Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

April - June 2013 Issue

See also:

Crace, Jim. Harvest.
In this novel set in an English farming village in the deep past, a group of strangers are suspected and punished after the Master’s stables are set on fire following the harvest.

Erdrich, Louise. The Round House.
A violent attack on a woman living on an Ojibwe reservation in North Dakota leads her husband and teenaged son to try to solve the crime and obtain justice despite the complications caused by questions of jurisdiction and treaty law.

Halfon, Eduardo. The Polish Boxer.
In this loosely arranged novel by a Guatemalan author, a Guatemalan literature professor (with the same name as the author) travels to Serbia to visit a gifted pianist; the book also tells the story of the author’s grandfather, whose life was saved in Auschwitz by a Polish boxer.

Hansen, Ron. She Loves Me Not: New and Selected Stories.
This is a collection of 19 short stories, including realistic historical pieces and some more unusual stories, set in Nebraska and other Midwestern locations.

Harrison, Jim. The River Swimmer: Novellas.
One of these short novels is about an elderly professor who returns to Michigan to look after his ailing mother, and finds himself reconnecting with his life; the other is about a farm boy from the Upper Peninsula who swims over 100 miles to Chicago.

Henkin, Joshua. The World Without You.
A Jewish family gathers at their summer home in the Berkshires over the Fourth of July weekend for a memorial service for the youngest son, a reporter killed in Iraq.

Hensher, Philip. Scenes from Early Life.
In this novel, the history of the struggle for independence in Bangladesh is told through the eyes of a child born to a large upper-class Bengali family, who grows up in luxury while his country falls apart around him.

Keilson, Hans. Life Goes On.
In this autobiographical novel written in the 1930s, a German shopkeeper struggles to keep his clothing store in business during the period of nightmarish inflation after the First World War, and the Nazis begin their rise to power.

Kenney, John. Truth in Advertising.
In this satire and family drama, a New York advertising man is called to the bedside of his dying father at Christmastime, just as a deadline is looming for a Super Bowl commercial for biodegradable diapers.

Kingsolver, Barbara. Flight Behavior.
The life of an Appalachian farm wife, trapped in a loveless marriage on a struggling Tennessee sheep farm, is transformed when thousands of monarch butterflies descend on the family’s woodland, followed by reporters and scientists.

Lancaster, Jen. Here I Go Again.
In this comedy, a woman who had been a bully at her high school returns for a class reunion, and finds that her classmates have all been more successful than she has. Then a special potion takes her back into the past to give her a chance to change her behavior.

McEwan, Ian. Sweet Tooth.
In this espionage spoof, a beautiful woman studying mathematics at Cambridge during the Cold War is recruited for British Intelligence, and assigned to participate in a mission aimed at secretly funding Anti-Communist writers.

Mathis, Ayana. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie.
This is a collection of linked stories which portray the history of African-Americans in the 20 th century through the lives of the children of Hattie Shepherd, a black woman who left Georgia for Philadelphia in the 1920s.

Millet, Lydia. Magnificence.
A woman, who is mourning her husband’s death and feeling guilty over her own responsibility for it, unexpectedly inherits an estate in Pasadena, filled with taxidermied animals, and finds healing for herself and others.

Moyes, Jojo. Me Before You.
A young Englishwoman takes a job as caretaker for a recently paralyzed man, and throws herself into trying to convince him to stay alive, despite his losses.

Munro, Alice. Dear Life: Stories.
These are 14 short stories, set mostly in small-town Ontario in an earlier time, written in plain but evocative language, and including some of the author’s most autobiographical work.

Rideout, Tanis. Above All Things.
This novel tells the story of George Mallory’s final disastrous attempt to climb Mount Everest, and the affect of his absence and death on his wife, left behind to care for their three children.

Russell, Karen. Vampires in the Lemon Grove: Stories.
These are eight stories filled with strange outlandish situations that display the author’s strong and unique imagination.

Saramago, Jose. Raised from the Ground.
This novel describes the lives of three generations of a peasant family in Portugal, hard-working poor people victimized by wealthy landowners, the government, and the Church.

Saunders, George. Tenth of December: Stories.
These are ten stories by a postmodernist writer, whose writing is ironic and comic, yet also compassionate towards his characters.

Schrank, Ben. Love is a Canoe.
A book editor launches a contest to boost sales for a popular forty-year-old self-help book full of simplistic marriage advice. The winners get to spend time with the author to get his help restoring their relationship, with disastrous results.

Scott, Kirstin. Motherlunge.
This irreverent novel about first sex, true love, and sibling rivalry tells the story of a pair of sisters and the decisions they make in their young lives.

Sloan, Robin. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore.
In this intricate mystery, a graphic designer who takes a job as a night clerk at a mysterious bookstore discovers that it is the home of a secret society which is trying to decode a group of ancient texts.

Straight, Susan. Between Heaven and Here.
In this final installment of a trilogy, a beautiful, drug-addicted prostitute is found murdered in the black community of Rio Seco, California, and her death has a complicated affect on her sons, her uncle, and her family’s friends.

Thalasinos, Andrea. An Echo through the Snow.
A young woman begins a journey of discovery after she rescues a neglected Siberian husky, gets involved in competitive dogsled racing, and learns about the role of these dogs in Siberian history and culture.

Thuy, Kim. Ru.
This autobiographical first novel portrays the life of a Vietnamese woman, the daughter of a wealthy family, who comes to Canada as a refugee, and later becomes the mother of an autistic son.

Wilson, Antoine. Panorama City.
A simple man who has lived with his reclusive father in a small town in California moves to Panorama City to live with his aunt after his father dies, and tries to become a man of the world.