Pure Fiction

Happy summer! Longer days, shorter newsletters—and hopefully, therefore, more of them as a result.

Here are some suggestions for what to do with all that extra reading time:

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi Believe the glowing reviews. The flushed teenage opera powering this story set in a performing-arts high school in the 1980s turns into a jaw-dropping experiment in fiction. Choi’s brilliant telescoping trick drove me to reread the also dazzling Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, which Choi pointed to during a Q&A at McNally Jackson when someone asked about the unfortunate fallacy that female authors aren’t considered postmodern stylists.

How Could She by Lauren Mechling As a 21st-century “creative” New Yorker, it’s hard not to recognize yourself and everyone you know in Mechling’s sparkling and incisive debut novel. I dubbed it How Did She: Mechling, a mother of two young children, got up at 5 every morning to work on this timely gem before suiting up to work at Vogue.

Guestbook: Ghost Stories by Leanne Shapton Combining text, photography, and paintings, Shapton’s spectral vignettes add up to something quietly eerie—as much about the ghosts of the heart as of the home.