Category Contemporary Fiction

Turbulence by David Szalay

In this novella by the Man Booker-shortlisted novelist, David Szalay, we get a dozen of loosely connected stories about people who are mostly strangers, crisscrossing through the world. In each chapter, its protagonist meets the person who will be central to the next story set in a whole new location, until it comes to a […]

The Woman in the Purple Skirt by Natsuko Imamura

The Woman in the Purple Skirt, recently translated from Japanese, is one of the more memorable psychological novels I have read in a while. In it, the narrator, the Woman in the Yellow Cardigan, is always watching the titular Woman in the Purple Skirt. At first, I didn’t see anything unseemingly about this since the […]

Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Deadby Emily R. Austin

This novel reminded me so much of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. Quite like Eleanor, Gilda, the protagonist of Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead, is an eccentric. Gilda, a recently laid-off twenty-something bookseller, suffers from severe anxiety and is obsessed with death after being traumatized as a child by the passing of […]

Yoga Pant Nation by Laurie Gelman

Yoga Pant Nation, the third book in the Class Mom series (which can be read as a standalone), is a quick read. The story revolves around Jen Dixon, the fifty-four-year-old mom of the ten-year-old Max and two daughters in their thirties. Jen’s life is a juggling act. She is the class mom in Max’s Elementary […]

Something Wild by Hanna Halperin

Dealing with domestic abuse and sexual trauma, Something Wild isn’t an easy read, although I’m glad I did. The story begins with Tanya and Nessa Bloom returning to their childhood home in the Boston suburbs for a weekend to help with their newly unemployed mother Lorraine’s move. Their stepfather, Jesse, has recently inherited a small […]

Her Turn by Katherine Ashenburg

Even though she has been divorced for over a decade, Liz, the protagonist of Her Turn is still angry at Sidney, her ex-husband for his affair that led to their divorce. Sidney has since married Nicole, his mistress, and the couple lives in Seattle now, whereas Liz has moved to Washington DC. Liz has a […]

Intimacies by Katie Kitamura

This is an odd little book! The unnamed protagonist in Intimacies has recently moved to The Hague from New York after her father’s passing and her mother’s return to Singapore. The narrator has been a cosmopolitan all her life, living all around the world, but it has also left her somewhat adrift. Now she wants […]

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz

This is a must-read if you are a fan of John Boyn’s A Ladder to the Sky! Honestly, I was a bit apprehensive about The Plot at first – A Ladder to the Sky was my favorite read in 2020, and similar to it, The Plot is about plagiarism in the literary world, exploring the […]

The Damage by Caitlin Wahrer

The Damage is a visceral story of the aftermath of rape. On one fateful night, Nick, a twenty-year-old college boy, goes out drinking with his flatmate to work up the courage to let go of his unrequited love. At the bar, Nick meets Josh, a handsome and charming man to whom Nick is instantly attracted. […]

The Startup Wife by Tahmima Anam

The Startup Wife, which calls attention to the gender imbalance and sexism in the tech world, is another one of the recently published novels with a plausible plot. Asha Ray, daughter of Bangladeshi immigrants, is pursuing her PhD at Columbia when she reconnects with Cyrus Jones, her high school crush, and marries him after dating […]

How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina

This book started out strong, so much so that it reminded me of Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger, my favorite Booker Prize winner. Both novels, set in India, are rags to riches stories featuring poor, low-caste protagonists who realize they too must play dirty if they want to get a leg up in a corrupt […]

The Boys’ Club by Erica Katz

I’m not sure which genre The Boys’ Club would fall under – is it a thriller or a literary fiction? Unfortunately enough, whatever the genre it may belong to, this #MeToo story set in the corporate law world felt very plausible. Alex Vogel is a recent graduate from Harvard Law who has just joined Klasko […]

When I Ran Away by Ilona Bannister

I have read novels on motherhood before, but they all felt abstract to me, and I always thought it is because I’m not a mother. But while reading When I Ran Away, I truly felt like I could understand what its protagonist Gigi was going through in my bones! When we first see Gigi in […]

No One Is Talking About This by Patricia Lockwood

I finished The Vanishing Half a few weeks back for book club (my first five stars read in 2021 – I absolutely recommend it!), so No One Is Talking About This is the second book I read from the Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist this year. Writing-wise, Patricia Lockwood’s debut novel wasn’t my cup of […]

My Grandmother’s Braid by Alina Bronsky

I picked up My Grandmother’s Braid because its synopsis reminded me of Donatella Di Pietrantonio’s A Girl Returned. Both novels feature children in precarious situations due to no fault of their own, and I have a soft spot for such stories. While I didn’t end up loving My Grandmother’s Braid as much as A Girl Returned […]