Fiction Recommendations

The Spinning Heart

The spinning heartBy Ryan, Donal, 1977- author.
Primarily a work of psychological fiction, this debut book by Donal Ryan is brief, but it packs a lot of insights into human nature along the way.
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1Q84By Murakami, Haruki, 1949-
This hefty translation was originally 3 books in Murakami’s native Japan. The plot of this quirky story is fascinating, though it takes many fantastical leaps and leaves many things unexplained.... Read more
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Once Upon a River

Once upon a riverBy Campbell, Bonnie Jo, 1962-
Margo Crane is simply an unforgettable character. Quiet, different, extremely sensitive to the natural world, a talented sharpshooter, she grows up alongside the small Michigan river she loves. When she turns 16, a difficult sequence of events leaves her essentially orphaned and alone. Taking her beloved rowboat and trusted rifle, she decides to seek out the mother that abandoned her.... Read more
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HaymakerBy Schuitema, Adam
A 2016 Michigan Notable Book, Haymaker is a short novel about three years in the life of a small Upper Peninsula town, which has been identified by a group of down-state libertarians as the perfect place to establish their model town called Freedom Community. Although many of the hardscrabble local Haymakes have similar views about living life the way they want, they deeply resent this invasion of folks who intend to take over their town.... Read more
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The Buried Giant

The buried giant : a novelBy Ishiguro, Kazuo, 1954-
Ishiguro is the renowned author whose books include The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go. His newest, The Buried Giant takes place in rural Arthurian England just as the Saxons have invaded and there is a fragile peace. An elderly couple, Axl and Beatrice, undertake a journey to visit their son; along the way they meet the warrior Wistan and his young charge Edwin, as well as an ancient Sir Gawain.... Read more
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Child 44

Child 44By Smith, Tom Rob
Child 44 is a grim, violent story of life in Soviet Russia in 1953, where it is understood: “there is no crime in Paradise.” We meet Leo Demidov, a top secret police agent, and his wife, Raisa, a schoolteacher. The lack of investigation into a possible murder case, dismissed as an “accident” by the police, shows how such cases are regularly “solved”: arrest an undesirable citizen and coerce a confession.... Read more
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Another Woman's Daughter

Another woman's daughterBy Sussman, Fiona
This simple yet affecting story takes place in South Africa and London between the years 1959 and 1985. Celia works as a cook and housekeeper for Rita and Michael Steiner, returning nightly to the townships where she lives. The Steiners are a deeply troubled couple, childless after several miscarriages, who become frightened at the growing unrest fomenting around the issue of apartheid.... Read more
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In the Language of Miracles

In the language of miraclesBy Hassib, Rajia
The Al-Menshawys are an Egyptian-American Muslim family living in suburban New Jersey. Samir and Nagla have three children, Hosaam, Khaled and daughter Fatima; joining the household is Nagla’s mother, Eshan. The family is facing the one-year anniversary of a terrible tragedy—troubled eldest son Hosaam killed his... Read more
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The Gap of Time

The gap of time : a novelBy Winterson, Jeanette, 1959-
Hogarth is publishing a new line of books comprised of rewrites of Shakespeare’s plays. Jeanette Winterson tackles “A Winter’s Tale” in her latest novel, The Gap of Time, which, to Winterson’s credit, can be thoroughly enjoyed without having read the play. That said, if you are familiar with “A Winter’s Tale” you will find pleasure in discovering its renamed characters and newly invented plot.... Read more
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Liar's Bench

Liar's benchBy Richardson, Kim Michele
Richardson’s debut novel, Liar’s Bench, takes place in early 1970’s Peckinpaw, Kentucky. Mudas Summer’s 17th birthday is shockingly marred by the discovery of her mother Ella’s body, quickly ruled a suicide. Mudas knows her mother would never kill herself, and is determined to uncover the murderer’s identity.... Read more
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Mrs. Engels

Mrs. EngelsBy McCrea, Gavin, 1978-
Mrs. Engels is an absorbing historical fiction which gives memorable voice and form to all-but-forgotten Lizzie Burns, “Proletarian, Irish rebel, and model Communist” who was the common-law wife of Frederick Engels, co-author of The Communist Manifesto. Lizzie and her sister, Mary, workers at Engels’ Manchester mill, both lived with Engels—Mary as his lover until her death, and Lizzie as their housekeeper.... Read more
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Everything I Never Told You

Everything I never told you : a novelBy Ng, Celeste
Ng’s debut novel is the absorbing story of a multiracial family living in 1970’s Ohio. The parents, Marilyn and James, met in school. Although Marilyn was looking forward to a promising medical career, she gave it up to marry James, who had just finished his PhD. She becomes a homemaker, who projects her missed ambitions on her eldest daughter, Lydia.... Read more
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The Green Road

The Green RoadBy Enright, Anne, 1962-
Renowned Irish author Anne Enright is no stranger to literary fame: her books have won numerous awards, including the Man Booker (for The Gathering) and the Andrew Carnegie Award (for The Forgotten Waltz). Her new book is about the family of widowed Rosaleen Madigan and her four adult children who have gathered for one last holiday in their home, which Rosaleen has decided to sell.... Read more
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The Bishop's Wife

The bishop's wifeBy Harrison, Mette Ivie, 1970-
The bishop’s wife of the title is Linda Wallheim, who strives to be a conscientious helpmate to her husband, the currently serving LDS Bishop of Draper, Utah. She is somewhat strong-minded and independent, with a tendency to get too involved in the members’ problems. Her dogged tenacity and amateur-sleuth skills enmesh her in a local potential kidnap/murder case. A wife has disappeared, leaving a young daughter with her distraught husband.... Read more
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Turner House

The Turner houseBy Flournoy, Angela.
Turner House is the large family home on Detroit’s East Side which holds all the memories of the 13 adult children of Viola and Frances Turner, who bought it in 1951. Frances has died, but very much lives on in numerous flashbacks, and bed-ridden Viola has moved out, so the siblings must decide if they should sell the house, as it is in danger of foreclosure.... Read more
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The Star Side of Bird Hill

The star side of Bird HillBy Jackson, Naomi, author.
It is the summer of 1989 when two sisters (16 year old Dionne, and 10 year old Phaedra), are sent to St. John, Barbados to “visit” their maternal grandmother, Hyacinth. Back in Brooklyn, their mother Avril, newly single, depressed and destitute, sees no other option. Needless to say, these teenage New Yorkers are in for quite a culture shock, especially Dionne, who resents the move and rebels.... Read more
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A Love Like Blood

A love like bloodBy Sedgwick, Marcus author.
Sedgwick’s adult debut is billed as a macabre psychological thriller. We first encounter medic Charles Jackson in Paris, witnessing what appears to be a man drinking blood from a young woman’s chest in a murky underpass. Rather than go to her assistance, he flees, a decision that will forever haunt him.... Read more
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Under the Wide and Starry Sky

Under the wide and starry sky : a novelBy Horan, Nancy
Under the Wide and Starry Sky is a fictionalized account of the real life love story between Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson and an American woman named Fanny Osbourne during the late 1800s. The two are first introduced to each other at an artists’ colony in France, where Fanny and her children have gone to escape her unfaithful husband and start a new life.... Read more
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In the Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely EventBy Blume, Judy
Once again Judy Blume proves she is unforgettable, an author for all ages and times. Her latest work, which was many years in the making, is an adult novel based on a succession of plane crashes that happened during her own teenage years. In 1951, WWII is still a fresh memory, the situation in Korea is a current threat, but air travel is something new and exciting for everyone.... Read more
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Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Can't we talk about something more pleasant?By Chast, Roz
New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast was the sole caregiver for her +90 year-old parents: in their own apartment, into assisted living and eventually to hospice.  Not finding much in the way of “how-to” material, she did the best she could and decided to write a graphic memoir about her experiences.  It’s not all sad and gloomy—there are definitely some funny episodes as well as high drams and just muddling through.... Read more
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Delicious Foods : A Novel

Delicious foods : a novelBy Hannaham, James
Hannaham’s book is the engrossing story of a Southern family’s disintegration after the death of husband and father, Nat Hardison.... Read more
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My Sunshine Away

My sunshine awayBy Walsh, M. O. (Milton O'Neal).
Author M. O. Walsh immerses us in the heat, the beauty and the underlying unease of his native Louisiana in this Southern gothic style tale of the folks on Piney Grove Avenue in Baton Rouge, in particular the life of one young man and his adolescent obsession with the girl across the street.... Read more
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The Book of Speculation

The book of speculation : a novelBy Swyler, Erika.
Simon’s parents have both died, and he lives alone in their beach-front home, which is in disrepair and about to slide into the sea. One day, he receives unsolicited a rare old book from an antiquarian seller. It turns out to be the log book of a traveling carnival from the 1700s, and he recognizes some names from his family’s past.... Read more
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The Small Backs of Children

The small backs of children : a novelBy Yuknavitch, Lidia
This harrowing story grips the reader and never lets go. A wartime photograph of a young girl propelled toward the lens ahead of an explosion subsequently is lauded and receives world-wide acclaim for the winning photographer. She, however, withdraws from the picture, as it has overwhelmed her senses and devastated her life.... Read more
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The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage