Less : a novel book cover

Less : a novel

Andrew Sean Greer

FICTION Greer Andrew

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Winner in the Fiction category -Jason

The little stranger book cover

The little stranger

Sarah Waters

FICTION Waters, Sarah
Fiction, Horror

One postwar summer in his home of rural Warwickshire, Dr. Faraday, the son of a maid who has built a life of quiet respectability as a country physician, is called to a patient at lonely Hundreds Hall. Home to the Ayres family for over two centuries, the Georgian house, once impressive and handsome, is now in decline, its masonry crumbling, its gardens choked with weeds, the clock in its stable yard permanently fixed at twenty to nine. Its owners—mother, son, and daughter—are struggling to keep pace with a changing society, as well as with conflicts of their own. But are the Ayreses haunted by something more sinister than a dying way of life? Little does Dr. Faraday know how closely, and how terrifyingly, their story is about to become intimately entwined with his.

Anne M's picture

A decaying English manor and a once prominent British family facing changing times equals the perfect set-up for a little bit of horror. Waters brings her exceptional writing and character building to this dark novel. I switched between listening to the audiobook and reading the print and there were genuinely times where I had to stop listening to this because I was frightened. If you like unreliable narrators, this is one to pick up. -Anne M

The remains of the day book cover

The remains of the day

Kazuo Ishiguro

FICTION Ishiguro, Kazuo
Historical Fiction, Fiction

The novel's narrator, Stevens, is a perfect English butler who tries to give his narrow existence form and meaning through the self-effacing, almost mystical practice of his profession. In a career that spans the second World War, Stevens is oblivious of the real life that goes on around him -- oblivious, for instance, of the fact that his aristocrat employer is a Nazi sympathizer. Still, there are even larger matters at stake in this heartbreaking, pitch-perfect novel -- namely, Stevens' own ability to allow some bit of life-affirming love into his tightly repressed existence.

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Added by Jason

Ties book cover


Domenico Starnone

FICTION Starnone Domenico

Translated by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jhumpa Lahiri, Ties is a compulsively readable and provocative novel about marriage and family by one of Italy's bestselling novelists. Like many marriages, Vanda and Aldo's has been subject to strain, to attrition, to the burden of routine. Yet it has survived intact. Or so things appear. The rupture in their marriage lies years in the past, but if one looks closely enough, the fissures and fault lines are evident. It is a cracked vase that may shatter at the slightest touch. Or perhaps it has already shattered, and nobody is willing to acknowledge the fact. Domenico Starnone's thirteenth work of fiction is a powerful short novel about relationships, family, love, and the ineluctable consequences of one's actions. Known as a consummate stylist and beloved as a talented storyteller, Domenico Starnone is the winner of Italy's most prestigious literary award, The Strega.

Anne M's picture

Translated by Jhumpa Lahiri, do not miss this emotional Italian novella about a family crisis. -Anne M

For two thousand years book cover

For two thousand years

Mihail Sebastian

FICTION Sebastia Mihail

"Mihail Sebastian's 1934 masterpiece, now available in English for the first time, was written as the rise of fascism forced him out of his literary career and turned his friends and colleagues against him. Confronted with the violence of a recurrent anti-Semitism, Sebastian questions its causes in this perceptive testimony, illuminating the ideological debates of the interwar period with wit, simplicity and vivacity"--

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Also recently published in English, this 1934 Romanian work is fiction mirroring reality as Mihail Sebastian grapples with the rise of antisemitism and fascism in the years leading up to World War II. -Anne M

The silence of the spirits book cover

The silence of the spirits

Wilfried N'Sondé

FICTION Nsonde Wilfried

What are the limits of empathy and forgiveness? How can someone with a shameful past find a new path that allows for both healing and reckoning? When Clovis and Christelle find themselves face-to-face on a train heading to the outskirts of Paris, their unexpected encounter propels them on a cathartic journey toward understanding the other, mediated by their respective histories of violence. Clovis, a young undocumented African, struggles with the pain and shame of his brutal childhood, abusive exploits as a child soldier, and road to exile. Christelle, a young French nurse, has her own dark experiences but translates her suffering into an unusual capacity for empathy, forgiveness, and reconciliation.

Anne M's picture

Do you prefer more realism? In Wilfried N’Sondé’s “The Silence of the Spirits,” Clovis Nzila, an African migrant, and Christelle, a French nurse, sit next to each other on a suburban Paris train. On the surface, they may seem worlds apart, but after starting a conversation, they learn through telling their stories that there is more that unites them than divides them. -Anne M

The world goes on book cover

The world goes on

László Krasznahorkai

FICTION Krasznah Laszlo

In The World Goes On, a narrator first speaks directly, then tells eleven unforgettable stories, and then bids farewell (“for here I would leave this earth and these stars, because I would take nothing with me”). As László Krasznahoraki himself explains: “Each text is about drawing our attention away from this world, speeding our body toward annihilation, and immersing ourselves in a current of thought or a narrative…” A Hungarian interpreter obsessed with waterfalls, at the edge of the abyss in his own mind, wanders the chaotic streets of Shanghai. A traveler, reeling from the sights and sounds of Varanasi, encounters a giant of a man on the banks of the Ganges ranting on the nature of a single drop of water. A child laborer in a Portuguese marble quarry wanders off from work one day into a surreal realm utterly alien from his daily toils. The World Goes On is another amazing masterpiece by the winner of the 2015 Man Booker International Prize. “The excitement of his writing,” Adam Thirwell proclaimed in the New York Review of Books, “is that he has come up with this own original forms―there is nothing else like it in contemporary literature.”

Anne M's picture

Another great example of surrealist fiction. -Anne M

The years, months, days : two novellas book cover

The years, months, days : two novellas

Lianke Yan

FICTION Yan Lianke

Yan LiankezChinas most feted and most banned authory (Financial Times)is a master of imaginative satire, and his prize-winning works have been published around the world to the highest honors. Now, his two most acclaimed novellas are collected here in a single volumemasterfully crafted stories that explore the sacrifices made for family, the driving will to survive, and the longing to leave behind a personal legacy.

Anne M's picture

For more short fiction that challenges subject and form, check out Yan Lianke's “The Years, Months, Days." -Anne M

Fever dream : a novel book cover

Fever dream : a novel

Samanta Schweblin

FICTION Schwebli Samanta
Fiction, Thriller

"A young woman named Amanda lies dying in a rural hospital clinic. A boy named David sits beside her. She's not his mother. He's not her child. Together, they tell a haunting story of broken souls, toxins, and the power and desperation of family. Fever Dream is a nightmare come to life, a ghost story for the real world, a love story and a cautionary tale. One of the freshest new voices to come out of the Spanish language and translated into English for the first time, Samanta Schweblin creates an aura of strange psychological menace and otherworldly reality in this absorbing, unsettling, taut novel"--

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If you enjoy surrealist fiction, you may like Samantha Schweblin’s “Fever Dream,” which is best described as a ghost story, but that label still doesn’t feel quite right. The narration follows a conversation between a hospital-bound woman and a neighbor’s son. However, it is unclear if either are still of this world. This book is a puzzle in both subject and form. -Anne M

Me book cover


Tomoyuki Hoshino

FICTION Hoshino Tomoyuki
Fiction, Suspense

A young Tokyoite named Hitoshi Nagano who, on a whim, takes home a cell phone belonging to Daiki Hiyama who accidentally put it on Hitoshi's tray at McDonald's. Hitoshi uses the phone to call Daiki's mother, pretending he is Daiki, and convinces her to wire him 900,000 yen. Three days later, Hitoshi returns home from work to discover Daiki's mother in his apartment, and she seems to truly believe Hitoshi is her son. Even more bizarre, Hitoshi discovers his own parents now treat him as a stranger; they, too, have a "me" living with them as Hitoshi. At a loss for what else to do, Hitoshi begins living as Daiki, and no one seems to bat an eye.

Anne M's picture

For a more recent mystery of technological social psychosis, check out Tomoyuki Hoshino’s “Me.” -Anne M