Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

October - December 2016 Issue

 
 
 

See also:

Anderson, Alison.  The Summer Guest. 
A married couple who own a struggling publishing company discover a diary that describes a young woman’s friendship with the Russian writer Anton Chekhov.

Ball, Jesse.  How to Set a Fire and Why
An intelligent and troubled teenager, whose father is dead and whose mother is in a mental institution, becomes involved with a group of fellow adolescents who start an Arson Club. 

Barnes, Julian.  The Noise of Time.
This novel portrays the life of the Soviet composer, Dmitri Shostakovich, and his unremitting persecution by the Soviet state. 

Barton, Emily.  The Book of Esther.
In this historical fantasy, a young Jewish woman living in the 1940’s in the fictitious country of Khazaria, determined to fight the foreign armies that threaten her country, runs away from home to find a group of kabbalists who can turn her into a man.

Bennett, Claire-Louise.  Pond.
This unusual novel from Ireland is narrated by a young woman living alone in a small coastal town who talks poetically and comically about her daily life.

Broun, Bill.  Night of the Animals.
Set in the year 2052, this novel depicts a dystopian Britain which has become a dictatorship with extreme surveillance. The hero, an old, homeless, drug-addicted man, sets out to free the animals from the London Zoo before a California-based cult can kill them.

Deón, Natashia.  Grace.
A young slave woman escapes from her plantation after her mother is killed while trying to protect her from the master; she in turn is killed by slave catchers shortly after giving birth to a daughter, but she watches over her child from the afterlife.

Ephron, Delia.  Siracusa.
This story about two wealthy American couples who take a vacation together in Italy is narrated in turn by each of the characters, each giving a very different perspective on the events that occurred.

Erens, Pamela.  Eleven Hours.
This novel gives a detailed look at pregnancy and childbirth, through the stories of a young woman in labor, and the hospital nurse who helps her give birth.

Flanery, Patrick.  I Am No One.
In this suspenseful novel, an American professor returns to New York after ten years of teaching in England, and receives four boxes in the mail of his own personal data, sent anonymously by someone who seems to be watching him. 

Gyasi, Yaa.  Homegoing.
The African-American experience is portrayed in this epic family story that begins with two half-sisters born in Ghana in the eighteenth century – one is married to an English slave trafficker, and the other is sold into slavery and sent to America.

Hill, Nathan.  The Nix.
A college professor whose mother walked out in his childhood finds her again when she becomes famous for throwing a rock at a right-wing politician. 

Ivey, Eowyn.  To the Bright Edge of the World.
This novel is made up of two  journals covering the same period – one written by a soldier exploring southern Alaska in the late 1800’s, and the other by his wife, living at an army barracks.

Konar, Affinity.  Mischling.
A pair of Polish Jewish twins, interned in the Auschwitz death camp, are spotted by Dr. Josef Mengele, who keeps them and other pairs of twins alive, in order to perform gruesome experiments upon them.

Lee, Krys.  How I Became a North Korean.
Three young people, one from a privileged family, another a pregnant smuggler, and the third a Chinese-born American, escape from Korea to China and band together to survive. 

McHugh, Laura.  Arrowood.
A young woman inherits her family’s grand old mansion along the Mississippi River in Iowa, and returns to the house to confront her family’s secrets, including the mysterious abduction of her twin baby sisters.

Meadows, Rae.  I Will Send Rain.
In this novel set in the 1930s, a Kansas woman marries a farmer and moves with him to Oklahoma to grow wheat, but the drought and dust storms tests the family’s ability to stay together and survive.

Moore, Liz.  The Unseen World.
A young teenager, home-schooled by her computer scientist father, begins to notice changes in him as he develops symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Then she discovers he is not who he said he was, and she sets out to learn more about him. 

O’Farrell, Maggie.  This Must Be the Place.
In this unconventional novel, the story of a French film star and her husband, an American professor, is told in a series of connected narratives set from 1944 to the present. 

Porter, Max.  Grief Is the Thing with Feathers.
In this imaginative and poetic novel, a man whose wife has just died, leaving him to raise their two small boys, finds their London flat invaded by a huge philosophical crow.

Sem-Sandberg, Steve.  The Chosen Ones.
This novel by a Swedish author describes an Austrian clinic under the Nazi regime, where doctors follow orders to euthanize the sick children under their care.

Shriver, Lionel.  The Mandibles: A Family, 2029-2047.
After the economy of the United States collapses in 2029, an upper middle class family in Brooklyn loses their fortune and struggles to adapt to a life without their former luxuries. 

Smith, Dinitia.  The Honeymoon.
This is a fictional biography of the British novelist, George Eliot, focusing on her love life, her public relationship with a married man, and her brief late-life marriage to a man much younger than herself.

Thomas, Scarlett.  The Seed Collectors.
When the matriarch of a wealthy family dies, she bequeaths her homes to her family, as well as the seedpods of a rare plant that may lead to spiritual illumination. 

Watson, Larry.  As Good as Gone.
In this novel set in a small town in Montana, a man asks his father, a crusty old cowboy, to stay in his house with his teenaged children while his wife has surgery. 

Weinstein, Alexander.  Children of the New World.
This is a collection of short speculative fiction, set in the near future, a time when new technology includes social media implants, life-like robots, and memory manufacturers.

Whitehead, Colson.  The Underground Railroad.
In this imaginative novel set in the nineteenth century, the route to freedom for American slaves is an actual physical railroad, on which two slaves from Georgia travel to a series of destinations while being pursued by a slave catcher.

Woodson, Jacqueline.  Another Brooklyn
A woman looks back on her childhood in the 1970’s, after her father moved her and her brother from Tennessee to Brooklyn, leaving her mother behind.