Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction
April - June 2011 Issue
Appanah-Mouriquand, Nathacha. The Last Brother.
An old man recalls his childhood friendship with an exiled Jewish boy in this novel set on the island of Mauritius during World War II.
Auster, Paul. Sunset Park.
A New Yorker living in Florida falls in love with a precocious teenager who is too young to marry him, and flees to Brooklyn, where he moves into an abandoned house with a group of artists.
Beattie, Ann. The New Yorker Stories.
This is a collection of 48 sensitive and sometimes comic short stories, published over four decades, about the failures and successes of ordinary people.
Boyle, T.C. When the Killing's Done.
In this environmental novel, a biologist who is trying to exterminate rats to preserve a fragile island ecosystem clashes with an animal rights activist who is trying to save all the animals on the island.
Brockmeier, Kevin. The Illumination.
In this novel set in a parallel universe, a sudden mysterious event causes people's painful injuries and diseases to emit light, so that the suffering of its characters becomes beautiful and inspiring.
Dasgupta, Rana. Solo.
This book, which is two novels in one, tells the story of a Bulgarian musician and chemist whose life and opportunities have been ruined by World War II and the Communist takeover; in the second part, the Bulgarian imagines a better world in which a talented musician is discovered and becomes successful in New York.
Doyle, Roddy. The Dead Republic.
This is the last book in a trilogy that tells the life story of Henry Smart, a former Irish revolutionary; here, he tries to preserve his own legend from being taken over by a Hollywood film director and the IRA.
Elton, Charles. Mr. Toppit.
After an American radio show host witnesses the traffic accident death of an obscure English writer, she discovers his books, makes them famous, and propels his fragile family into sudden notoriety.
Evison, Jonathan. West of Here.
This novel recounts the history of a fictional town in Washington's Olympic Peninsula, beginning in the 1890's when an explorer and an industrialist begin to transform and civilize the secluded mountainous region.
Fallon, Siobhan. You Know When the Men are Gone.
These eight short stories depict the lives of the women left behind when their soldiers leave Fort Hood, Texas for deployments in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Gansworth, Eric. Extra Indians.
A Texas truck driver gives a lift to a Japanese tourist, who later dies of exposure; her death gets him national media attention, which forces him to answer questions about his past.
Hannah, Barry. Long, Last, Happy: New and Collected Stories.
This is a collection of the best short stories by this recently deceased author, set in the American south and written in a darkly comic style.
Jensen, Carsten. We, the Drowned.
This adventure novel, a best-seller in Denmark, tells the story of several generations of a family of sailors based in a Danish port city.
Kennedy, Cate. The World Beneath.
In this novel set in Australia, a troubled teen-aged girl goes on a backpacking trip to Tasmania with her estranged father, and the two disappear in the wilderness.
Márai, Sándor. Portraits of a Marriage.
In this novel set in the dying years of the Austro-Hungarian empire, the story of a relationship between a married man and his mother-in-law's maid is told by the three people involved - his wife, the husband, and the maid.
Meekings, Sam. Under Fishbone Clouds.
In this historical novel, a young Chinese couple live through the Japanese occupation, civil war, the Communist Revolution, and the Cultural Revolution.
Morton, Kate. The Distant Hours.
A letter mailed in 1941 is finally delivered fifty years later, and a young woman sets out to uncover a series of mysteries connected with her mother's childhood in the English countryside during World War II.
Percy, Benjamin. The Wilding.
A businessman in failing health; his son, a teacher whose marriage is falling apart; and the teacher's sixth-grade son take a hunting trip to Echo Canyon in Oregon, where they are tracked by a dangerous animal and face other perils in the wild.
Pittard, Hannah. The Fates Will Find Their Waydeath .
In this suspenseful story, a 16-year-old girl disappears suddenly from her suburban town on Halloween. The boys in her town continue to think of her and wonder what happened to her, even as they grow up and become adults with families of their own.
Rubenfeld, Jed. The Death Instinct.
This novel describes the hunt for the perpetrators of the 1920 bombing of Wall Street, one of the most deadly acts of terrorism in the United States.
Stuckey-French, Elizabeth. The Revenge of the Radioactive Lady.
In this black comedy, a woman who had been exposed to radiation during a government experiment vows to kill the doctor who conducted the experiment and harass his family. But when she moves to Florida to carry out her revenge, she finds the doctor has Alzheimer's and his family is already spectacularly dysfunctional.
Yan, Lianke. Dream of Ding Village.
In this novel banned in China and based on a real-life scandal, the residents of a small poor village in China become infected with AIDS after selling their blood.