In Sarah Nović’s first novel, Girl at War, her protagonist Ana Jurić lives “suspended between the living and the dead” after witnessing the atrocities of the Croatian War of Independence.
Much like Ana, the heroine of her engrossing debut novel, Sara Nović isn’t entirely sure where to call home. “This is what I’m trying to figure out,” the author says, laughing, in a recent interview. “I really don’t know.”
“Anna was a good wife, mostly.” So opens Jill Alexander Essbaum’s remarkable debut novel, the mesmerizing story of Anna Benz, an American expatriate who has lived in Zurich for nine years with her husband, Bruno—a Swiss banker—and their three children.
A dose of dark humor, a captivating historical novel and the 2014 National Book Award winner for fiction make great selections for reading groups this month.
Kelly Link tends to inspire a range of comparisons to other authors—usually, some blend of Angela Carter and Haruki Murakami—but, in fact, nobody writes stories like hers. Link’s fantastical worlds feel utterly real, partly because they’re intensely matter-of-fact. Her characters are sassy, moody and cool, and they never, ever make any big deal out of the fact that there are monsters, aliens, vampires or ghosts hanging around, or that they might stumble into a pocket universe or some alternate dimension. Mostly they’re concerned with cute guys and flirting and drinks, plus occasionally needing to save the world.
O. Henry Prize winner Jan Ellison’s debut novel is a puzzle with the outside pieces finished. Reading it is like compulsively fitting all those revealing middle pieces together. Annie Black, a happily married 40-something San Francisco businesswoman, delves into her careless youth after her 21-year-old son is injured in a car accident. Spinning a tale of the three drunken months she spent in Europe in 1989, she demonstrates how the past can shape the future.
Three novels exploring the confines of art and artistry make great picks for reading groups this month.
Bret Anthony Johnston's debut novel, Remember Me Like This, follows a family's agonizing journey towards some sense of peace after their son, Justin, miraculously returns home four years after his kidnapping. His return, however, is tempered by the pain and grief each member of the family has carried with them for so long. Johnston is also the Creative Writing Director at Harvard.
Three books following unconventional lives make great picks for reading groups this month.
Three novels exploring the complexity and resilience of the human spirit make great picks for reading groups this month.