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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

April - June 2015 Issue

See also:

Baxter, Charles.  There's Something I Want You To Do: Stories
This is a collection of constantly surprising short stories, mostly set in Minneapolis, some named after classical virtues and deadly sins.  

Buwalda, Peter.  Bonita Avenue.
In this gritty family saga translated from Dutch, the head of a university discovers that his stepdaughter has become the star of a lucrative pornographic website.  

Clarke, Brock.  The Happiest People in the World.
In this satire on espionage thrillers, a Danish cartoonist, who's been threatened by Islamic extremists, is moved by the CIA to a small, seemingly quiet town in New York State, where he changes his name and identity.  

Cusk, Rachel.  Outline
The narrator of this novel is an English novelist, on her way to Athens to teach a summer writing course, who listens as friends, students, and strangers tell her the stories of their lives.  

Ford, Richard.  Let Me Be Frank With You.
This book is four linked novellas that continue the story of Frank Bascombe, this novelist's best-known character.   

Gavron, Assaf.  The Hilltop.
This novel portrays life among a group of eccentric characters in an illegal but thriving Jewish settlement on the West Bank.  

Giraldi, William.  Hold the Dark.
After a number of children in a small Alaskan village have been snatched by wolves, a wolf expert goes to investigate, and finds that the true circumstances of the deaths are far different from what he had imagined.  

Hooper, Emma.  Etta and Otto and Russell and James.
An 83-year-old  Canadian woman leaves her home in Saskatchewan to walk 3200 kilometers to Halifax. As she walks, the reader learns about her life, and the lives of her husband and lover, as they grew up in the Great Depression and lived through World War II.  

Howard, Ravi.  Driving the King
In this novel which mixes historical incidents with fiction, a friend of Nat King Cole saves his life when he is attacked by white supremacists, and, after serving in prison, becomes the singer's driver and bodyguard. 

Hulse, S.M.  Black River
A former prison guard, who was tortured and permanently disabled during a prison riot, and whose beloved wife has just died, learns that his attacker is up for parole.  

Johnson, Denis.  The Laughing Monsters.
A NATO intelligence officer is sent to West Africa to report on a former anti-terrorist colleague who seems to have deserted.  

Karlsson, Jonas.  The Room.
A new low-level and unreliable employee at a Swedish government office discovers a room that no one else can see, and moves his work into it.  

Lerner, Ben.  10:04.
This philosophical novel is narrated by a novelist who has suddenly experienced  literary success, been diagnosed with a serious heart condition, and has been asked to father a child with a friend.  

Mantel, Hilary.  The Assassination of Margaret Thatcher: Stories.
This is a collection of contemporary stories by a master of English historical fiction. In the title story, a fictional sniper plans to use a neighbor's kitchen window to assassinate the British Prime Minister while she is having eye surgery at a hospital.  

Mazzucco, Melania G.  Limbo
A young Italian woman joins the Army, becomes a platoon Sergeant in Afghanistan, is seriously wounded, and returns home, wondering what will be next in her life.  

Munaweera, Nayomi.  Island of a Thousand Mirrors
This family saga  from Sri Lanka tells the story of a Sinhalese family which rents out a floor in their home to a Tamil family in the 1940’s.  As the story continues, their children grow up together, but the civil war makes them enemies.    

Nahai, Gina B.  The Luminous Heart of Jonah S.
This sweeping family epic and murder mystery tells the story of an Iranian Jewish family, in Tehran, and later, in Los Angeles.  

Nicholls, David.  Us.
A married couple on the verge of divorce decide to go ahead with their plan to spend a month touring Europe with their sullen teenager.  

Parmar, Priya.  Vanessa and her Sister.
This novel explores the difficult relationship between Vanessa Stephens and  her sister, Virginia Woolf, as well as the lives of their writer and artist friends known as the Bloomsbury Group.     

Pearlman, Edith.  Honeydew: Stories
This is a collection of short stories that use close visual observation to portray the ordinary lives of their characters, primarily older people.  

Saramago, Jose.  Skylight
This novel by the Nobel Prize winning Portuguese author was originally written in his youth, and lost for decades. It tells the story of six families, mostly unhappy, who live together in an apartment building.   

Smith, Ali.  How to Be Both
Available in two different editions, this book tells the story of George, a young woman who is looking for ways to honor her dead mother; a separate, but related story, is that of a 15th century artist who painted a mural that George’s mother particularly admired.  

Sumell, Matt.  Making Nice.
This is a collection of 20 linked stories about an unpleasant, abrasive man who has terrible relationships with his family and friends.  

Toews, Miriam.  All My Puny Sorrows
A Canadian writer goes to visit her beloved sister, a successful concert pianist who is so depressed that she has just attempted suicide.    

Walker, Casey.  Last Days in Shanghai.
In this thriller, a young legislative aide to a California Congressman accompanies him on a business trip to China, where, after a night of drinking, the Congressman disappears and the aide must impersonate him.