The Summer Demands_cvr_300dpi print res.jpg

The Summer Demands is out June 2019 from Catapult Books.


Smart, funny, nuanced and seductive ... Every bit as packed with atmospheric wit as one might expect of a book that draws its title from a John Ashbery poem, Shapiro’s story unfolds at an abandoned summer camp along the south shore of Massachusetts, with all that setting’s inherent promise of escape and romance — its ineffable ‘haze of desire and memory.’ … A gorgeously written story of late youth and early middle age, the novel makes the delicate argument that maybe a person can come of age at any age — that maybe everyone is always coming of age all the time.
— Kathleen Rooney, The Chicago Tribune

‘Summer, green and still and slightly grainy.’ Those seven words instantly transport you into the haze of this book, in which Emily feels like the summer of her life is disappearing, like her days of fertility and growth are over . . . It’s in this tenuous state that she moves with her husband to an abandoned summer camp, where she meets 22-year-old Stella . . . The two have a magnetic, sparking connection, which makes clear the ways in which the intimate relationships between women can bring up palpable feelings of desire, envy, and liberation.
— Kristin Iverson, Nylon, 1 of 35 Great Books to Read This Summer
Shapiro’s second novel is a blistering profusion of desire and longing, revealing the undercurrents between our younger and older selves.
— O, the Oprah Magazine
Drawing from Emily’s memory, her grief, her attraction to Stella, and her confusion about her marriage, Shapiro shapes a mysterious and evocative novel.
— Jane Ciabattari, BBC Culture
A sun-saturated tale of love and longing. . . . Chicago-based author Shapiro has a knack for crafting deeply human characters and portraying complex relationships between women.
— The Chicago Tribune
Come for the plot, but honestly, stay for the gorgeous writing.
— Mehera Bonner, Cosmopolitan
Emily is a sympathetic protagonist, a woman who is beginning to feel doors closing in her life even though she doesn’t feel like an ‘adult.’ Stella is no less captivating, embodying youthful freedom and vulnerability. Together, they make for an electrifying duo, and the strange and blurred relationship that emerges between them is charged to the point of creating an edge-of-your-seat tension. . . . the emotional connection between the two women is captivating and complex.
— Kirkus Reviews
THE SUMMER DEMANDS is a lushly woven tapestry of desire – for intimacy, for danger, for the past, for the impossible future. Shapiro’s sharp, beguiling prose will have you feeling like you’re falling in love for the first time, attuned to the selves we usually secret away. This is a coming-of-age novel in double, a woman’s grief and rage mirrored in a girl’s vulnerability and heartbreak, deepened by a shared sense that they can rewrite their lives. THE SUMMER DEMANDS is an absolute seduction.
— Aja Gabel, author of THE ENSEMBLE
THE SUMMER DEMANDS is my favorite kind of novel, filled with captivating, imperfect characters who, in one moment, make me laugh out loud, and in the next, pierce my heart. Rich, immersive, and so beautifully written—I couldn’t put it down.
— Aryn Kyle, author of THE GOD OF ANIMALS
THE SUMMER DEMANDS is an ethereal and poetic story of the encounter between a girl teetering on the brink of adulthood and a woman looking back with longing on her bygone youth. Taking place over that most romantic of seasons, summer, Shapiro’s brilliant novel is a beautiful and searching stay of desire and the irretrievable land of the past.
— Hannah Lillith Assadi, author of SONORA
Shapiro’s THE SUMMER DEMANDS is sultry, shrewd, unnerving, and simply magnetic. I was hooked from beginning to end.
— Rebecca Kauffman, author of THE GUNNERS

On the verge of her fortieth birthday, and shaken by a recent miscarriage, Emily inherits an abandoned summer camp in Massachusetts. She and her husband move onto the property and make grand plans to revitalize the land. But they soon discover that their inheritance includes an unexpected guest. On a walk through the old campgrounds she once frequented as a girl, Emily finds, living undetected in one of the cabins, a magnetic twenty-two-year-old named Stella.

As the two women begin spending time together—talking and drinking, swimming in the lake, watching seductive French films through long afternoons—Emily finds herself playing at performing various roles relative to Stella: friend, mother, lover. Each encounter they share promises to bring Emily a little closer to an understanding of her own identity, but it also puts her marriage and future at risk. How much does she really know about Stella? Why is Stella here, and what does she want, and what might she take with her, if and when she leaves?  

Taking place over a single summer in a landscape that refuses to be tamed, The Summer Demands is a beautiful, quietly startling exploration of the sting of seduction, of unspoken female rage, and of how desire and ambition shift over time. It advances Deborah Shapiro’s place as one of America’s most captivating writers—a novelist who “adroitly conveys women’s complicated intimacy” (The New York Times Book Review).