Category Contemporary Fiction

Brood by Jackie Polzin

Jackie Polzon’s debut is a quirky little novel! It follows an unnamed protagonist living in Minneapolis as she takes care of four hens that she has recently acquired, all the while trying to come to terms with a great personal loss. Having read and enjoyed The Pilgrim Hawk and The Goshawk before, it was interesting […]

The Performance by Claire Thomas

The Performance follows three women – Margot, a professor; Ivy, a philanthropist; and Summer, a theater usher – as they watch Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days. There’s a wildfire ravaging in the nearby hills, so this performance would have been a reprieve to most in attendance, sheltering them from the heat and the destruction for a […]

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Fair warning! You will need a Kleenex box nearby to read this one! Marianne Cronin’s debut, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, is set in the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. The seventeen-year-old Lenni has only a few months left to live, and she’s now a ‘permanent’ resident in the hospital’s May Ward meant […]

The High House by Jessie Greengrass

I read Jessie Greengrass’s debut novel Sight when it was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction in 2018, so when the ARC for The High House, Greengrass’s latest novel slated to be published on the 4th of January 2022, came through the mail, I was curious. I figured I’d read a couple of pages, […]

Memorial by Bryan Washington

In this slice-of-life novel, Benson, a Black daycare teacher, and Mike, a Japanese American chef working at a Mexican restaurant, are a gay couple living in Houston. They have been together for about four years now, but their relationship, as of late, seems like it’s closing in on its ending. Mike still cooks for Benson […]

Dog Park by Sofi Oksanen 

Olenka, a Ukrainian woman working as a maid in Finland, has formed a habit of visiting a dog park in Helsinki in the evenings for a while now. Each time, she sits on the same bench and keeps watching one family in particular – a well to do Finish couple with a young boy and […]

Dear Ann by Bobbie Ann Mason

In this novel, the titular character, Ann is looking to the late sixties with nostalgia and wondering how her life would have turned out if she had made a different choice back then. In 1966, fresh out of college from Kentucky, Ann had decided to attend Harpur College in Upstate New York for her doctoral […]

The Stranger in the Lifeboat by Mitch Albom

Mitch Albom’s books were some of the first I read when I started reading in English roughly a decade ago. While I liked his nonfiction works Have a Little Faith: a True Story and Tuesdays with Morrie (the book he is most known for and one of the top-selling memoirs of all time), I was […]

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 Dead by 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 […]