general fiction

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Cain by Jose Saramago

This posthumously published short novel was the last book written by Nobel Laureate Jose Saramago.  After Cain kills his brother Abel, he is forced to wander forever, through space and time, through the Old Testament.  Along the way, Cain runs into characters and situations that we are all familiar with:  Noah, Abraham, Sodom and Gomorrah, and the Tower of Babel.   Saramago’s powerful retelling of Bible stories is not short on satire and contains the author’s usual charm. 

Emily Hudson by Melissa Jones

Emily Hudson, a penniless orphan who lost her family to consumption and fever, is forced to accept the grudging hospitality of her aunt and uncle.  Emily does not fit into the dour straitlaced Cornford household where the least show of enthusiasm is deemed inappropriate.  Her cousin William, a novelist,  takes an interest in her watching every emotion and reaction as if thinking about how he would write the scene in a novel, even going so far as to interfere in events to create situations to observe.   Ultimately the novel is about how Emily learns to stand up for

Daytripper by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Bá

This masterfully drawn and written Brazilian graphic novel chronicles the life of Brás, an obituary writer and son of a famous author. The story jumps around throughout Brás’ life, but every chapter ends the same way: Brás dies. More beautiful than morbid, the novel shows the reader all the possibilities life has to offer and how, in a moment, those possibilities can vanish. The sparse words and powerful images—wonderful enough to be framed on a wall—draw you in to the heartaches, the joys, the relationships, and the truly great moments of Brás’ life.

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

This award-winning novel follows a middle-aged man as he is forced to contend with people and a past that he hasn’t thought of in many years.  We follow Tony Webster as a school boy, philosophizing with his chums and as he grows through a happy, then failed marriage.  This short novel is packed with mystery and emotion.  Check Our Catalog



Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch

In this Dickensian tale Jaffy, a fearless street urchin, is almost eaten by a Bengal tiger. Saved by the titular Jamrach, a jovial dealer in exotic animals who, impressed by his fearlessnes, hires him as a trainer, Jaffy meets slick talking Tim, another Jamrach protege, and his twin sister Ishbel. Tim and Jaffy become best friends. Which does not mean that their relationship is uncomplicated. The fact that Jaffy's heart is captured by Ishbel makes that a given.

The Sojourn by Andrew Krivak

Local author Andrew Krivak tells the story Jozef Vinich, who begins life in a bleak 19th century Colorado mining town, only to end up fighting for the Kaiser in World War One.  Krivak’s debut novel offers the story of a man returning to the roots of his ancestors, finding new family along the way, only to have the horrors of war disrupt all that he had come to take for granted.  Krivak packs a lot of emotion into the rather small book. 

We the Animals by Justin Torres

What is it like growing up the youngest of three brothers of a mixed race family in upstate New York?  At times it seems that it can be pretty dangerous.  Torres offers a short, quick stories that follow our narrator as he grows up in a family that teaches him to love, to fight and to survive.  Check Our Catalog

Barney's Version by Mordecai Richler

Nothing is sacred to Barney Panofsky in this rambling, hilarious and ultimately sad fictional "memoir." Barney spares no one, including himself, in his version of events, from his years as a Canadian expat in Paris in the 50s, through his three wives and his career as a trash TV producer, to his involvement in the disappearance--or was it murder?--of his best friend, Boogie. You will laugh out loud from the beginning almost to the end, when the nature of Barney's own end becomes clear.

A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

An absorbing and thought-provoking read, this novel explores a web of characters whose lives cross paths over the course of four decades, ending about 10 years from now. The two central characters are Bennie, a rock music promoter, and Sasha, his young assistant, but the story is told from multiple points of view and explores the lifelong echoes of chance encounters and the relentless impact of time passing. I'm often disappointed when I finally get around to reading an award-winning, critically acclaimed and popular title, because the work doesn't live up to the hype. Not so in this case.

The Ghost of Greenwich Village by Lorna Graham

Eve Weldon, a newly hired writer for a morning news show, is struggling to recreate the fabulous life her mother had in Greenwich Village in the 1960s. But Eve has few friends, trouble finding love and a ghost living in her apartment. And it's not the type of ghost that slams doors and tries to scare her away. No, instead it is the ghost of an almost, could-have-been famous Beat writer who demands Eve write his stories.

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