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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

April - June 2017 Issue


See also:

Adiga, Aravind.  Selection Day
The father of two cricket-playing boys works desperately to make them athletic superstars, and escape their life of poverty in Mumbai.

Appelfeld, Aharon.  The Man Who Never Stopped Sleeping.
This is an autobiographical novel by an Israeli author, telling the story of his escape from Nazi Germany in his youth and his training as a soldier and farmer in Israel.

Auster, Paul.  4 3 2 1.
A Brooklyn man tells his life story four different times, with four different sets of details.

Banner, Catherine.  The House at the Edge of Night
In this multigenerational saga that begins in the early 1900’s, a new doctor comes to a tiny island off the coast of Sicily, starts a family, and ends up opening a bar in a ruined building near the sea.

Barry, Sebastian.  Days Without End
An Irish immigrant comes to the American west in the nineteenth century, meets a younger man who becomes his lover, and experiences the horrors of battle in the Indian wars and the Civil War.

Butler, Nickolas.  The Hearts of Men.
This novel begins in 1962 and spans six decades, as it tells the story of a group of boys at a Wisconsin Boy Scout camp, including an unhappy, nerdy boy who is mentored by their scoutmaster.

Cardenas, Mauro Javier.  The Revolutionaries Try Again.
Three friends who were classmates together at an elite Catholic high school in Ecuador, trace how their progressive ideals change as they grow older.

Chabon, Michael.  Moonglow.
This imaginative and adventurous novel is a memoir and deathbed confession by the author’s fictional grandfather, an engineer fascinated by rocketry, who was born early in the 20th Century, and served in World War II.

Chaon, Dan.  Ill Will.
A middle-aged psychologist, whose parents were murdered when he was a teenager, finds that his adopted brother, whom he had accused of the crimes, has been released from prison, and has contacted the psychologist’s troubled son.

Coetzee, J. M.  The Schooldays of Jesus
This sequel to the author’s allegorical novel, The Childhood of Jesus, continues the story of a philosophical man, an orphaned boy he takes care of, and a woman he assigns to act as the boy’s mother, as they travel to a new city where the boy is enrolled in a dance school.

Constantine, David.  The Life-Writer
A woman who writes biographies tries to manage her grief after her husband’s death by studying his life, using old letters to put together a picture of him as a young man in love, long before she met him.

Coover, Robert.  Huck Out West.  
This novel continues the story of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, showing him as an adult living in the Dakotas after the Civil War, having misadventures as a Pony Express rider, and living with the Lakota Sioux.

Drabble, Margaret.  The Dark Flood Rises
An Englishwoman in her 70’s keeps busy doing social work, cooking meals for her terminally ill former husband, and keeping up with her many friends, but she is aware that she herself is aging and declining.

Fridlund, Emily.  History of Wolves.  
In this suspenseful coming-of-age novel set in northern Minnesota, a teenaged girl whose parents were the last members of a failed commune takes a job babysitting for a little boy whose family has moved nearby.

Hamid, Mohsin.  Exit West
This is the story of two refugees from an unidentified country, who meet, fall in love, and plan a future together, until a militant takeover makes their country too dangerous to live in and they flee via secret doors that whisk them into the western world. 

Jin, Ha.  The Boat Rocker.
An online journalist, who works in the United States and specializes in exposés of Chinese corruption, discovers that an upcoming novel, badly written by his ex-wife, is being hyped by the Chinese government for political reasons.

Kauffman, Rebecca.  Another Place You’ve Never Been
This novel about the lives of working-class people in Buffalo, New York, is made up of loosely linked stories, centering on a young woman, first seen in childhood, who spends her life looking for love and purpose.

Kline, Christina Baker.  A Piece of the World
This novel brings the Andrew Wyeth painting, Christina’s World, to life, by telling the story of Christina Olson, a hard-working and lonely woman confined to her family’s farm by a debilitating disease.

Lee, Min Jin.  Pachinko.
This multigenerational saga begins in Japanese-occupied Korea in the early 1900’s, when a  teenaged girl becomes pregnant, and a minister who lives at her family’s boardinghouse marries her and moves to Japan with her to start a new life.

Mason, Richard.  Who Killed Piet Barol? 
A charismatic Dutch con artist living in South Africa in the early Twentieth Century hatches a scheme to get wood for his failing furniture business from a mahogany forest that is sacred to the Xhosa people.

Miller, Derek B.  The Girl in Green
A British journalist and an American soldier, who both witnessed the murder of a young Iraqi girl in 1991, are reunited after a video showing what may be the same girl comes out twenty-two years later, and they set out to try to find her.

Nguyen, Viet Thanh.  The Refugees.  
This is a collection of short stories, most of them set in Vietnamese exile communities in California, which portray the difficult lives of refugees, and the children of refugees.

O’Neill, Heather.  The Lonely Hearts Hotel
This novel tells the love story of two orphans with unexpected talents, both born in 1914, and raised together at a cheerless Catholic orphanage near Montreal.

Rooney, Kathleen.  Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
On New Year’s Eve in 1984, an eighty-year old woman walks through the streets of New York, reminiscing about her successful life as an advertising copywriter, and having a number of adventures with other New York characters.

Rosenfeld, Lucinda.  Class.  
In this satire, a white, liberal New York woman sends her daughter to a multiracial neighborhood school, until, alarmed by bullying, she forges documents to transfer her to a different school with a higher percentage of white students.

Smith, Ali.  Autumn.
A German man escapes to England during World War II and befriends a neglected young girl, teaching her about art and literature; years later, as he is dying, she comes back into his life when, now an art professor,  she visits him in a nursing home.

Tinti, Hannah.  The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley.  
A lifelong thief and hit man decides to go straight for the sake of the teenaged daughter he loves, and moves them both to a Massachusetts fishing town, but his past continues to haunt him.

Xilonen, Aura.  The Gringo Champion. 
A Mexican teenager, abandoned in childhood, escapes to the United States, and describes his daily struggles to survive.

Yan, Lianke.  The Explosion Chronicles
This Chinese novel describes the transformation of a rural mountain village named Explosion into a huge city, focusing on four brothers, a teacher, politician, soldier, and caretaker.