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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

April - June 2016 Issue

See Also:

Blondel, Jean-Philippe.  The 6:41 to Paris.
A middle-aged woman returning to her home in Paris by train realizes that the man sitting next to her is a former lover she has not seen in 27 years; both of them spend the trip remembering the events of their affair and its conclusion.

Canin, Ethan.  A Doubter’s Almanac.
A brilliant man achieves fame as a mathematician and Princeton Professor, but his heavy drinking and sexual escapades derail his career and take their toll on his family.

Case, Alison.  Nelly Dean: A Return to Wuthering Heights
The events of Emily Bronte’s novel, Wuthering Heights, are retold by the family housekeeper, the same narrator as in the original, but in this version she herself is the main character.

Clark, Clare.  We That Are Left
After the heir to an old English family and its castle is killed in World War I,  his mother takes up spiritualism, and his sisters, who cannot inherit the estate, take on newly independent roles.

Ellis, Helen.  American Housewife
This is a collection of 12 high-energy short stories featuring eccentric women and plots with unexpected twists.

Geni, Abby.  The Lightkeepers.
In this mystery novel, a wildlife photographer recalls the events, some of them violent, of a year she spent with a group of quirky research biologists at an isolated island nature preserve near the California coast.

Giordano, Paolo.  Like Family
After her unexpected death, a young man remembers the old woman who helped his family during his wife’s pregnancy, and stayed on as housekeeper and nanny.

Goldberg, Paul.  The Yid.
In this alternative history set in the Soviet Union in 1953, a group of conspirators assemble to murder Joseph Stalin before he can succeed in killing all the country’s Jews in a national pogrom.

Greenwell, Garth.  What Belongs to You.
A gay American poet teaching in Bulgaria meets a hustler, and begins a relationship that starts with sex, but quickly becomes much more complicated.

Hamer, Kate.  The Girl in the Red Coat
In this novel which is narrated by both of the main characters, a divorced and lonely Englishwoman’s eight-year-old daughter is abducted from a festival.

Harrigan, Stephen.  A Friend of Mr. Lincoln.
This historical novel is a study of Abraham Lincoln’s life and character in his early years as a lawyer and politician in Springfield, Illinois.

Hill, Lawrence.  The Illegal
In this literary thriller, an African marathon runner flees his country after his father’s assassination and lives as a refugee in a corrupt country nearby; after his sister is kidnapped, he must become a champion in order to pay her ransom.

Hunt, Samantha.  Mr. Splitfoot.
In this complex gothic novel, two teenaged orphans escape from a religious group home in New York State and travel as clairvoyants with the help of a con man; years later, one of the orphans makes her heavily pregnant niece accompany her on a long journey into the woods.

Joinson, Suzanne.  The Photographer’s Wife.
In this novel that begins in 1920, an 11-year-old English girl is sent to live with her father in Jerusalem, and is persuaded by her new friends to spy on him and his associates to learn about the British plans for Palestine.

Kang, Han.  The Vegetarian.
After a young South Korean woman has a vivid nightmare that leads her to stop eating meat, her increasingly unconventional behavior disrupts the lives of her husband, sister, and brother-in-law.

Martel, Yann.  The High Mountains of Portugal.
This novel features three different yet connected stories: a man mourning the deaths of his family who becomes obsessed with finding a 17th Century crucifix; a pathologist who performs an autopsy with unexpected results; and a Canadian senator who returns with a companion to his family home in Portugal.

McKenzie, Elizabeth.  The Portable Veblen
The main characters in this satiric story are Veblen, a sweet young woman who bonds with a squirrel, and her fiancé, a neurologist who has invented a device which has captured the attention of the Defense Department.

Milward, Andrew Malan.  I Was a Revolutionary: Stories.
These short stories, all set in Kansas, describe historical as well as contemporary events, and explore issues of history, race, and identity.

Molesini, Andrea.  Not All Bastards Are from Vienna
Based on true-life diaries, this novel tells the story of an aristocratic family in a small country town in Italy during the difficult last year of World War I, and centers on the coming of age of its teenaged son.

Murray, Paul.  The Mark and the Void
In this dark comedy, a Frenchman who works as an analyst for a Dublin investment bank becomes friends with a writer who claims to be researching a novel but is actually casing the bank.

Osborne, Lawrence.  Hunters in the Dark.
In this complex literary thriller, a discontented Englishman travels to Cambodia, and after some unexpected adventures, embraces the opportunity to change his identity.

Pinckney, Darryl.  Black Deutschland
A young gay African-American man from Chicago, newly sober, moves to Berlin during the last years of West Germany, looking for adventure and trying to reinvent himself.

Rushdie, Salman.  Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights.
This elaborate fairy tale and political allegory, (whose title adds up to 1001 nights), tells the story of two wars – one between dark and light genies, and the other between religious fundamentalism and reason.

Thornton, Mark R.  Kid Moses.
A homeless boy from Dar es Salaam in Tanzania flees the violence in his city and wanders hopelessly through the wilderness until he is rescued by an unlikely group of people.

Wright, Ronald.  The Gold Eaters.
In this adventurous historical novel set in 16th Century Peru, a young Inca boy is kidnapped by Spanish conquistadors, and becomes a translator for Francisco Pizarro.

Yapa, Sunil.  Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of a Fist
The characters in this political novel, set during the 1999 World Trade Organization riots in Seattle, include police officers, demonstrators, and delegates.