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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction

October - December 2013 Issue


See also:

al-Shaykh, Hanan. One Thousand and One Nights: A Retelling.
This is a new collection of 19 of the traditional One Thousand and One Nights stories, many of them violent and erotic, retold by a Lebanese novelist.

Brkic, Courtney Angela. The First Rule of Swimming.
A schoolteacher leaves her home on a remote Croatian island to search for her sister, who has disappeared on a trip to New York City, and uncovers some ugly secrets about their family.

Bulawayo, NoViolet. We Need New Names.
A ten-year-old Zimbabwean girl who has grown up on the streets of a shantytown is given the opportunity to move to Michigan with her aunt, and tries to get used to her new life in a wealthy consumer society.

Choi, Susan. My Education.
A graduate student who is attracted to her professor instead becomes romantically involved with the professor's wife after meeting her at a drunken dinner party.

DiSclafani, Anton. Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls.
A Florida girl is sent to an elite girls’ boarding school in North Carolina after an incident which upset her parents, and tries to adjust to her exile.

Fagan, Jenni. The Panopticon.
A Scottish teenager with a history of violence and drug use is sent to a youth home housed in a former prison, where she bonds with the other residents, and tries to survive, while convinced that a sinister force is against her.

Fowler, Karen Joy. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves.
The narrator of this novel tells the story of how her adopted sister suddenly disappeared from their family when she was five years old, leaving her mother sunk in depression, her father a bitter alcoholic, and her brother angry and rebellious.

Freeman, Ru. On Sal Mal Lane.
In this novel set on a street on the outskirts of Colombo, Sri Lanka in the 1980's, a family's four children grow up with neighbors of other religions and ethnicities, but the country’s heated political situation leads to tragedy.

Gaiman, Neil. The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
The main character in this fantasy novel returns to his childhood home in rural England to try to remember a series of events that almost destroyed him and his family when he was a child.

Greer, Andrew Sean. The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.
In this novel that begins in 1985, a woman who is devastated by her brother's death and the end of her marriage, undergoes electroconvulsive therapy, which causes her to travel through time to 1918 and to 1941.

Grunberg, Amon. Tirza.
An unhappy middle-aged man is laid off from his job, regains his estranged wife who he does not want, and loses his daughter, who has gone with her boyfriend to Namibia, and has stopped communicating with him.

Hacker, Christopher. The Morels.
After a writer publishes a novel which is a slightly fictionalized depiction of the relationships between himself, his wife, and son, and includes a final scene depicting himself engaging in a sex act with his son, he is met with public outcry and charges of abuse. But a film-maker who believes in his innocence makes a documentary to try to uncover the facts.

Haigh, Jennifer. News from Heaven: The Bakerton Stories.
These connected short stories, set among the Catholic immigrants in the coal-mining town of Bakerton, PA, span the 1940s to the present, and feature characters whose lives have not turned out the way they had imagined.

Lee, Rebecca. Bobcat and Other Stories.
Each of these short stories is told in the first person by a different narrator. Most take place on college campus, and feature infidelity and unrequited love.

Leskov, Nikolai. The Enchanted Wanderer and Other Stories.
This is a new translation of a group of entertaining short stories by a 19th Century Russian author who deserves to be better known.

McCann, Colum. Transatlantic.
A young Irish servant, inspired by a visit to Ireland by Frederick Douglass in 1845, goes to seek her fortune in America. The novel tells her story and the stories of her descendants, against the backdrop of historical events on both sides of the Atlantic.

Meyer, Philipp. The Son.
In this family saga, a child born in the Republic of Texas, and kidnapped as a teenager by Comanches, goes on to found a cattle empire and become a wealthy and powerful man, but his actions haunt every succeeding generation of his family.

Nova, Craig. All the Dead Yale Men.
In this sequel, a Boston prosecutor, whose recently deceased father had inherited and squandered a fortune, tries to make sense of the financial mess and emotional turmoil left to him.

Percy, Benjamin. Red Moon.
This complex literary thriller and horror story depicts a world where lycanthropy is caused by an infection, and the planet is torn by the struggle between werewolves seeking their rights as humans, and the uninfected who fear them.

Slouka, Mark. Brewster.
This novel, set in the small blue-collar town of Brewer, New York, in the late 1960's, is a coming of age story about the friendship between two lonely teenaged boys and their attempts to leave their dead-end town behind.

Thompson, Jean. The Humanity Project.
A group of people with terrible problems in their lives become connected with a charity called the Humanity Project, whose founder wonders if it's possible to pay people to be good.

Walls, Jeannette. The Silver Star.
Two teenaged sisters, after being abandoned by their unstable mother, travel to the small town in Virginia which had been their mother's home and are taken in by their reclusive uncle.

White, Patrick. The Hanging Garden.
This is an unfinished novel by a Nobel Prize-winning Australian author, about two adolescent refugees sent to Australia after the outbreak of world war II.

Zambrano, Mario Alberto. Loteria.
An eleven year old Mexican-American girl tells the story of the dissolution of her family by means of a set of 54 pictures from the Mexican bingo game, Loteria.