Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction
October - December 2011 Issue
Adrian, Chris. The Great Night.
On a summer solstice night in San Francisco’s Buena Vista Park, the fairies from Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream come out from under the hill, and three lonely mortals become lost.
Antunes, António Lobo. The Land at the End of the World.
A young Angolan medic recalls the horrors of caring for the wounded in a hospital in Luanda during the war for independence from Portugal in the early 1970’s.
Ballard, J.G. Millennium People.
In this darkly comic novel, a group of dissatisfied middle-class rebels, reacting to the emptiness of their lives, become terrorists, setting off bombs at London theaters and museums.
Casey, Jane. The Burning.
In this thriller, a London police detective, investigating a possible serial killer, is assigned to learn about the background of the latest victim, whose murder doesn’t fit the pattern.
Christensen, Kate. The Astral.
In this comic novel with vivid characters, a middle-aged poet is kicked out of the house by his wife, who believes his love poetry is evidence of an affair.
Cooke, Carolyn. Daughters of the Revolution.
This novel is centered on the Goode School, a prestigious boys’ academy in Boston, where a rebellious African-American girl is admitted by mistake in the late 1960’s; meanwhile, a former brilliant student drowns in a suspicious accident, leaving a wife and daughter behind.
Diffenbaugh, Vanessa. The Language of Flowers.
An 18 year old woman, who has grown up in a series of bad homes in the San Francisco area, graduates from the foster care system with little education and the inability to express herself in words, relying instead on the Victorian language of flowers.
Disher, Garry. Wyatt.
In this crime thriller set in Melbourne, Australia, a master thief, who usually works low-risk jobs alone, gets involved in a big jewel heist which soon turns complicated and dangerous.
Drabble, Margaret. A Day in the Life of a Smiling Woman: Complete Short Stories.
These fourteen sharp and poignant stories, written over a period of 50 years, center on the difficulties of women’s relationships with men.
Habila, Helon. Oil on Water.
In this novel set in Nigeria amidst scenes of violence and environmental destruction, two journalists search for the kidnapped wife of a British oil executive.
Hamill, Pete. Tabloid City.
A fictional tabloid newspaper, the New York World, is closing down and putting out its last edition when a sensational murder in high society takes place.
Hill, Reginald. The Woodcutter.
A successful English businessman loses everything when he is falsely convicted on charges of fraud and child pornography; when he emerges from prison, he sets out to find out who framed him and get revenge.
Hodgkinson, Amanda. 22 Britannia Road.
During World War II, a young Polish man becomes a soldier, while his wife and son escape from Warsaw and live in the forest until the end of the war. Though they are eventually reunited in England, all have guilty secrets.
Johnson, Denis. Train Dreams.
This novel about the American West recounts the life of an Idaho railroad laborer, an orphan born in 1886, whose life in the wilderness takes place amid the technological changes of the early 20th Century.
Koryta, Michael. The Ridge.
In this supernatural thriller set in rural Kentucky, an eccentric drunk, who built a lighthouse miles away from the sea, commits suicide, and an eerie blue light upsets the big cats at a wildlife refuge nearby.
LaPlante, Alice. Turn of Mind.
In this literary thriller, a retired surgeon in Chicago is suspected of killing her best friend after witnesses hear them arguing. However, the surgeon has dementia, and can’t remember what happened.
Miéville, China. Embassytown.
In this science fiction novel, an alien woman returns to her home planet so that her husband, a linguist, can study the language of the natives, a group that cannot tell lies. But once they learn to do so, their civilization begins to crumble.
Pelecanos, George. The Cut.
In this tense crime novel set in Washington, D.C., a jailed drug dealer hires an Iraq War vet turned private investigator to recover three shoe boxes of marijuana that have gone missing.
Schulman, Helen. This Beautiful Life.
A fifteen-year-old boy accidentally sends a sexually explicit video to a friend, leading to his being caught up in a child pornography scandal, with severe consequences for his family.
Swann, Maxine. The Foreigners.
In this sexy and sensuous novel, an American divorcee moves to Buenos Aires and makes friends with a lonely and ambitious Austrian, and a rebellious Argentinian.
Waldman, Amy. The Submission.
A jury commissioned to choose one of the thousands of submissions for a 9/11 memorial in New York City sets off a major controversy when the winning entry turns out to have been designed by a Muslim architect.
Whitehouse, David. Bed: A Novel.
The main character in this unusual and farcical novel is the fattest man on Earth, weighing half a ton, who took to his bed at the age of 25 and has not left it for 20 years.
Wilson, Kevin. The Family Fang.
The two children of a pair of performance artists who set up unsettling situations in public places manage to grow up and become successful despite their unconventional childhoods, but find themselves back home after making bad decisions.
Winman, Sarah. When God Was a Rabbit.
This offbeat coming-of-age story is about an English girl from a very unconventional family, her older brother, a Belgian hare they named God, and her life in post-9/11 New York City.