Cicada Summer: A Novel (Paperback)

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Cicada Summer: A Novel By Erica McKeen Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

If you like reading stories within a story then this is the book for you. After losing her mother, Husha moves to Canada to care for her ailing grandfather, Arthur. Husha’s ex-lover, Nellie, also shows up without explanation, her timing like the rhythm of the cicadas surrounding them. When Husha cleans out her mother’s house, she finds a collection of strange short stories; reading these stories gives the three a chance to consider each other, loss, and how to deal with their grief.


— From Savanah's recs


A woman, her grandfather, and her lover quarantine in the remote lakeside wilderness—where their world splits apart at the seams.

In the summer of 2020, with a heat wave bearing down and a brood of periodical cicadas climbing into the trees, Husha mourns the recent death of her mother while quarantining with her ailing grandfather, Arthur, at his lakeside cabin in remote Ontario. They’re soon joined by Husha’s ex-lover, Nellie, who arrives without explanation to complete their trio.

Also among them is a strange book, discovered by Husha while cleaning out her mother’s house. When she, Arthur, and Nellie begin to read it together, they learn that her mother’s last missive was a short story collection, crawling with unsettling imagery and terrifying transformations. As the stories bleed into their cloistered life in the cabin, they must each reckon with loss, longing, and what it means to truly know another person. Incantatory and atmospheric, Cicada Summer is a dazzlingly original novel about how we grieve and care for one another.

About the Author

Erica McKeen is the author of Tear, a novel that won the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for literary fiction, and Cicada Summer. She lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she works as a teacher and librarian.

Praise For…

An ethereal and eerie novel that ingeniously explores how the full depths of both yearning and despair are not only lush and intricate but expanding.
— Iain Reid, New York Times best-selling author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Foe, and We Spread

Mesmerizingly subtle and elegant, Cicada Summer investigates which stories must be told in order to unravel that which is unfathomable. As the cicadas chirp, their husks dropping from trees, Erica McKeen masterfully takes us into the liminal space of grief, into a world that crisps alive while it vanishes.

— Gerardo Sámano Córdova, author of Monstrilio
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324073819
ISBN-10: 1324073810
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: June 18th, 2024
Pages: 272
Language: English