Best literature and fiction of August

Erin Kodicek on August 11, 2020

Best literature and fiction of August

Here is what some of the Amazon Books editors had to say about the fantastic fictions on offer in August, including a heart-wrenching story of a family who experiences a devastating double loss, a provocative debut about a struggling artist who becomes part of a white suburban couple’s open marriage experiment, and the latest bittersweet novel from the best-selling author of One Day

Click here to see all of our literature and fiction picks or browse the rest of the Best Books of the Month

The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

We were bowled over by Akwaeke Emezi’s debut novel, Freshwater, a February 2018 best of the month pick, so we were especially excited about their follow-up, The Death of Vivek Oji. Set in Nigeria, this provocative and compassionate coming-of-age story cautions against the perils of living an inauthentic life (while also acknowledging the dangers authentic living presents). It also mines the complexities of familial love. Steel yourself, because this is one of those books that will haunt you after the last page is turned.  —Erin Kodicek

The New Wilderness by Diane Cook

The New Wilderness is a work of speculative fiction about a mother who moves her daughter from the City to an experimental colony set in the wilderness out West. They attempt to live as hunter gatherers while being watched over by The Rangers. That might not sound compelling, but it's all in the execution—the book manages to have a driving plot at the same time that it supports big themes, like the best speculative fiction can do. And now it's on the longlist for the Booker Prize. The New Wilderness deserves its place there. —Chris Schluep

Migrations by Charlotte McConaghy

Migrations is about a woman who goes to the ends of the earth in search of herself and to track what just might be the last migration of Arctic terns, birds that travel from pole to pole every year. It’s also about love, adventure, climate change, and what happens when a person simultaneously runs away from her past and runs straight towards it. Confessional and intimate, it's one of the best books I’ve read this year. —Al Woodworth

Luster by Raven Leilani

It’s rare these days to come across a book and a style that’s really different, but Raven Leilani’s Luster is exciting, surprising, sometimes sad, at times awkward, even shocking. And it’s also funny. The book will make you uncomfortable, but that mirrors the discomfort that the characters, especially Edie, feel—about age, status, race, sex, salaries, you name it. Luster has an energy and an honesty that makes the words practically shimmer on the page. I am so glad I read this. —Chris Schluep

Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

Charlie Lewis happens upon a theater troupe putting on Romeo and Juliet. He's not really the theater sort but there’s a girl, the artsy Fran Fisher who is playing Juliet, whom he falls for. Telling the story in flashbacks, the adult Charlie recalls one fateful summer in his life. Nicholls writes razor-sharp dialogue, and it’s impossible not to daydream about “the one who got away” while reading this novel. Nicholls may be best known for his breakout hit One Day, but Sweet Sorrow cements his place in the smart romantic comedy canon. —Sarah Gelman

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