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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

July - September 2017 Issue

See also:

Arimah, Lesley Nneka.  What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky
This is a collection of twelve imaginative short stories which explore family histories and relationships, sometimes in realistic ways, and sometimes as fairy tales.

Batuman, Elif.  The Idiot.   
The main character of this slightly autobiographical novel is an 18-year-old Turkish-American woman who comes to Harvard to study linguistics in the 1990’s.

Chancellor, Bryn.  Sycamore
A teenaged girl, who has recently moved to a small desert town in Arizona with her divorced mother, disappears one night shortly before Christmas; eighteen years later, human remains are found near a trail.

Colin, Beatrice.  To Capture What We Cannot Keep
In this historical romance set in the 1880’s, a young Scottish man becomes an apprentice engineer to assist in the construction of the Eiffel Tower, and moves to Paris with his sister and their chaperone.

El Akkad, Omar.  American War
This novel takes place in the United States in 2081, during the Second American Civil War, and tells the story of a refugee from Louisiana who becomes a leader of the Southern resistance.

Hasan, Jana Fawwaz.  The Ninety-Ninth Floor
A Palestinian man, who has moved to New York and become a successful gaming designer, meets and falls in love with a Lebanese woman from a right-wing Christian family.

Grodstein, Lauren.  Our Short History
A single mother, dying of ovarian cancer, makes plans for her six year old son to live with her sister, but when the boy and his father meet and bond with each other, she fears that he will take the child instead, after her death.

Habash, Gabe.  Stephen Florida
In this coming of age novel, a troubled college senior throws himself into wrestling, and becomes increasingly obsessed with his goal of winning the championship in his weight class.

Heller, Peter.  Celine
In this literary suspense novel, an aging private investigator who specializes in missing persons cases along with her husband, investigates the disappearance years earlier of a photographer at Yellowstone.

Kalfar, Jaroslav.  Spaceman of Bohemia.  
This science fiction novel tells the story of the first astronaut from the Czech Republic, his mission and adventures in space, and his early life as the child of a Community sympathizer.

Khadivi, Laleh.  A Good Country.  
The teenaged son of Iranian parents grows up in an affluent town in California; after trying unsuccessfully to assimilate, he  meets a religious girl who leads him to embrace Islam, and to gradually become radicalized.

Kidd, Jess.  Himself.  
In this unusual murder mystery set in a village in Ireland in the 1970's, a young man with psychic powers returns to his birthplace to discover the truth about his mother’s mysterious disappearance many years earlier.

Ko, Lisa.  The Leavers.
When an unmarried Chinese immigrant living in New York suddenly disappears, Social Services gives her son to a white couple, who change his name. When he grows up, he searches for the truth about his identity and his mother’s whereabouts.

Kunzru, Hari.  White Tears.  
In this complex novel about cultural appropriation, two white men, obsessed with the blues, start a recording studio together, and use technology to forge a recording by an invented old time black musician.

Lodato, Victor.  Edgar & Lucy
A young albino boy, who lives in New Jersey with his alcoholic mother and his grandmother since his father’s suicide, is kidnapped by a mysterious man who becomes his surrogate father while his mother searches for him.

Ludwig, Benjamin.  Ginny Moon.
After an adopted teenaged girl with autism is unexpectedly reconnected with her abusive birth mother and the father she never knew, she becomes obsessed with trying to find a baby doll she hid in a suitcase when she was taken from her first home.

Marais, Bianca.  Hum If You Don’t Know the Words
This novel, set in apartheid-era South Africa, tells the stories of a ten year old white orphan girl and of a Xhosa woman hired to care for her, who has come to Johannesburg to search for her missing daughter.

Miller, Kei.  Augustown
After a Jamaican boy comes home from school with his Rastafarian dreadlocks shaved off by his teacher, his great-aunt, who is raising him, thinks back on the history of their poor neighborhood in Kingston.

Oates, Joyce Carol.  A Book of American Martyrs.
In this novel set in rural Ohio in 1999, a fanatical anti-abortionist murders a crusading doctor outside of the clinic where he performs abortions, leaving the families of the two strong -willed men to deal with the aftermath.

Satyal, Rakesh.  No One Can Pronounce My Name
The lives of three immigrants from India intersect in this novel set in Cleveland: a middle-aged department store employee, the wife of a math professor, and her son, an American-born freshman at Princeton.

Schmidt, Sarah.  See What I Have Done
This psychological thriller retells the story of the 19th century New England ax murderer Lizzie Borden, and explores the strangeness and dysfunction of the whole family.

Segal, Francesca.  The Awkward Age
The romance between a widow and a divorced man threatens to derail when her daughter and his son, both teenagers, at first hate each other, and then become romantically involved with each other.

Shepard, Sam.  The One Inside
This loosely structured novel, set amid the vast landscapes of the American Southwest and narrated by an actor who resembles the author, explores his conflicted relationships with the numerous women in his life.

Shreve, Anita.  The Stars Are Fire.
In this suspenseful novel set in coastal Maine in the dry summer of 1947, the bravery and resilience of a young housewife and mother is tested after a massive fire breaks out in her small town.

Statovci, Pajtim.  My Cat Yugoslavia
A gay man from Kosovo, whose unhappy family moved to Finland to escape the violence of their homeland, lives an isolated life with his pet python, until he meets a talking cat in a bar.

Strout, Elizabeth.  Anything is Possible.
This is a collection of stories connected to the author’s novel My Name is Lucy Barton, featuring family members and friends of Lucy’s who are still living in their small town in Illinois.

Tóibín, Colm.  House of Names
This is a retelling of the Greek myth in which Clytemnestra murders her husband to avenge the death of their daughter, and is in turn murdered by their son.

VanderMeer, Jeff.  Borne.
In this dystopian fantasy novel set in a post-apocalyptic near future, a scavenger finds a mysterious lump among biotech scraps, adopts it, names it, becomes attached to it, and watches it grow and develop into a sentient creature.

Ward, Catriona.  The Girl from Rawblood.
In this gothic horror story, an 11 year old girl who lives with her father on an estate in the bleak landscape of Dartmoor learns of the curse that haunts their family.

Yuknavitch, Lidia.  The Book of Joan.
After the earth is destroyed by war and global climate change, only a few privileged humans survive and live in an orbital habitat ruled by a dictator; one survivor, an artist, tells the story of an eco-terrorist named Joan who, despite having been publicly executed, may still be alive on Earth.