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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

January - March 2014 Issue


See also:

Aridjis, Chloe. Asunder.
This book describes the life of a quiet woman who works as a museum guard at London's National Gallery, and has distant relationships with her roommate and eccentric friends.

Atwood, Margaret. MaddAddam.
This is the last novel in a dystopian post-apocalyptic trilogy that tells the story of a small group of survivors of a global pandemic.

Baker, Jo. Longbourn.
This novel, based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, portrays the lives of the servants who make their household run, and focuses on a romance between a housemaid and a new footman.

Barry, Kevin. Dark Lies the Island.
This is a collection of ten literary short stories by an Irish writer, filled with dark humor, and vivid alcohol-fueled characters.

Boswell, Robert. Tumbledown.
This novel, set at a counseling center in California, depicts the lives of a large cast of characters, particularly a therapist, whose life is as messy as any of his clients'.

Boyle, T.C. The Collected Stories of T.C. Boyle, Volume II.
This is a large collection of the author's work from the 1990's to the present, with 58 stories populated by strange people and unusual plots.

Carpenter, Lea. Eleven Days.
An anxious mother, waiting desperately for news about her son, a Navy Seal who has gone missing after a secret mission in the Middle East, thinks back on the affair that led to his birth, and the process he went through of choosing and qualifying for his special ops position.

Coetzee, J.M. The Childhood of Jesus.
In this allegorical novel, a small orphaned boy, and the man who has become his caretaker, immigrate to a new country, and set about trying to find the boy's mother.

Collins, Ciaran. The Gamal.
The narrator of this novel, although he is thought of as the village idiot in his small Irish town, tells the sad story of his two best friends, star-crossed lovers, with intelligence and perceptiveness.

Danticat, Edwidge. Claire of the Sea Light.
This novel is a group of interconnected stories moving back and forth in time, which describe the lives of the residents of a small, poor fishing village in Haiti, especially that of a young girl named Claire, whose mother had died in giving birth to her.

Flanery, Patrick. Fallen Land.
This thoughtful thriller takes place in a failed, half-finished subdivision, which has been created out of farmland. An executive and his family buy a house, unaware that the building contractor, increasingly paranoid, has holed up in an armed bunker next door.

Gilbert, David. & Sons.
In this dark comedy, a reclusive New York writer, feeling that his death is near, tries to unite his family: his teenaged son and the two much older half-brothers who the writer has long neglected.

Harding, Paul. Enon.
The main character of this novel has a simple and comfortable life in a small New England village, until his beloved daughter is killed in an accident. He sinks into depression and drug addiction until he is gradually able to rebuild his life.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. The Lowland.
This novel set in India in the 1960's depicts two brothers: one serious and cautious, and the other a passionate revolutionary. After the revolutionary is killed, the other brother marries his pregnant sister-in-law, but his good deed leads to painful consequences.

Lethem, Jonathan. Dissident Gardens.
This novel, moving back and forth between the 1930's and the Occupy Wall Street movement, tells the story of three generations of a Queens, New York, family of leftists, the descendants of a strong-willed Jewish Communist woman.

McDermott, Alice. Someone.
This novel takes its main character, a quite ordinary person on the surface, from her life as a seven year old Irish-American in Brooklyn in the 1920's, through World War II and into old age.

O'Flynn, Catherine. Mr. Lynch's Holiday.
A recently widowed Irish man takes a holiday to reconnect with his son, who has been living in Spain. He finds that the Spanish economy has soured, his son has lost his job, and his girlfriend has left him.

Shacochis, Bob. The Woman Who Lost Her Soul.
After a humanitarian lawyer investigates the death of a mysterious photojournalist he had met in Haiti, he begins to unveil a complex espionage plot beginning in the Balkans during World War II.

Simsion, Graeme. The Rosie Project.
In this romantic comedy, a brilliant geneticist, who lacks basic social skills, sets about finding his ideal mate through an extensive questionnaire, but then meets a woman who doesn't meet any of his requirements.

Tartt, Donna. The Goldfinch.
After a terrorist sets off a bomb in an art museum, a young man whose mother was killed by the explosion becomes the caretaker of a valuable painting by a seventeenth century Dutch master.

Vasquez, Juan Gabriel. The Sound of Things Falling.
In this novel set in the 1990's in Colombia amid the violence of the drug cartels, a law professor investigates the life and background of a man he had befriended, after he himself is wounded and his friend is killed by assassins.

Watson, Larry. Let Him Go.
In this novel set in North Dakota and Montana in the 1950's, a woman sets out, with her reluctant husband, to reclaim her grandson from her widowed daughter in law, who has remarried.

Winterson, Jeanette. The Daylight Gate.
This poetic, suspenseful, and violent novel is set during witch trials in England in 1612, and centers on the historical figure of Alice Nutter, a brave gentlewoman who is falsely charged and convicted of witchcraft.

Woodrell, Daniel. The Maid's Version.
A boy comes to spend the summer in Missouri with his grandmother, who works as a maid, and learns the story of a deadly dance hall explosion and fire in 1929 which killed his grandmother's younger sister.