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Beyond Bestsellers - Fiction, Spring 2018

April - June 2018 Issue


See also:

Alarcón, Daniel.  The King Is Always Above the People
This collection of 10 short stories covers subjects that include love, forgiveness, redemption, and family secrets.

Aliu, Xhenet.  Brass
A young woman in a gritty industrial city in Connecticut meets a married man she hopes will rescue her from poverty, but he abandons her after she gets pregnant; 17 years later, her daughter, looking for answers about her past, goes looking for him.

Babst, C. Morgan.  The Floating World
This novel describes the experiences of five members of a mixed-race New Orleans family during Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Ball, Jesse.  Census
In this imaginative story, a widowed doctor, who has recently learned he has a fatal heart condition, takes his disabled adult son with him as he travels across the country as a census taker for an obscure governmental agency.

Benjamin, Chloe.  The Immortalists
Four teenaged siblings visit a fortune-teller who is reputed to be able to predict the date of a person’s death; this novel tells the story of the next five decades of their lives.

Darznik, Jasmin.  Song of a Captive Bird
This is a fictionalized biography of an Iranian poet, film director, and pioneering feminist, which includes many passages of her poetry.

Emezi, Akwaeke.  Freshwater
In this novel that depicts mental illness in cosmological terms, a young Nigerian woman grows up with a group of gods who inhabit her body and mind; they torment her in childhood, but when she comes to America to go to college, they take over her life.

Evison, Jonathan.  Lawn Boy.  
A young working-class Latino man, who has just been fired from the latest in a series of menial landscaping jobs, sets out to find success and his true self.

Haig, Matt.  How to Stop Time
The main character in this novel has an unusual medical condition that makes him age very slowly. At the age of 271, but looking as if he is only 40, he sets out on a quest to find the daughter he had when he was young, who he has learned has the same condition.

Halliday, Lisa.  Asymmetry.  
This novel is made up of two seemingly unrelated stories – one about a young woman who has a relationship to a much older famous writer – and the other about an Iraqi-American economist who is detained at Heathrow Airport in Britain while travelling to visit his brother in Kurdistan.

Hollinghurst, Alan.  The Sparsholt Affair
In the 1940’s, on the verge of World War II, two young male Oxford students have a brief affair, with lingering repercussions; subsequently, the story centers on the son of one of the students, who comes of age and comes to terms with his own homosexuality in the 1970’s.

Horn, Dara.  Eternal Life
A Jewish woman living in ancient Jerusalem sacrifices her own death in order to save the life of her son. Subsequently, as an immortal, she marries and has children over and over, living, at the age of 2000, as a successful New York businesswoman.

Hughes-Hallett, Lucy.  Peculiar Ground.  
This epic historical novel, spanning three centuries, tells the story of a lavish English country estate called Wynchwood.

Iweala, Uzodinma.  Speak No Evil.  
An ambitious Nigerian-American teenager, already trying to cope with being one of the few blacks at his prestigious high school, encounters another identity issue when he realizes that he is gay, and finds that his traditional, Christian parents are horrified.

Johnson, Denis.  The Largesse of the Sea Maiden: Stories
This is the late author’s final collection of short stories, which depict a number of hard-luck characters struggling to make sense out of their lives and death.

Lazarin, Danielle.  Back Talk.  
This is a collection of short stories about women and girls who are trying to understand their lives and their relationships to others.

Lippman, Laura.  Sunburn.  
This suspenseful tribute to the noir fiction of James M. Cain revolves around a man and woman who meet accidentally and plunge into a torrid affair, while both keeping significant secrets from each other.

Lyon, Rachel.  Self-Portrait with Boy
A young photographer taking a self-portrait accidentally captures an image of her neighbor’s young son falling to his death; the tragedy brings her and the parents closer together, until she decides to display the photograph.

Macy, Caitlin.  Mrs
A woman with a shadowy past marries a wealthy New York City banker, but her past catches up with her when a friend from her childhood uncovers an explosive secret and her friend’s husband, an Assistant District Attorney, investigates.

Ólafsdóttir, Audur Ava.  Hotel Silence
An Icelandic man planning suicide travels to an unnamed country where a destructive  war has just ended; but when the owners of his hotel discover that he is good at fixing things, he soon becomes busy and happy working as a handyman.

Oloomi, Azareen Van der Vliet.  Call Me Zebra
In this unusual novel, a young woman, whose family escaped from Iran during the 1980’s and ended up in New York City, travels to Barcelona in her search for her true identity and the meaning of life.

Pierce, Thomas.  The Afterlives.  
After a man dies from a heart attack, but is revived, and has an experimental defibrillator implanted to keep his heart beating, he begins to notice strange paranormal phenomena.

Powers, Richard.  The Overstory.  
Nine people from around the world, who each have a special relationship with trees, come together to try to save a virgin forest from being cut down.

Rachman, Tom.  The Italian Teacher
A man whose attempts to impress his father, a famous and self-centered artist, have all failed, ends up working as a language teacher in London. But in middle age, he finally comes into his own.

Rao, Shobha.  Girls Burn Brighter.  
Two poor, ambitious girls meet in an Indian village and become close friends.  After a cruel act separates them, one travels across India and eventually comes to the United States in search of the other.

Tamirat, Nafkote.  The Parking Lot Attendant
A teenaged Ethiopian-American girl from Boston moves to a tropical island to live with her father in a commune, and meets a charismatic and mysterious older man.

Urrea, Luis Alberto.  The House of Broken Angels
A man whose mother has just died, and who has just been diagnosed himself with cancer, celebrates his last birthday in San Diego with his large family.

Vlautin, Willy.  Don’t Skip Out on Me
A young Nevada man, half Irish, half Paiute Indian, leaves his guardian’s ranch, where he has been a sheepherder, to move to Tucson to train as a boxer.

Winnette, Colin.  The Job of the Wasp
In this gothic thriller, a boy whose parents have just died is sent to a state-run orphanage, a creepy, haunted place where dead bodies soon begin to appear.

Zumas, Leni.  Red Clocks.  
This imaginative dystopian novel tells the stories of four women in a small town in Oregon, after the United States has passed a Personhood amendment, which makes abortion illegal.