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The Sixteenth of June: A Novel (Paperback)
June 16th—the day the events of James Joyce’s Ulysses take place—is observed in Ireland and elsewhere as “Bloomsday.” It serves as a light construct for this novel; the main characters—Leo, his brother Stephen, and Leo’s fiancée Nora—are brought together for the annual celebration. Clever and poignant, the story delves into the tensions of love, friendship, family, and the desire to belong. As the day wears on, the three characters clash and embrace in stunningly well written prose that portrays the details of deeply felt friendships. You don’t need to be a fan of Joyce to appreciate this masterfully crafted debut novel.— From Susan
A finely observed debut novel that paints a funny, moving, truthful portrayal of a family at a turning point: “A triumph” (Helen Schulman, New York Times bestselling author of This Beautiful Life).
Leopold Portman dreams of settling down in Philadelphia’s bucolic suburbs and starting a family with his fiancée, Nora. A talented singer in mourning for her mother, Nora has abandoned a promising opera career and wonders what her destiny holds. Her best friend, Stephen, Leopold’s brother, dithers in his seventh year of graduate school and privately questions Leo and Nora’s relationship. On June 16, 2004, the three are brought together—first for a funeral, then for the Portmans’ annual Bloomsday party. As the long-simmering tensions between them rise, they must confront their pasts and their hopes for the future.
Clever, lyrical, and poignant, The Sixteenth of June delves into the frictions and allegiances of friendships, the murky uncertainty of early adulthood, and the yearning to belong. Offering a nod to James Joyce’s Ulysses, this remarkable novel explores the secrets we keep and the lengths we go to for acceptance and love. It is “a perfect book for fans of Jonathan Tropper, Meg Wolitzer, and, yes, James Joyce” (Star Tribune, Minneapolis).
About the Author
Maya Lang is the first-generation daughter of Indian immigrants. She was awarded the 2012 Bread Loaf-Rona Jaffe Foundation Scholarship in Fiction and was a Finalist for Glimmer Train’s Short Story Award for New Writers. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature and lives in New York with her husband and daughter.
“A finely-tuned novel of friendship, loss, and self-forgiveness. This is a new voice of the highest caliber, one that articulates the things we never knew we thought, the things we never thought we knew.”
— —Rebecca Makkai, author of The Hundred-Year House and The Borrower