Category Contemporary Fiction

We Do What We Do in the Dark by Michelle Hart

We Do What We Do in the Dark, a bit reminiscent of Elif Batuman’s The Idiot, is a coming-of-age story where the main focus is on a lesbian love affair. Mallory is in her first year of college when she falls hard for one of the professors at her university, who is almost twice her […]

Remarkably Bright Creatures by Shelby Van Pelt

Remarkably Bright Creatures is a unique novel, and it’s going to be a highlight for me this year! The seventy-year-old Tova Sullivan has been working the night-shift at the Sowell Bay Aquarium for a while now. Tova is financially stable, but cleaning the aquarium spotless has helped Tova keep busy as she tries to get […]

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole

I’ve always had the same predicament. When I’m home, in Kentucky, all I want is to leave. When I’m away, I’m homesick for a place that never was. With those opening lines, Lee Cole had me hooked on one of the best (delayed) coming-of-age stories I’ve read in a while! Groundskeeping, set in rural Kentucky […]

Tin Camp Road by Ellen Airgood

I’ve called Michigan home for the last six years and fallen in love with this place so much that every time I read a novel set in Michigan, it tingles my heart! Tin Camp Road, set in the Michigan upper peninsula, is no different. Ellen Airgood is a Michigander, so this novel is partly a […]

Woman on Fire by Lisa Barr

Woman on Fire, which combines a bit of WWII history and Nazi-looted art, is one of the best thrillers I have read in a while. The novel begins when Margaux de Laurent, the heiress to a million-dollar art gallery business, kills the son of (fictional) Helmuth Geisler in cold blood. Helmuth had led the group […]

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

I’m glad I didn’t read Station Eleven before the Covid situation (somewhat) settled down. In this eerie novel, set in a post-apocalyptic world, over 99% of the world’s population have died from a super flu variant that quickly swept through the continents, and the last remaining survivors in North America have spread across the continent, […]

The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont

The Christie Affair is a fictionalized account of Agatha Christie‘s disappearance back in 1926 for ten days. The fact remains that before Agatha disappeared, her husband, Archie Christie, had admitted to having an affair and asked her for a divorce. Sometime after that, one evening, Agatha went missing from their home in Sunningdale, and her […]

No Land to Light On by Yara Zgheib

This is the first story I read this year that truly resonated with me. No Land to Light On is the story of a young Syrian couple who became separated because of Trump’s ruthless and controversial Muslim ban that went into effect on 27 January 2017. Hadi, a Syrian refugee in the US, had gone […]

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 […]