Fiction & Literature

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All Our Worldly Goods
Irene Nemirovsky

All Our Worldly GoodsIn haunting ways, this gorgeous novel prefigures Irene Nemirovsky’s masterpiece “Suite Francaise.” Set in France between 1910 and 1940 and first published in France in 1947, five years after the author’s death, “All Our Worldly Goods “is a gripping story of war, family life and star-crossed lovers. Pierre and Agnes marry for love against the wishes of his parents and his grandfather, the tyrannical family patriarch. Their marriage provokes a family feud that cascades down the generations. This brilliant novel is full of drama, heartbreak, and the telling observations that have made Nemirovsky’s work so beloved and admired.

Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Vintage Books, 2011

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The Marriage Plot
Jeffrey Eugenides

Marriage PlotAre the great love stories of the nineteenth century dead? Or can there be a new story, written for today and alive to the realities of feminism, sexual freedom, prenups, and divorce? With devastating wit and an abiding understanding of and affection for his characters, Jeffrey Eugenides revives the motivating energies of the Novel, while creating a story so contemporary and fresh that it reads like the intimate journal of our own lives.

It’s the early 1980s–the country is in a deep recession, and life after college is harder than ever. Madeleine Hanna, dutiful English major, is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, purveyors of the marriage plot that lies at the heart of the greatest English novels. But real life, in the form of two very different guys, intervenes.

Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux, 2011

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Falling Together
Marisa de los Santos

Falling TogetherWith her trademark wit, vivid prose, and gift for creating authentic, captivating characters, Marisa de los Santos returns with an emotionally resonant novel about our deepest human connections. As Pen and Will struggle to uncover the truth about Cat, they find more than they bargained for: startling truths about who they were before and who they are now. They must confront the reasons their friendship fell apart and discover how–and if–it can ever fall back together.

It’s been six years since Pen Calloway watched her best friends walk out of her life. And through the birth of her daughter, the death of her father, and the vicissitudes of single motherhood, she has never stopped missing them. Pen, Cat, and Will met on their first day of college and formed what seemed like a magical and lifelong bond, only to see their friendship break apart amid the realities of adulthood.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow & Company, 2011

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Started Early, Took My Dog
Kate Atkinson

Started Early, Took My DogTracy Waterhouse leads a quiet, ordered life as a retired police detective-a life that takes a surprising turn when she encounters Kelly Cross, a habitual offender, dragging a young child through town. Both appear miserable and better off without each other-or so decides Tracy, in a snap decision that surprises herself as much as Kelly. Suddenly burdened with a small child, Tracy soon learns her parental inexperience is actually the least of her problems, as much larger ones loom for her and her young charge.

Meanwhile, Jackson Brodie, the beloved detective of novels such as Case Histories, is embarking on a different sort of rescue-that of an abused dog. Dog in tow, Jackson is about to learn, along with Tracy, that no good deed goes unpunished.

Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books, 2011

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The Tiger’s Wife
Tea Obreht

The Tiger's Wife
Weaving a brilliant latticework of family legend, loss, and love, Obreht, the youngest of “The New Yorker’s” 20 best American fiction writers under 40, spins a timeless novel about a young doctor who confronts the inexplicable circumstances surrounding her beloved grandfather’s recent death.

Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Random House, 2011

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Dreams of Joy
Lisa See

Dreams of Joy

Devastated after discovering the shocking truth about her mother and father, Joy (from the “New York Times” bestseller “Shanghai Girls”) flees to China to find a new life (and her real father)–and Pearl, realizing what has happened, sets out for Mao’s China, resolved to find her daughter.

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Random House, 2011

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Maine
J. Courtney Sullivan

Maine Three generations of women converge on the family beach house in this wickedly funny, emotionally resonant story of love and dysfunction from the author of the bestselling debut novel Commencement.

Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: 2011

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Whitethorn Woods
Maeve Binchy

Whitethorn WoodsWhen a new highway threatens to bypass the town of Rossmore and cut through Whitethorn Woods, everyone has a passionate opinion about whether the town will benefit or suffer. But young Father Flynn is most concerned with the fate of St. Ann’s Well, which is set at the edge of the woods and slated for destruction. People have been coming to St. Ann’s for generations to share their dreams and fears, and speak their prayers. Some believe it to be a place of true spiritual power, demanding protection; others think it’s a mere magnet for superstitions, easily sacrificed.

Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Orion, 2007

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The Story of Edgar Sawtelle
David Wroblewski

Edgar SawtelleBorn mute and able to communicate only by sign, the brilliant Edgar Sawtelle leads an idyllic life with his parents Gar and Trudy. For generations, the Sawtelles have raised and trained a breed of dog whose thoughtful companionship is epitomised by Almondine, Edgar’s lifelong companion. But when his beloved father mysteriously dies, Edgar blames himself, if only because his muteness left him unable to summon help. Grief-stricken and bewildered by his mother’s desperate affair with her dead husband’s brother, Edgar’s world unravels one spring night when, in the falling rain, he sees his father’s ghost.

Paperback: 576 pages
Publisher: Fourth Estate, 2008

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Quite a Year for Plums
Bailey White

Quite a Year for PlumsAnyone who has read the best-selling Mama Makes Up Her Mind or listened to Bailey White’s commentaries on NPR knows that she is a storyteller of inimitable wit and charm. Now, in her stunningly accomplished first novel, she introduces us to the peculiar yet lovable people who inhabit a small town in south Georgia. Meet serious, studious Roger, the peanut pathologist and unlikely love object of half the town’s women. Meet Roger’s ex-mother-in-law, Louise, who teams up with an ardent typographer in an attempt to attract outer-space invaders with specific combinations of letters and numbers. And meet Della, the bird artist who captivates Roger with the sensible but enigmatic notes she leaves on things she throws away at the Dumpster.

Paperback: 220 pages
Publisher: Vintage Books, 1999

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Atonement
Ian McEwan

AtonementOn the hottest day of the summer of 1934, thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis sees her sister Cecilia strip off her clothes and plunge into the fountain in the garden of their country house. Watching her is Robbie Turner, her childhood friend who, like Cecilia, has recently come down from Cambridge.

By the end of that day, the lives of all three will have been changed for ever. Robbie and Cecilia will have crossed a boundary they had not even imagined at its start, and will have become victims of the younger girl’s imagination. Briony will have witnessed mysteries, and committed a crime for which she will spend the rest of her life trying to atone.

Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Vintage, 2002

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