Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom

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Where the God of Love Hangs Out
By Amy Bloom
224 pages; Random House

O contributor Amy Bloom's new collection of short fiction, Where the God of Love Hangs Out, is about real-life passion—greedy, misguided, rueful, hopeful, generous to a fault. "I am the worst person in the world," thinks Clare, remorseful over poaching William from the elegant, flawless Isabel—who is not only his wife but Clare's best friend—in "The Old Impossible," one of a quartet of stories about longing, deception, and loss... Read more

Just Kids by Patti Smith

Just Kids
By Patti Smith
304 pages; Ecco

The singer-icon's memoir about coming of age with soul mate Robert Mapplethorpe. Funny, fascinating, oddly tender.

Shadow Tag by Louise Erdrich

Shadow Tag
By Louise Erdrich
272 pages; Harper

No one knows what really goes on in a marriage, so complex and contradictory are human needs and desires. Usually, the misunderstandings are unintentional (and mutual), the inflictions of pain accidental. That's why Shadow Tag, by Louise Erdrich, is astonishing in its depiction of Irene America, a woman who deliberately sets out to manipulate her jealous, controlling artist-husband, not by simply betraying him but by writing and "hiding" a fictional diary that only suggests infidelity... Read more

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson

Photo: Ben Goldstein/Studio D

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand
By Helen Simonson
368 pages; Random House

The shy romance between a retired British officer and a local Pakistani shopkeeper is the main plotline of Helen Simonson's Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. But this delightful debut novel is as much a gently p.c. look at the British class system tucked inside a sly comedy of manners as it is a love story. Curmudgeonly Major Ernest Pettigrew is a widower bewildered by the ways of the modern world, personified largely by his insufferably social-climbing, metrosexual adult son... Read more

A Ticket to the Circus by Norman Church Mailer

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A Ticket to the Circus
By Norris Church Mailer
432 pages; Random House

Just how irresistible was Norman Mailer? Gloria Steinem said that anybody who would marry him couldn't be "healthy, well-adjusted, conscious, or aware"—but she was friends with him. Ditto the feminist Germaine Greer, close to him around the time Mailer was quoted as saying, "A little bit of rape is good for a man's soul..." Read more

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

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The Invisible Bridge
By Julie Orringer
624 pages; Knopf

An old-fashioned romantic drama, Julie Orringer's The Invisible Bridge is as rich in historical detail as it is human in its cast of sympathetic characters. The novel begins in 1937 Budapest, where a discriminatory quota system has forced a 22-year-old Hungarian Jew named Andras Levi to seek his education abroad. He heads to architecture school in Paris, a place of modernist ferment, and finds an even fuller education in the arms of Klara Morgenstern, a 31-year-old ballet instructor and Hungarian emigre with a shadowy past... Read more

Hellhound On His Trail by Hampton Sides

Hellhound on His Trail
By Hampton Sides
480 pages; Doubleday

A meticulous account of the last days of Martin Luther King Jr. and the capture of the man who stalked and eventually killed him. Get the reader's guide

What Is Left the Daughter by Howard Norman

What Is Left the Daughter
By Howard Norman
256 pages; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Fans of Howard Norman's The Bird Artist will recognize the venue and the oddball characters in the author's beautiful new novel, What Is Left the Daughter. In isolated Nova Scotia during WWII, an earnest, if dim, 17-year-old named Wyatt Hillyer is orphaned when both his parents commit suicide over their love for the same woman... Read more

The Madonnas of Echo Park by Brando Skyhorse

The Madonnas of Echo Park
By Brando Skyhorse
199 pages; Free Press

Culture, identity, and politics are just a few of the threads masterfully woven through the partly autobiographical novel of linked stories that is The Madonnas of Echo Park. Author Brando Skyhorse—so named because his mother revered the famous actor—grew up in the largely Mexican-American L.A. neighborhood of the title, which explains his understanding of its residents: among them a gang member, a day laborer, and a little girl tragically in the wrong place at the wrong time... Read more

Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart

Super Sad True Love Story
By Gary Shteyngart
352 pages; Random House

Do we ever truly know each other? Is intimacy possible in a culture where every interaction can be tracked and quantified by constantly updated data streams? These are the questions at the heart of Gary Shteyngart's postapocalyptic black comedy, Super Sad True Love Story...Find out more about the book in our August issue and get 17 more suggestions for summer reading.

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