Category Archives: Contemporary

Learning to Swim

Abigail Onions was something of a misfit at school. She had trouble with a bully and didn’t have a lot of friends. For years, her only friend was not someone she especially liked, just someone willing to spend time with … Continue reading

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Freshwater

When Ada was born, she did not come into the world alone. She was accompanied by a group of spirit/gods, or ogbanje. These spirits were largely silent, but they had an influence that grew over time. In Akwaeke Emezi’s novel, … Continue reading

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Ghost Wall

Seventeen-year-old Silvie and her parents have joined up with a group of experiential archaeology students to spend part of their summer in rural England, attempting to live as the people of the iron age did. They wear simple tunics, forage … Continue reading

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There There

One of the characters in Tommy Orange’s debut novel, There There, is a filmmaker named Dene Ozendene who is taking over a project started by his uncle Lucas before his death. In an interview for a grant, he describes the work this … Continue reading

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The Golden State

Daphne, the narrator of Lydia Kiesling’s debut novel, is exhausted and frustrated and in terrible need of a break. She’s been raising her daughter, Honey, on her own since her husband, Engin, was barred from entry to the United States … Continue reading

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Speak No Evil

Uzodinma Iweala’s Speak No Evil is the story of two best friends, Niro and Meredith, both high school seniors in Washington, DC. Niro, who carries most of the narrative, is a track star bound for Harvard, but his future starts to be … Continue reading

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So Lucky

“You scared? You should be. It’s aiming to kill you. And I doubt you’ll stop it.” Those are the words Mara Tagarelli hears during her first support group for people with multiple sclerosis. Mara was diagnosed in the same week that … Continue reading

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A River of Stars

When Scarlett Chen became pregnant, the baby’s father, a wealthy (and married) factory owner and Scarlett’s employer, sent her from China to Los Angeles so that his son would be born on American soil. After so many daughters, this baby … Continue reading

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Winter

The second book in Ali Smith’s seasonal quartet is, like Autumn, a novel that is more contemplative than plotty. There is a story, a somewhat more eventful one than in Autumn, but the novel is mostly about how the characters are coping with … Continue reading

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In the Woods

I’ve been slow to read Tana French’s Dublin Murder Squad books, not because I didn’t think I’d enjoy them but because I really didn’t want a new series to read. But since I’ve finished the Patrick O’Brian books, that’s less … Continue reading

Posted in Contemporary, Fiction, Mysteries/Crime | 15 Comments