My favorite novel this summer begins with oral sex outdoors. The younger participant is more interested in listening to a rare motorcycle in the distance. At sixteen Mani Steinn Karlsson is also keen on cinema, particularly Les Vampires, so of course he meets a bold girl whom he imagines as another type of Irma Vep. It's Iceland in 1918 and soon comes the devastating flu. Readers can draw their own parallels to later pandemics of infection endured with the power of artistic imagination. The very short Moonstone: The Boy Who Never Was is the fourth and most accessible book to appear in English by Sjón (Sigurjón Birgir Sigurðsson, former Bjork collaborator).
Other recent titles of particular note:
Neel Mukherjee, A Life Apart Indian in England.
Darryl Pinckney, Black Deutschland American in Berlin.
Patrick Gale, A Place Called Winter Englishman in Canada.
Saleem Haddad, Guapa An American-educated young gay Arab man in the Middle East.
Bei Tong, Beijing Comrades Older - younger male couple in China in the 80s.
Lori Ostlund, After the Parade SF teacher of English to immigrants.
Tim Murphy, Christodora NYC panorama of the aids pandemic, 1980s-2020s.
Abdeliah Taia, Infidels Morocco.
Ian McGuire, The North Water Men at sea, men on ice.
Gregory Woods, Homintern: How Gay Culture Liberated the Modern World. Nonfiction if you must.