Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

July - September 2016 Issue

       

See also:

Belfer, Laura.  And After the Fire.
In this historical novel, a woman finds a previously unknown musical work by Johann Sebastian Bach; a parallel story centers on a celebrated pianist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. 

Beverly, William.  Dodgers
A young gang member who has never left Los Angeles is sent on a road trip with three other young men to kill a witness in Wisconsin. 

Bock, Charles.  Alice & Oliver.
The lives of a happy and successful couple living in New York City in the 1990’s change dramatically after the wife becomes ill with leukemia. 

Cantor, Rachel.  Good on Paper.
A woman who is fluent in Italian is asked to translate a new book by a Nobel Prize-winning poet, but her life becomes confusing, as the book seems untranslatable, she begins a new romance with a neighbor, she argues with her roommate, and her young daughter starts acting out. 

Carey, M. R.  Fellside
After an English woman is sent to prison for setting a fire that killed a child, she is visited by the child’s ghost, who tells her he was already dead before the fire, and begs her to uncover the truth about his murder.

Chee, Alexander.  The Queen of the Night.
A famous nineteenth century opera singer tells the dramatic story of her life, and her many identities – an American circus performer, and then, in Europe, a chambermaid, courtesan, spy, and finally a world-renowned soprano. 

Danler, Stephanie.  Sweetbitter.
A young woman from the Midwest comes to New York City and gets a job as a waiter at a restaurant in Union Square, where she learns about wine, gourmet food, cocaine, and sex from the other members of the restaurant staff. 

DeLillo, Don.  Zero K.
In this philosophical novel, a man is flown to a secret location to witness his terminally ill stepmother’s cryogenic freezing, and learns that his billionaire father plans to do the same thing in the hope of living forever.

DiSclafani, Anton.  The After Party.
This novel is set in the 1950’s in oil-rich Houston, Texas, and portrays the relationship between two debutantes who are lifelong best friends until one of them suddenly goes off to Hollywood, and then returns a year later, with a mysterious secret. 

Dutton, Danielle.  Margaret the First.
This novel portrays the life and times of Margaret Cavendish, the 17th Century Duchess of Newcastle, a very eccentric woman and a brilliant writer who was the first woman to have books published under her own name.

Haslett, Adam.  Imagine Me Gone.
This is the story of a family of five over a period of fifty years, told from the point of view of each family member; the father suffers from mental illness, and one of the children inherits his illness.

Kelly, Martha Hall.  Lilac Girls.
This historical novel, based on the lives of actual people, tells the story of three women caught up in World War II – a Polish teenager who’s sent to a Nazi concentration camp, a German doctor who conducts gruesome experiments on prisoners, and an American woman who does charity work at the French Consulate in New York.

Lynch, Jim.  Before the Wind.
This is the story of three generations of a family of boat builders and sailors; after the members of the third generation go their separate ways, their father brings them back together for one last race.

Means, David.  Hystopia.
This dense and complicated novel is set in an alternative universe, where John F. Kennedy was not killed in Dallas, but lived on to create a federal agency that treats soldiers returning from Vietnam by wiping out their memories.

Millet, Lydia.  Sweet Lamb of Heaven.
In this philosophical thriller, a young woman leaves her manipulative husband, taking their daughter with her. But he is running for State Senate and needs them back home so that he can show that his family is supportive.

Morgan, C. E.  The Sport of Kings.
A Kentucky man turns his family’s land into a horse farm, and rears a prize-winning race horse; his only daughter’s affair with an African-American stable hand leads to confrontation with her father’s racism and his plans for her.

NDiaye, Marie.  Ladivine.
In this French novel, a beautiful light-skinned woman leaves her dark-skinned mother, a servant in a French village, and renames and reinvents herself in the big city of Bordeaux; when the woman dies suddenly, she leaves behind her daughter, named Ladivine after her grandmother. 

O’Connor, Stephen.  Thomas Jefferson Dreams of Sally Hemings.
This novel imagines the complex relationship between Thomas Jefferson, and the African-American slave woman who was his lover for 40 years. 

Prentiss, Molly.  Tuesday Nights in 1980.
This novel follows three people: an artist, a critic, and a young woman fascinated by artists, in the dynamic art world of New York City in the 1980’s.

Schulman, Sarah.  The Cosmopolitans.
In this novel set in Greenwich Village in the 1950’s, the lives of a middle-aged white woman working as a secretary, and her neighbor, a gay black actor whose has a day job in a meatpacking plant, are upset when the woman’s wealthy cousin from Ohio comes to visit. 

Seay, Martin.  The Mirror Thief.
This supernatural mystery and historical adventure begins in Las Vegas when an ex-Marine trying to track down a gambler discovers a magical book called, “The Mirror Thief.” 

Spiotta, Dana.  Innocents and Others.
Two high school friends brought together through their love of movies become film directors, one making serious documentaries, and the other directing popular comedies. A third character is another movie-loving woman with intense relationships that take place only over the telephone.

Swift, Graham.  Mothering Sunday.
In a moving story that begins in England in 1924, a housemaid and the young heir of a neighboring estate end their six-year-long affair.

Tanner, Ron.  Missile Paradise.
The Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean is the setting for this comic yet thought-provoking story about a group of eccentric expatriate Americans. 

Valdés, Zoé.  The Weeping Woman.
This novel portrays the life of photographer Dora Maar, who had a tempestuous ten-year relationship with Picasso, and suffered a mental breakdown as a result of his mistreatment of her.

Vyleta, Dan.  Smoke.
In this fantasy novel set in 19th Century England, people give off smoke when they are experiencing strong negative emotions; three teenagers, realizing that life was not always this way, set off for London to try to find out where the smoke came from.