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Fiction A to Z February 2014
"But for the most part the summer folks followed a seasonal pattern. Like migratory birds, they flocked in, one generation following the other."
~ from Alice Greenway's The Bird Skinner
New and Recently Released!
Mercy Snow: A Novel - by Tiffany Baker
Publisher: Grand Central
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/14/2014
Share Mercy Snow%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781455512737
ISBN-10: 1455512737
In Titan Falls, New Hampshire, the McAllister family's paper mill is the only thing saving the town from complete financial ruin. Nearly destitute already is the Snow family -- three siblings who barely have enough to eat, but who have returned to Titan Falls to reclaim family land. When a bus accident kills a student and injures several more, Zeke Snow stands accused of causing the accident. His sister is determined to prove his innocence, but her path is blocked by the McAllister matriarch, June, who's terrified of certain secrets coming to light. With a hint of ghostliness against a backdrop of hardscrabble rural America, this third novel from author Tiffany Baker (best known for The Little Giant of Aberdeen County) is both lush and eerie.
What I Had Before I Had You: A Novel - by Sarah Cornwell
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/07/2014
Share What I Had Before I Had You%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780062237842
ISBN-10: 0062237845
Recently divorced, Olivia Reed is visiting the Jersey Shore town of Ocean Vista for the first time since fleeing it (and her mother) 20 years before. With her are her angst-filled teenage daughter and her bipolar nine-year old son, Daniel, who disappears from the boardwalk during an outing. Scenes from Olivia's panicked search for Daniel are interspersed with thoughtful and emotional memories of her adolescence -- especially of her beautiful if erratic mother, who made her living as a psychic; appearances by two girls who could have been her sisters; and the dangerous friendships Olivia made as a rebellious teen. A lyrical coming-of-age story, What I Had Before I Had You is haunted by madness, mystery, and (possibly) the ghosts of stillborn twins.
The Bird Skinner - by Alice Greenway
Publisher: PGW
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/07/2014
Share The Bird Skinner ISBN-13: 9780802121042
ISBN-10: 0802121047
Bitter, isolated Jim Kennoway used to be known for his work in the field of ornithology, but the death of his wife and the recent loss of his leg have changed him. He's retreated to a tiny island off the coast of Maine, where he's probably going to drink himself to death. But the unexpected arrival of the daughter of a friend from his days in the service during World War II changes his plans -- and perhaps his future. Set for the most part in the 1970s, The Bird Skinner visits several different islands and their birdlife, from Cumberland Island, Georgia, in 1917 to the Pacific Islands during the war; these settings are captured in author Alice Greenway's meticulously chosen words as well as in drawings throughout the book.
On Such a Full Sea - by Chang-rae Lee
Publisher: Penguin Group USA
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/07/2014
Share On Such a Full Sea ISBN-13: 9781594486104
ISBN-10: 1594486107
What sets this post-apocalyptic tale apart from a multitude of others? Plenty -- including a narrator who is actually the collective voice of the citizens of B-Mor, all of whom are Asian American. B-Mor (previously Baltimore) is peopled only by serfs, who work to provide food and other goods for rich "Charter" villages. But in addition to themes of class division and assimilation, On Such a Full Sea is also a love story, the tale of a young diver named Fan who risks entering the lawless, dangerous "counties" outside B-Mor's walls to find her missing boyfriend. With "graceful, observant writing" and an imagination "at once gruesome and persuasive" (Kirkus Reviews) on display, author Chang-Rae Lee's latest is "electrifying" (Booklist).
Focus on: India
Last Man In Tower - by Aravind Adiga
Publisher: Random House
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 08/07/2012
Share Last Man In Tower ISBN-13: 9780307739834
ISBN-10: 030773983X
The Vishram Society was the first of its kind in its part of Mumbai -- a cooperative apartment building that ushered in, many years later, several more middle-class housing options in an otherwise iffy part of the city. But now it is under threat by a developer, who wishes to tear down the historic building to make way for luxurious condos, and the sense of community built by the Society's residents is torn apart by the vast sum the developer has offered each resident. There is one holdout, a retired teacher, but each of the residents is fully realized, their struggles and very natures revealed in luxurious, detailed prose by Man Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga.
Secret Daughter - by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
Publisher: William Morrow
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 03/09/2010
Share Secret Daughter ISBN-13: 9780061922312
ISBN-10: 0061922315
Knowing that the fate of her second daughter would surely be the same as her first -- death, in an Indian village in 1984 that only values boys -- Kavita sends her newborn to a Mumbai orphanage, where she is adopted by two American doctors. Scenes from Asha's privileged but isolated life in America alternate with Kavita's, in her village and later in a Mumbai slum, and both are shared with compassion and insight. Motherhood is of course a key theme, and may come full circle with Asha's visit to India as a college student.
The Girl in the Garden - by Kamala Nair
Publisher: Grand Central
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 06/12/2012
Share The Girl in the Garden ISBN-13: 9780446572699
ISBN-10: 0446572691
Rakhee Singh is about to get married when she feels compelled to leave Minnesota for India, where memories of a summer spent there as a child are inextricably linked to her understanding of love and marriage. Back then, she'd been warned by her mother's family against exploring in the jungle near their home, but the promise of a secret garden drew her. Friendships, family secrets, and the nature of fidelity all wind together in a story that was, in part, inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden.
The World We Found: A Novel - by Thrity N. Umrigar
Publisher: Harper
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/03/2012
Share The World We Found%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780061938344
ISBN-10: 0061938343
In the late 1970s, Laleh, Kavita, Nishta, and Armaiti were best friends and schoolmates in Bombay. Though once idealistic young revolutionaries, over the years the women have entered different lives. But when one is given a terminal diagnosis, her last wish is that the four reunite before her death. Their struggle to reconnect is impeded by several obstacles, including Nishta's Muslim fundamentalist husband and the choices each has made. A character-driven story of politics and religion in India, The World We Found describes a divided India peopled by fully dimensional characters.
The Marriage Bureau for Rich People - by Farahad Zama
Publisher: Berkley Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 06/01/2010
Share The Marriage Bureau for Rich People ISBN-13: 9780425234242
ISBN-10: 042523424X
Bored of retirement, Mr. Ali opens up a matchmaking service for the well-to-do of Vizag, a town in southern India. Successful beyond his expectations, he is soon required to hire an assistant, Aruna, whose high-caste family has fallen on hard times. With no dowry, Aruna has little hope of finding a match herself, but an attractive walk-in suggests that sometimes fate has surprising things in store -- even for those busy negotiating the love lives of others. With shades of Jane Austen, this debut touches on modern-day India's class inequalities and colorfully depicts the ins and outs of successful matchmaking.
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