The Sixteenth of June

A Novel

The Sixteenth of June

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.
  • Scribner | 
  • 256 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476745787 | 
  • June 2014

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for The Sixteenth of June includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Maya Lang. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.

Introduction

Leopold Portman dreams of settling down in Philadelphia’s bucolic suburbs 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 umpteenth 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 hopes for the future.

Questions and Topics for Discussion

1. The Sixteenth of June alternates between Nora’s, Leo’s, and Stephen’s perspectives. Despite the shared narrative, did you feel more closely connected to one of the three?

2. Consider the significance of the characters’ names. Joyce’s Leopold Bloom is a pragmatic hum see more

More Books from this Author

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,...

About the Author

Maya Lang
Renata Steiner

Maya Lang

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.

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