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Fiction A to Z December 2013
"Ring the bells that still can ring / Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything, / That's how the light gets in."
~ from Leonard Cohen's Anthem
New and Recently Released!
A Permanent Member of the Family - by Russell Banks
Publisher: HarperCollins
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/12/2013
Share A Permanent Member of the Family ISBN-13: 9780061857652
ISBN-10: 0061857653
It's been over a decade since author Russell Banks has released a collection of short stories, and while some of the tales in this new collection have been published elsewhere, six are seeing the light of day for the first time. Known for incisive yet compassionate portraits of contemporary American life, Banks continues to mine both the struggle for the American dream and the bonds we all form -- whether with family members or strangers -- for his traditional, character-driven narratives. These stories might not have happy endings, but they are "honest, probing and moving" (Kirkus Reviews).
Want Not - by Jonathan Miles
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/05/2013
Share Want Not ISBN-13: 9780547352206
ISBN-10: 0547352204
Jonathan Miles' debut, Dear American Airlines, took the form of a scathing, touching, and funny letter to the airline, demanding a refund. He continues to have fun with the structure of the novel with Want Not, in which linked stories relate the tales of a large cast of characters. Connected by themes of trash, refuse, and other unwanted items, these characters -- freegans, linguists, octogenarian historians, remarried widows -- have enough going on for several novels. Readers interested in hefty plots and detailed characters will enjoy this literary, witty, mostly-Manhattan-set novel.
Death of the Black-Haired Girl - by Robert Stone
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/12/2013
Share Death of the Black-Haired Girl ISBN-13: 9780618386239
ISBN-10: 0618386238
Maud Stack is a beautiful, intelligent, raven-haired college student who has provoked ire on campus with an article about anti-abortion protesters; she's also a heavy drinker involved in an affair with a married professor that is sure to end badly. When she's killed by a hit-and-run driver, it's not immediately clear how accidental her death really was. There are plenty of potential suspects (with the professor in the lead), and while the mystery of Maud's death is not the focal point of the novel, it adds tension to a story in which actions taken -- by Maud, the professor, and others -- lead to complicated and unsettling consequences.
Lies You Wanted to Hear: A Novel - by James Whitfield Thomson
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 11/05/2013
Share Lies You Wanted to Hear%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9781402284281
ISBN-10: 1402284284
Reliable, rule-following Matt (a police officer), and self-absorbed, free spirit Lucy (a trust fund baby) met on a blind date, married, and had two children before things fell apart. Stricken with post-partum depression and resentful of Matt's easy rapport with their kids, Lucy fell into an extramarital relationship and asked for a divorce. And that's when Matt took the kids, changed their identities, and moved away. In this portrayal of a marriage gone sour and the acrimonious divorce that followed, readers' sympathies will move between the two troubled main characters; their story is likely to appeal to fans of Amity Gaige's Schroder.
Focus on: Perfection. Or Not.
Perfect Family - by Pam Lewis
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 04/21/2009
Share Perfect Family ISBN-13: 9780743291460
ISBN-10: 0743291468
Since matriarch Olivia's death, the wealthy, WASPy Carterets are a family of five: father Jasper, eldest son William, and grown daughters Tinker, Mira, and Pony. Near the beginning of the book, 24-year-old Pony drowns, leaving behind her fatherless baby and a host of questions. Though her death is ruled an accident, Pony had been a strong swimmer, and so when William learns that a neighbor had seen a man visiting Pony that same day, he is suspicious. His investigation opens a Pandora's box of family secrets. With well-drawn characters, a suspenseful hook, and the promise of unearthing hidden truths, Perfect Family is a compelling tale of one wealthy family's dysfunctions.
How to Bake a Perfect Life: A Novel - by Barbara O'Neal
Publisher: Bantam Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 12/21/2010
Share How to Bake a Perfect Life%3a A Novel ISBN-13: 9780553386776
ISBN-10: 0553386778
Bakery owner Ramona Gallagher is leading a much quieter life since cutting ties with her restaurant-owning family and divorcing her husband. She's now living with her pregnant daughter Sofia, though Sofia has just left for Germany, where her military husband is recovering from an injury. In addition to fearing for her daughter, Ramona now finds herself caring for her unruly, unhappy step-granddaughter, who's been raised by a drug-addicted mother. With well-crafted characters, sensuous descriptions of baking and bread-making, and an emphasis on the often-prickly relationships between mothers and daughters, this tale will appeal to fans of stories of women's lives and relationships.
Perfect Reader - by Maggie Pouncey
Publisher: Pantheon Books
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 06/15/2010
Share Perfect Reader ISBN-13: 9780307378743
ISBN-10: 0307378748
Flora Dempsey's father, president emeritus of a small liberal arts college in New England, has just died, leaving her his house and his dog and appointing her his literary executor. Thrown by the decisions she must make, the testy, lonely, unhappy Flora is even more taken aback by the discovery that his unpublished writings are love poems written to a girlfriend she had no idea existed. Her grieving process, during which she revisits her childhood, her parents' divorce, and a childhood accident, must also include a decision about the poems -- are they to be published, as the girlfriend, Cynthia, wants, or are they to remain private? Descriptive and contemplative, this debut will likely appeal most to fans of literary fiction set in an academic environment.
The Perfect Marriage - by Kimberla Lawson Roby
Publisher: Grand Central
Check Library Catalog Pub Date: 01/08/2013
Share The Perfect Marriage ISBN-13: 9780446572507
ISBN-10: 0446572500
From the outside, Denise and Derrek look like the perfect couple. They've got successful careers, a nice house, a strong marriage, and a lovely teenage daughter. But they've also got a serious problem with drugs. Derrek wants to quit; Denise doesn't think their use of cocaine and prescription drugs is dangerous. But increasing dependence, a crisis, and their unwillingness to face the facts means that they could lose everything that's important to them. With plenty of drama and a fascinating look at how addicts keep up appearances, The Perfect Marriage is a quick, enjoyable read.
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