Publication date: 6/3/2014
A finely observed, wry social satire set in Philadelphia over the course of a single day, this soaring debut novel paints a moving portrait of a family at a turning point.
Leopold Portman, a young IT manager a few years out of college, dreams of settling down in Philly’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 an annual Bloomsday party. As the long-simmering tensions between them come to a head, they are forced to confront the choices of their pasts and their hopes for the future.
Clever, lyrical, and often hilarious, The Sixteenth of June is a feat of storytelling and a sharp depiction of modern American family life. It delves into the tensions and allegiances of friendships, the murky uncertainty of early adulthood, and the yearning to belong. This remarkable novel offers a nod to James Joyce's celebrated classic, Ulysses, and it is about the secrets we keep and the lengths we’ll go to for acceptance and love.