Back to top

Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction, Fall 2017

A list of great fiction reads not on the New York Times Best Sellers list from Fall 2017

October - December 2017 Issue


See also:

Aslam, Nadeem.  The Golden Legend.
In a community in Pakistan where Muslims and Christians are neighbors, a Muslim man is accidentally killed by an American, and the government threatens to reveal an important secret his widow has been carrying unless she forgives the murderer.

Constantine, Liv.  The Last Mrs. Parrish.
In this suspenseful novel full of surprising plot twists, a con artist targets a wealthy young couple in New York, intending to become the man’s next wife.

Craig, Charmaine.  Miss Burma.
This novel portrays 50 years of Burmese political history through the story of a woman of the Karen minority ethnic group, and her Jewish husband, who live together through World War II, and then Burma’s long civil war.

Culliton, Emily. The Misfortune of Marion Palm.
In this dark comedy, a woman from a working class background embezzles a large sum of money from a private school in New York, and then goes on the lam when she fears the school is on to her.

Egan, Jennifer. Manhattan Beach.
This book begins in 1934, when a girl accompanies her father to the home of a gangster, where he begs for a job. A few years later, after her father has vanished mysteriously, she gets a job as a diver at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, and meets the gangster again.

Ginder, Grant. The People We Hate at the Wedding.
In this comedy-drama, two cynical siblings reflect on their troubled family’s history as they and their mother travel to the southwest of England to attend the extravagant wedding of their half-sister.

Greer, Andrew Sean.  Less.
In this comedy, a lonely and unhappy gay man, who is about to turn 50, travels around the world to avoid attending the wedding of his former long-term boyfriend.

Hadley, Tessa.  Bad Dreams and Other Stories.
This is a collection of ten short stories which show their characters at subtle turning points in their lives, and highlight the drama underneath ordinary daily existence.

Harrison, Jamie.  The Widow Nash.
In 1904, a young woman is summoned to Seattle by her former fiancé to attend her father on his deathbed, and to try to find out what he did with a large sum of money from his sale of his African gold mines.

Hartsuyker, Linnea.  The Half-Drowned King.
In this complex adventure novel set in Norway in the ninth century, a young warrior, who has been betrayed by his stepfather, pledges his sword to King Harald Fairhair in his attempt to regain his heritage.

Khong, Rachel.  Goodbye, Vitamin.
In this novel written in diary form, a 30-year-old woman, whose father has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, leaves her job in San Francisco and moves back in with her parents in Los Angeles.

Klam, Matthew.  Who Is Rich?
A self-centered cartoonist and illustrator whose career and life are in decline leads a workshop at an artist’s conference in Cape Cod, and begins an affair with a wealthy student.

Krauss, Nicole.  Forest Dark.
In this philosophical novel, an American millionaire and a young American novelist both come to Israel to escape their pasts and, with help from strangers, remake themselves.

Mabanckou, Alain.  Black Moses.
This coming of age novel, set in the Republic of the Congo in the 1970s - 90s, follows an orphan with a long name as he escapes from an orphanage, lives on the streets of a big city, and finds a home in a brothel.

Mathews, Brendan.  The World of Tomorrow.
A pair of Irish brothers with IRA connections come to New York in 1939, to find their oldest brother, a jazz musician, but discover that crossing an ocean does not let them escape their past.

Maum, Courtney.  Touch.
In this satire, a trend forecaster, who has been hired as a consultant by a tech company that focuses on human-machine integration technology, moves from Paris to New York, where her estranged family lives.

McBride, James.  Five-Carat Soul.
This is a collection of imaginative and thought-provoking short stories, with a wide variety of characters and settings, but all focusing on racial issues.

McCormack, Mike.  Solar Bones.
In this philosophical and poetic Irish novel which consists of a single sentence, an engineer stands in his family home in a small town in County Mayo on All Souls’ Day, and looks back on his life.

McDermott, Alice.  The Ninth Hour.
In this novel set in Brooklyn in the early twentieth century, a young Irish woman whose husband has committed suicide is taken in by the nuns of a local convent, who give her a job and help her raise her daughter.

Melamed, Jennie.  Gather the Daughters.
Four young women who live in a strict religious community on an isolated island become curious about the outside world which is forbidden to them, and band together to resist their indoctrination.

Murakami, Haruki.  Men Without Women: Stories.
This is a collection of short stories which portray the lives of seven middle-aged men, each in love with a mysterious woman.

Ng, Celeste.  Little Fires Everywhere.
When a nonconformist artist and her teenaged daughter rent a house in a seemingly perfect Ohio suburb for the summer, their lives become entangled with the lives of their affluent landlords and their four high-school aged children, with disastrous consequences.

Osborne, Lawrence.  Beautiful Animals.
A wealthy and charismatic young woman and her suggestible friend try to help a man they think is a Syrian refugee by staging a robbery at her parents’ island villa.

Rieger, Susan.  The Heirs.
After a wealthy Manhattan man dies, his widow and five sons, already grieving his loss, are thrown into turmoil by another woman’s claim that she was the man’s mistress and her two children are entitled to part of his estate.

Rooney, Sally.  Conversations with Friends.
This novel traces the complex relationships among two women artists, a writer who wants to do a profile of them, and the writer’s husband, an actor.

Rothmann, Ralf.  To Die in Spring.
In this novel from Germany, a teenaged farm worker is forced to volunteer for the Army towards the end of World War II; years later, after his death in old age, his son tries to piece together his father’s horrifying wartime experiences.

Roy, Arundhati.  The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
A transgender person leaves her traditional Muslim family in Delhi, India, to live with others like her, and eventually creates a home for misfits in a graveyard, where her life converges with that of a wealthy woman in love with a Kashmiri rebel.

Sullivan, J. Courtney.  Saints for All Occasions.
This is the story of an Irish-American family, and the secret that has kept two sisters estranged for 50 years, finally revealed after a drunken-driving death.

Ward, Jesmyn.  Sing, Unburied, Sing.
In this novel that portrays the poverty, racism, and violence of the rural south, a Gulf Coast Mississippi woman takes her children, who are being raised by their grandparents, on a road trip north to bring her husband home from the state penitentiary.

Yoon, Paul.  The Mountain.
This is a collection of six minimalist short stories about lonely people who long for meaning and connection in their lives.