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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction, Fall 2022

Great recent titles you may have missed, selected by our librarians.

October - December 2022 Issue


See also:

Armfield, Julia.  Our Wives Under the Sea.
A marine scientist on a three-week submarine expedition disappears with her crew for six months; when she finally returns from the bottom of the ocean, her wife realizes that she has changed into someone or something else. Ebook

Barnes, Julian.  Elizabeth Finch.
A man looks back on a continuing education class he took many years before, remembering the charismatic university lecturer who taught it; he learns more about her and her historical interests after she dies and leaves him her library and papers.

Bayard, Louis.  Jackie & Me.  
In this alternative history, the story of Jack Kennedy's courtship of Jacqueline Bouvier is told through the eyes of Jack's best friend, a gay man who cares deeply for both of them, but knows that Jack can never be faithful to one woman.

Brooks, Geraldine.  Horse.
This is the story of Lexington, a champion horse in the south in the 1850s and his trainer, an enslaved man who was devoted to the horse but wanted his own freedom. One hundred years later, a Nigerian-American art historian and an Australian scientist with the Smithsonian Museum discover the true history of the horse and groom. Ebook, downloadable audiobook

Campbell, Jane.  Cat Brushing: And Other Stories.
This short story collection, from a British author who is herself 80 years old, explores the lives of older women, who were brought up constrained by traditional gender roles but attempt at last to break free of them.

Crosley, Sloane.  Cult Classic.  
A young Manhattan woman engaged to a man she considers to be the perfect match finds herself running into a succession of former boyfriends and discovers that she's the subject of a psychological experiment created by her ex-boss. Ebook

El-Wardany, Salma.  These Impossible Things.  
Three British Muslim women, who have been close friends since childhood, graduate from university and begin their adult lives, only to have their friendship destroyed by a dispute between two of them. Ebook, downloadable audiobook

Fesperman, Dan.  Winter Work.  
After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990, a former colonel in the East German intelligence organization trades information with a CIA agent in an attempt to secure safe passage to the West for himself, his wife, and his lover.

Fofana, Sidik.  Stories from the Tenants Downstairs.
A collection of eight interconnected stories about the African-American residents of a low-income high-rise apartment building in Harlem, which is soon to be gentrified.

Garza, Kimberly.  The Last Karankawas.
This novel describes the lives and relationships of members of the Filipino and Mexican communities of Galveston, Texas, as they try to prepare for the arrival of Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Giddings, Megan.  The Women Could Fly.  
In this dystopian novel set in the near future, an unmarried Black woman, living in a society where women who remain single, especially if they're Black, are suspected of being witches, doesn't believe in witchcraft herself until she finds she can only claim her inheritance by collecting magical apples from a mysterious island.

Gunty, Tess.  The Rabbit Hutch.
This novel with a great many overlapping plots depicts the lives of a group of eccentric people who are residents of a dilapidated affordable housing complex in a small dying town in Indiana.

Hafner, Katie.  The Boys.
After a socially awkward engineer and a research psychologist marry, they live happily together until they decide to foster two eight-year-old Russian boys; shortly after, the pandemic hits, and the foster father becomes obsessive in caring for the children.

Han, Joseph.  Nuclear Family.
This inventive and surreal novel, set in Hawaii in 2018, concerns a Korean-Hawaiian family who run a popular restaurant, have a daughter who is heavily into smoking pot, and a son, teaching in South Korea, who is suddenly possessed by his grandfather's ghost.
Hokeah, Oscar.  Calling for a Blanket Dance.  
An Oklahoma man with Mexican, Cherokee, and Kiowa heritage experiences a life repeatedly marked by violence, poverty, abuse, and alcoholism, but also enriched by the traditions of his family and ancestors. Ebook

Holsinger, Bruce. The Displacements.
In this speculative social commentary, a wealthy white woman who owns a 2 million dollar house in Miami finds herself and her children homeless and penniless in a FEMA megashelter in Oklahoma after Hurricane Luna destroys both Miami and Houston. Ebook

Jennings, Alex.  The Ballad of Perilous Graves.  
In Nola, a magical version of New Orleans where music and magic are interconnected, a failed magician tries to save the city by finding and rescuing the songs of power that have escaped from an enchanted piano.

Krow, Leyna.  Fire Season.  
In Spokane Falls in 1889, when Washington is on the verge of statehood, a devastating fire breaks out in a hotel, and three con artists – a banker, a prostitute, and a phony federal arson inspector – try to take advantage of the situation.

LaCour, Nina.  Yerba Buena.  
Two young women, whose lives have been disrupted by drugs and family dysfunction, meet at a restaurant in Los Angeles named Yerba Buena (the good herb) where they work; though they discover a connection between them, the past keeps coming up for both of them. Ebook, downloadable audiobook

Lozano, Brenda.  Witches.
In this novel from Mexico, an indigenous herbal healer living in an isolated mountain village is interviewed by a woman journalist from Mexico City, who is investigating the murder of the healer's cousin, a third-gendered person who taught her the healing traditions. Ebook

Mathews, Sarah Thankam.  All This Could Be Different.
A young woman, whose immigrant parents have been deported back to India, moves to Milwaukee to take her first job, as a corporate consultant, and finds every aspect of her life challenging.

Newson, Rasheed.  My Government Means to Kill Me.
In this fictional memoir set in the 1980s during the AIDS epidemic, a young gay Black man from Indianapolis moves to New York City, where jobs and housing are scarce, and becomes a political activist. Ebook

Osborne, Lawrence.  On Java Road.
In this thoughtful thriller set in Hong Kong in 2019, amid student anti-government protests and China's violent crackdown, a young activist goes missing, and a British reporter attempts to find her.

Perrotta, Tom.  Tracy Flick Can't Win.
In this sequel to Election, the ambitious main character, now assistant principal in a New Jersey high school, expects to succeed the current principal, who is retiring, but controversies over a proposed school hall of fame prove disastrous for her schemes. Ebook, downloadable audiobook
Pulley, Natasha.  The Half Life of Valery K.  
In this suspense novel, a biochemist, who is serving a sentence in a Siberian labor camp after a wrongful conviction, is taken to a top-secret Soviet nuclear compound and put to work as a researcher. When he uncovers evidence of human radiation experiments, he risks his life to investigate.

Santos Donaldson, David.  Greenland.  
A Black gay British man, now living in New York, whose lifelong dream is to be a writer, has his historical novel rejected repeatedly, until he is given a chance to get it published provided he can rewrite it in three weeks.

Schaitkin, Alexis.  Elsewhere.
This speculative fiction takes place in an isolated fairy tale-like village where mothers often disappear from their families. The main character accepts this situation until a stranger, a person from elsewhere, appears in the village.

Stott, Rebecca.  Dark Earth.
In this fantasy novel set in the abandoned Roman city of Londinium in Britain around the year 500 A.D,  two sisters, whose father taught them to make swords in defiance of tradition, leave their home after his death, and run afoul of their lord's violent son.

Sullivan, Mecca Jamilah.  Big Girl.
This coming-of-age story is about a girl growing up in Harlem in the 1990s who is obsessed with food, and continues to gain weight despite the disapproval of her mother and grandmother. Although she originally believes that happy experiences are only for thin girls, she eventually comes to accept  her size and her true self. Ebook, downloadable audiobook

Talty, Morgan.  Night of the Living Rez: Stories.
These 12 linked short stories, all narrated by the same young man, depict life and death on the Penobscot Indian Nation Reservation of Maine, and the intergenerational traumas that run through families. Ebook

Thompson, Jean.  The Poet’s House.
A young woman with a reading disability finds her life and her horizons changing when she
attends a poetry reading by a famous poet.

Watkins, Latoya.  Perish.  
Four members of a Black Texas family, gathered at the hospital bed of their family's matriarch, relive episodes of horrible abuse they experienced earlier in their lives, some of it at the hands of the dying woman. Ebook

Wolfe, Toya.  Last Summer on State Street.  
A woman looks back to her childhood in the summer of 1999 in Chicago, when the demolition of her family's apartment in a South Side housing project changed her life irrevocably. Ebook, downloadable audiobook

Woods, Caroline.  The Lunar Housewife.
In this historical thriller set in the 1950's, a young woman is hired to write articles for a literary magazine which is funded by the CIA, but her work only appears under a male pseudonym and she struggles to be taken seriously as a writer. Ebook

Yoshimoto, Banana. Dead-End Memories: Stories.
In the five stories in this collection by a popular Japanese author, the women characters go through heartbreaking experiences, but their own resilience and the kindness of others lead them through their misfortunes.