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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

January - March 2015 Issue

See also:

Backman, Fredrik. A Man Called Ove.  
In this warm and comic novel which has been a bestseller in its native Sweden, a grouchy old man is revealed to have a generous heart, after he’s drawn out by his new neighbors.

Bezmozgis, David. The Betrayers.
A former Soviet dissident, who has become an Israeli politician, flees to the Crimea after being blackmailed, and ends up renting a home from the man who had reported him to the authorities years earlier.

Cunningham, Michael. The Snow Queen
A man who is down on his luck and sharing a dilapidated apartment in Brooklyn with his drug-addicted brother and the brother’s cancer-stricken fiancee, has a religious vision while walking in Central Park.

D’Erasmo, Stacey. Wonderland
A middle-aged American musician goes to Europe on what is most likely her last concert tour, and looks back at her career and her childhood.

Enger, Lin. The High Divide.
In this novel set in the 1880’s, a man suddenly abandons his family without any explanation; his two sons, and later, his wife all head into the Montana Badlands to find him and to learn why he left.

Gay, Roxane. An Untamed State.
An American woman, originally from Haiti, travels back home with her husband, and is kidnapped by a violent gang who hold her for ransom.

Giordano, Paolo. The Human Body
In this novel set in Afghanistan, a group of Italian soldiers stationed at a remote outpost try to cope with boredom and fear while they wait for action.

Graedon, Alena. The Word Exchange.
In this science-fiction thriller set in the 22nd Century, a scholar battles a giant technology company that has taken control of information and language.

Hepner, Braden. Pale Harvest.
In this novel set in Utah, a young man works hard to make a living on his grandfather’s farm until a betrayal sends him into the desert on a quest.

Hunt, Laird. Neverhome.
An Indiana woman disguises herself as a man and goes to fight for the Union in the Civil War, while her husband stays home to take care of their farm.

James, Marlon. A Brief History of Seven Killings
This novel is a portrait of Jamaica, told through a fictionalized version of the attempted assassination of reggae musician Bob Marley in 1976.

Jin, Ha. A Map of Betrayal.
An American woman whose father, a CIA agent, had been convicted of spying for China, unexpectedly acquires her father’s diaries, learns he had another family, and goes to China to meet them.

Lazar, Zachary. I Pity the Poor Immigrant
In this complicated novel, an American investigative reporter goes to Israel to write about the murder of an Israeli poet, and finds connections with Jewish mobsters from the 1920’s, her own father, and the Biblical King David.

McBride, Eimear. A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing.
The narrator of this novel, written in stream-of-consciousness style, tells the story of her abusive childhood and her battle to become a healthy adult with her own identity.

Magee, Audrey. The Undertaking.
This is a sympathetically written account of a German couple, both believers in the Nazi cause, who marry for convenience during World War II.

Mandel, Emily St. John. Station Eleven
In this literary post-apocalyptic thriller, the sudden death of an actor performing Shakespeare’s King Lear on stage is followed by a devastating global flu pandemic.

Millet, Lydia. Mermaids in Paradise.
In this offbeat comic thriller, a woman honeymooning with her new husband on a tropical island discovers a group of mermaids, setting off a social media frenzy.

O’Neill, Joseph. The Dog
A New York lawyer moves to Dubai to work for a wealthy Lebanese family, and lives in luxury until a financial scandal hits.

Parrett, Favel. Past the Shallows
In this poignant story set in a small fishing community in Tasmania, two young brothers live with their abusive and luckless father, after the death of their mother in a car accident.

Racculia, Kate. Bellweather Rhapsody.  
In this clever mystery, a formerly elegant hotel in the Catskills, the site of a notorious murder/suicide fifteen years earlier, hosts a state-wide high school music festival.

Rahman, Zia Haider. In the Light of What We Know.
In this novel of ideas, a London investment banker is surprised to find an old college friend on his doorstep – a brilliant mathematician who had disappeared earlier under mysterious circumstances.

Sharma, Akhil. Family Life.  
A family leaves India for New York, where they seem headed for success until the oldest son has a swimming pool accident which leaves him with permanent brain damage.

Sojourner, Mary. 29.
A middle-aged corporate executive leaves Los Angeles after being fired, and makes a new life in a little desert town near Twentynine Palms.

Steinke, Rene. Friendswood.
This novel takes place in a small, tight-knit Texas community, where an oil refinery has left toxic chemicals behind, and a bereaved mother is challenging the status quo.

Williams, Niall. History of the Rain.
An Irish college student, bedridden by illness, vows to read each of the many books her deceased father left behind, and remembers the stories of her family members and other people she’s known.

Zink, Nell. The Wallcreeper.
In this contemporary comedy, a young woman marries a man she barely knows, follows him to Europe for his work, and stays married to him despite the almost immediate failure of their relationship.