or something is looking down at you?” Beattie writes.) And the overlooked Lucia Berlin, who died in 2004, gets her due with A Manual for Cleaning Women (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), a collection of wry, riveting stories that are “not necessarily autobiographical, but close enough for horseshoes,” says her son in the book’s foreword, penned by the virtuoso Lydia Davis, who rightly declares that, eventually, “the best writers will rise to the top, like cream.”