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Fiction Recommendations

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang’s debut novel is delicious to read, equally beautiful and grotesque, harrowing and tender. Told across three generations of Taiwanese American women, Bestiary is intimately recognizable and audaciously new: an immigrant journey, a love story, a family saga, a coming-of-age tale. All are exploded by imagery, mythos, and experimentation, where girls grow tails, damage is done, truths are built and shifted, and the reader is drenched, filled to the brim with wonder. Comparisons to Maxine Hong Kingston and Helen Oyeyemi are apt, but Chang’s promising young voice is all her own. — Melinda

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ISBN: 9780593132586
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Published: One World - September 29th, 2020

Anxious People by Fredrik Backman

As the world becomes more anxious and frayed than ever, one of our greatest remedies is to read a Fredrik Backman novel. Backman, through his humor, emotion, and honesty, reminds us that it is precisely the messiness of being human that makes us more connected to each other than we ever think possible. In Anxious People, Backman introduces us to a group of characters who happen to be in the wrong place (hostage situation) at the wrong time (apartment viewing) but whose willingness to listen and connect to each other turn everything right. This novel is a balm for the soul. — Casey

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ISBN: 9781501160837
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Published: Atria Books - September 8th, 2020

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Twenty-eight-year-old Gifty is a brilliant grad student at Stanford with a promising career ahead of her. Raised in poverty in Alabama and the daughter of Ghanaian immigrants, Gifty projects the image of an American success story. But when her depressed, elderly mother comes to stay with her, painful memories begin to resurface and cracks start to emerge in her stoic facade. Flitting between past and present, Gyasi tackles some very heavy themes; death, abandonment, racism, and the opioid crisis all come into play. Beautiful and heart wrenching, Gyasi’s sophomore novel does not disappoint. — Jade

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ISBN: 9780525658184
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Published: Knopf - September 1st, 2020

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante

Ferrante (My Brilliant Friend) returns us to her beloved Naples, where we meet 13-year-old Giovanna and her family, who straddle the upper echelon and the working-class areas of the city. The novel combines Ferrante’s trademark touches—an indelible cast of characters and a stingingly honest coming-of- age story—with a complex narrative about what composes the truth. Be transported once again in one of this fall’s biggest books. — Casey

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By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translator)
ISBN: 9781609455910
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Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2020

What Are You Going Through by Sigrid Nunez

I was first introduced to Nunez many years ago when my book club selected The Last of Her Kind. While that book remains one of my favorite contemporary novels, I was equally impressed with The Friend, for which Nunez won the 2018 National Book Award for fiction. Honest and wise, with a wicked sense of humor, she writes prose that uses few words to create deeply layered characters, settings, and moments. Her new novel tackles big issues—death, the meaning of life, and contemporary politics, among others, and promises the same rich reading experience I’ve come to expect from her. I can’t wait to get started. — Rico

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What Are You Going Through: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593191415
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Published: Riverhead Books - September 8th, 2020

Memorial by Bryan Washington

Benson’s boyfriend Mike goes to Japan and leaves his mother, who barely speaks English, in his stead. While Mike is in Osaka working as a bartender for his dying father, Benson works through his own family trauma. This is the debut novel by a rising literary star, the author of last year’s breakout short story collection, Lot. Fans of There There and On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous will devour this meditation on love and loss. — Jason

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ISBN: 9780593087275
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Published: Riverhead Books - October 27th, 2020

The End of the Day by Bill Clegg

With our world more socially isolated, I believe that readers are searching for stories in which characters can help us understand our connection with each other. Bill Clegg (Did You Ever Have a Family?) is a master of exploring these connections. The End of the Day follows a wealthy East Coast family, the families who served them, and those who lived in their universe. How these worlds collide, and the secrets and longings trapped within them, provide a mysterious, multifaceted and deeply emotional book that will make you want to start again as soon as you get to the last page. — Casey

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ISBN: 9781476798202
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Published: Gallery/Scout Press - September 29th, 2020

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

A powerful novel about a little known part of 19th-century history, The Exiles is the story of two young women, convicts, transported on a former slave ship into exile in Australia, and of an aboriginal girl taken from her people and forced to live with the English governor and his wife. A compelling narrative of strength in the face of abusive hardship and tragedy, it is a riveting book, hard to put down once started. Well-researched, well-written, excellent historical fiction. — Trey

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ISBN: 9780062356345
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Published: Custom House - August 25th, 2020

His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

Afi is a young seamstress in a small town who is whisked away to the big city of Accra, Ghana, in an arranged marriage to a wealthy developer. But everything is not peaceful in her brand-new luxury condo. Her husband has a girlfriend whom his family doesn’t approve of, and the marriage to Afi was supposed to push him out of his relationship with his girlfriend. At times triumphant and at other times frustrating, this book is about the complications of family expectations, love, and fidelity.  — Celeste

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ISBN: 9781616209155
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Published: Algonquin Books - September 1st, 2020

A World Between by Emily Hashimoto

A charming two-person narrative spanning many years provides us with a story chronicling the often complex structures of women's relationships. How do we define ourselves in relation to one another when the romance is over? What bridges must we cross if those old feelings resurface? Growing up is never easy, and change is inevitable. But sometimes, no matter how much changes, there’s someone with whom you will always feel comfortable. Eleanor and Leena’s ever-transforming relationship is serendipitous and engrossing. — MJ

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ISBN: 9781936932955
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Published: Feminist Press - September 15th, 2020


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