Yong, who’s become well known as a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer for The Atlantic, helping to make sense of the pandemic, here turns his attention to sensory experiences throughout the animal kingdom. All creatures, from ticks to elephants, perceive the world in different ways. Yong does the best he can to put readers inside those bubbles of perception.
Random House, June 21
Picking up where Gurnah’s 1994 novel “Paradise” left off, on the eve of the Great War in German East Africa, “Afterlives” is another multigenerational, character-driven saga of a modern-day Tanzania under European imperialism.
Riverhead, Aug 23
Pasulka, a journalist, spent a decade following drag culture in Brooklyn, which she writes contains “both the most experimental corners of the drag world and the most professional,” and is “more messy, freewheeling and avant-garde” than how the art form appears in its increasingly mainstream appearances on TV and elsewhere.
Simon & Schuster, June 7
These 12 linked stories are set in a Native community in Maine, where Talty grew up as a citizen of the Penobscot Indian Nation. His debut collection of him, full of surprising drama, offers a fresh view of the precarious lives of marginalized people in the 21st century.
Tin House, July 5
The English novelist Pym (“Excellent Women,” “Quartet in Autumn”) went in and out of fashion during her lifetime, and since. Byrne’s biography arrives at a time of rekindled interest. Rhys is best known for “Wide Sargasso Sea,” her feminist prequel to “Jane Eyre.” Seymour captures her childhood on the Caribbean island of Dominica and the rest of her often turbulent and challenging life.
“The Adventures of Miss Barbara Pym” (William Collins, June 7)
“I Used to Live Here Once: The Haunted Life of Jean Rhys” (Norton, June 28)
This chameleon of a book was inspired by the writer’s discovery of recorded interviews between the poet Frank O’Hara and her father, the art critic Peter Schjeldahl. Calhoun’s father idolized the poet and had hoped to complete a biography of her; this book recounts Calhoun’s attempt to finish it herself. Even if you don’t know O’Hara’s poetry (maybe start with “Having a Coke With You”), there’s plenty to appreciate in this memoir.
Grove, June 14
Stodola’s sobering investigation into the beach resort economy leaps from Thailand to Cap d’Antibes to Senegal, looking at why these manufactured environments became the ideal vacation and how climate change threatens them all.
Ecco, June 28
Kiki has become known at her university for doling out romantic advice to her classmates, helping members of the school’s Afro-Caribbean Society avoid heartache. But her judgment of her is questioned after she kisses a man she called unsuitable; to save face, she and the man manufacture a fake relationship that becomes very real.
William Morrow, July 5
This debut drops readers into the Canary Islands in the early 2000s. The narrator is a 10-year-old who idolizes her best friend, Isora, who is brash and fearless. Over the summer, their relationship twists and refracts as each girl comes into her own. Read this coming-of-age story for its unsparing language and vivid sense of place.
Astra House, Aug. 2
No stranger to eccentric obsessives in his acclaimed movies, like “Fitzcarraldo” and “Grizzly Man,” Herzog was inspired to write his first novel about Hiroo Onoda, a Japanese soldier who spent nearly 30 years after the end of World War II defending a small island in the Philippines, unwilling to believe the war was over. Herzog developed a friendship with Onoda before the ex-soldier died in 2014.
Penguin Press, June 14