More in domestic fiction

In his highly anticipated second novel, Judson Mitcham, with plain but elegant language, creates an emotional impact rivaled only by his critically acclaimed debut novel, The Sweet Everlasting (Georgia). Sabbath Creek is the story of Lewis Pope, a fourteen-year-old boy thrust into an adult world of heartache and brokenness. When his beautiful but distant mother takes him on an aimless journey through south Georgia, the cerebral and sensitive Lewis is forced to confront latent fears--scars left from the emotional abuse of an alcoholic father and the lack of comfort from a preoccupied mother--that crowd his interior world.

At the heart of the journey, and the novel itself, is Truman Stroud, the quick-witted, cantankerous owner of the crumbling Sabbath Creek Motor Court, where Lewis and his mother are stranded by car trouble. His budding friendship with the ninety-three-year-old black man is his only reprieve from the mysteries that haunt him. Despite his prickly personality and the considerable burden of his own personal tragedies, Stroud becomes the boy’s best hope for a father figure as he teaches Lewis the secrets of baseball and the secrets of life.

Sabbath Creek is more than a coming-of-age novel. And while Mitcham provides a nuanced look at the relationship between a white adolescent boy and a black old-timer, his second novel transcends the tired theme of race relations in the South. This compassionate, smart, powerful work of fiction touches the pulse of the human spirit. It travels from the ruined landscape of south Georgia and takes us all the way through the ruined landscape of a broken heart.

A “sharply funny and sobering . . . portrait of a family in financial free fall” from the New York Times–bestselling author of Young Jane Young (People).
 
With The Hole We’re In—a bold, timeless, yet all too timely novel about a troubled American family navigating an even more troubled America—award-winning author and screenwriter, Gabrielle Zevin, delivers a work that places her in the ranks of our shrewdest social observers and top literary talents.
 
Meet the Pomeroys: a church-going family living in a too-red house in a Texas college town. Roger, the patriarch, has impulsively gone back to school, only to find his future ambitions at odds with the temptations of the present. His wife, Georgia, tries to keep things afloat at home, but she’s been feeding the bill drawer with unopened envelopes for months and never manages to confront its swelling contents. In an attempt to climb out of the holes they’ve dug, Roger and Georgia make a series of choices that have catastrophic consequences for their three children—especially for Patsy, the youngest, who will spend most of her life fighting to overcome them. The Hole We’re In shines a spotlight on some of the most relevant issues of today: over-reliance on credit, gender and class politics, and the war in Iraq. But it is Zevin’s deft exploration of the fragile economy of family life that makes this a book for the ages.
 
“Blazing . . . Sharp . . . a Corrections for our recessionary times . . . [Zevin] establishes herself as an astute chronicler of the way we spend now.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
A sharply observed new novel about post-apartheid South Africa from the Nobel Prize winner

Nadine Gordimer is one of our most telling contemporary writers. With each new work, she attacks—with a clear-eyed fierceness, a lack of sentimentality, and a deep understanding of the darkest depths of the human soul—her eternal themes: the inextricable link between personal and communal history; the inescapable moral ambiguities of daily life; the political and racial tensions that persist in her homeland, South Africa. And in each new work is fresh evidence of her literary genius: in the sharpness of her psychological insights, the stark beauty of her language, the complexity of her characters, and the difficult choices with which they are faced.

In No Time Like the Present, Gordimer trains her keen eye on Steve and Jabulile, an interracial couple living in a newly, tentatively, free South Africa. They have a daughter, Sindiswa; they move to the suburbs; Steve becomes a lecturer at a university; Jabulile trains to become a lawyer; there is another child, a boy this time. There is nothing so extraordinary about their lives, and yet, in telling their story and the stories of their friends and families, Gordimer manages to capture the tortured, fragmented essence of a nation struggling to define itself post-apartheid.

The subject is contemporary, but Gordimer's treatment is, as ever, timeless. In No Time Like the Present, she shows herself once again a master novelist, at the height of her prodigious powers.

An addictive and moving debut about love, fidelity, sports, and growing up when you least expect it, told through the irresistible voices of three generations

It's the spring of 1994 in Cooperstown, New York, and Joanie Cole, the beloved matriarch of the Obermeyer family, has unexpectedly died in her sleep. Now, for the first time, three generations are living together under one roof and are quickly encroaching on one another's fragile orbits. Eighty-six-year-old Bob Cole is adrift in his daughter's house without his wife. Anne Obermeyer is increasingly suspicious of her husband, Hugh's, late nights and missed dinners, and Hugh, principal of the town's preschool, is terrified that a scandal at school will erupt and devastate his life. Fifteen-year-old tennis-team hopeful Julia is caught in a love triangle with Sam and Carl, her would-be teammates and two best friends, while her brother, Teddy, the star pitcher of Cooperstown High, will soon catch sight of something that will change his family forever.
At the heart of the Obermeyers' present-day tremors is the scandal of The Sex Cure, a thinly veiled roman à clef from the 1960s, which shook the small village of Cooperstown to the core. When Anne discovers a battered copy underneath her parents' old mattress, the Obermeyers cannot escape the family secrets that come rushing to the surface. With its heartbreaking insight into the messy imperfections of family, love, and growing up, Callie Wright's Love All is an irresistible comic story of coming-of-age—at any age.

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of two beloved classics, Fall On Your Knees and The Way the Crow Flies, Adult Onset is a powerful drama that makes vividly real the pressures of life and love, and the undercurrents that run deep through even the most devoted families. Mary Rose MacKinnon is a successful author of YA fiction doing a tour of duty as stay-at-home mom while her partner, Hilary, takes a turn focusing on her career. She tries valiantly to balance the (mostly) solo parenting of two young children with the relentless needs of her aging parents. But amid the hilarities of full-on domesticity arises a sense of dread. Do other people notice the dents in the expensive refrigerator? How long will it take Mary Rose to realize that the car alarm that has been going off all morning is hers, and how on earth did the sharpest pair of scissors in the house wind up in her toddler’s hands? As frustrations mount, she experiences a flare-up of forgotten symptoms of a childhood illness that compel her to rethink her own upbringing, her own family history. Over the course of one outwardly ordinary week, Mary Rose’s world threatens to unravel, and the specter of violence raises its head with dangerous implications for her and her children. With humor and unerring emotional accuracy, Adult Onset explores the pleasures and pressures of family bonds, powerful and yet so easily twisted and broken. Ann-Marie MacDonald has crafted a searing, terrifying, yet ultimately uplifting story.
From the award-winning author of Legend of a Suicide: “A kind of modern fairy tail . . . Vann’s novels are striking, uncompromising portraits of American life” (Kirkus Reviews, starred review).
 
David Vann’s dazzling debut Legend of a Suicide was reviewed in over a 150 major global publications, won eleven prizes worldwide, was on forty “best books of the year” lists, and established its author as a literary master. Now, in crystalline, chiseled yet graceful prose, Aquarium takes us into the heart of a brave young girl whose longing for love and capacity for forgiveness transforms the damaged people around her . . .
 
Twelve-year-old Caitlin lives alone with her mother—a docker at the local container port—in subsidized housing next to an airport in Seattle. Each day, while she waits to be picked up after school, Caitlin visits the local aquarium to study the fish. Gazing at the creatures within the watery depths, Caitlin accesses a shimmering universe beyond her own. When she befriends an old man at the tanks one day, who seems as enamored by the fish as she, Caitlin cracks open a dark family secret and propels her once-blissful relationship with her mother toward a precipice of terrifying consequence.
 
“A blue-collar parable . . . [The character] looks back on her life as a child looks into a tank, hoping to make sense of the world inside—a theme Vann develops beautifully, creating a mysterious realm of the wintry American city.” —The Guardian
Yonkers, New York, finds its place on the literary map of America. Transcending all the limitations of "ethnic literature" and mobster stereotyping, David Prete flawlessly (and seemingly effortlessly) nails Italian-American life to the page and elevates it to a new place in American writing.

Say That to My Face introduces us to Joey Frascone and his family and friends in the tense, violent, racially divided Yonkers of the Seventies and Eighties. His childhood segmented between four homes and his teenage dreams pulling him towards the challenge and excitement of New York City, Joey is a handsome kid whose intense and conflicting loyalties threaten to tear him apart. Whether responding to the crush of a motherless girl whose sister he adores; flirting with danger during the terrifying summer of mass-murderer "Son of Sam"; cheating his teammates of a victory to save a friend on the ballfield; watching his mother play softball against his father ("in her lovely red dress, she pretended to fix her crotch and spit out a wad of chewing tobacco... With one shake of her ass in the batter's box of a church parking lot, my mother dropped thirty years"); or struggling with the mind-blowing high of a lifetime while running drugs from Jamaica, Frascone wins the reader's steadfast allegiance as he tries to figure out where his own truest loyalties lie.

Capturing people in flux between their better and worse selves, David Prete is one outstanding storyteller. With hilarious, thrilling, and painful accuracy, he evokes the color and poignancy and humor of Italian-American speech and the characters who use it. Like barman Frank Gianguzzi, whose favorite term of affection is "coog," from the Italian "cugino," or cousin, or any of its variations: "coog-o, coogini, coogette, coogie coog, coog a'bell, coog a'brut." Or Benny Colangelo, the quintessential neighborhood guy, "emanating his future. A future of work, neighborhood, family, and the beautiful poetry of routine." Or Joey's butcher grandfather, scratching his grandson's back with his thick, heavy butcher's nails, as he yells, "Look at the prince here." Or his Uncle Gingy, whose motto — "the one thing you don't mess with is family"-doesn't seem to apply to how he treats his wife.

Having come of age among characters as memorable as any in Faulkner's Mississippi, Joey finds that even when he escapes Yonkers for the sophisticated city sparkling at the other side of the bridge, his past isn't forgotten: the past isn't even past.
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