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The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante

It is a fetid place that refuses to take a back seat to her characters, even though it is the seven families of the neighborhood that quickly draw you in and keep you turning the pages.  Ms. Ferrante demonstrates a deep understanding of how places shape people, which is displayed in her opening scene, which takes place between Elena Greco, the series’ narrator, and the son of her closest friend, Lila Cerulla.


Genre: contemporary, fiction, literary fiction, postmodernism
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Moral Disorder and Other Stories by Margaret Atwood

Even Atwood’s earliest novels are full of her wit, wry humor and bitingly funny characterization, so it is unsurprising to discover these same qualities throughout all of the stories, which tell the story of a woman named Nell in short episodes. The stories are framed by aging; in the first story, Nell is in late middle age and meditating on the nature of a long-term marriage. In the next, she is a young girl, who has yet to meet Tig, the married man that she makes her life with. By the last stories, Nell is long past her adventures and taking care of her elderly parents.


Genre: contemporary, literary fiction, short story collection
Margaret Atwood" rel="bookmark">Book cover: The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood

Marian McAlpin is a sensible career girl, not “the other kind” that only dreams of catching a man and marrying him. So when she meets Peter, a handsome up-and-coming lawyer at a party, he quickly asks her out. Several months into their relationship, he loses his last unmarried friend to those scheming wifely types and, in a panic, asks Marian to marry him.


Genre: fiction, literary fiction, postmodernism

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

Prepare yourself, readers, for a book that is as much about place as people.  The 2013 novel, The Burgess Boys, written by Elizabeth Strout, is as much about the internal culture clash of being from two places as it is about the Burgess siblings, who are brought together when Susan Burgess’s teenaged son commits a hate crime in their home town of Shirley Falls, Maine.


Genre: fiction, literary fiction

What I Did Wrong by John Weir

I feel a bit strange writing a review of John Weir’s What I Did Wrong, as he writes extensively about being a professor at Queens College, which is where I met him when I sat in his class for the first time.


Genre: lgbt, literary fiction