10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in August

Place your holds now for these great novels arriving soon!

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage
by Haruki Murakami, translated by Philip Gabriel
As a young man, Tsukuru Tazaki was mysteriously shunned by his four best friends. Two decades later, this rejection haunts him still and sends him on a journey through Japan and Europe to make sense of the past. “The result is a vintage Murakami struggle of coming to terms with buried emotions and missed opportunities, in which intentions and pent up desires can seemingly transcend time and space to bring both solace and desolation” (Publishers Weekly); “Another tour de force from Japan’s greatest living novelist” (Kirkus Reviews).

Three Bargains
by Tania Malik
This debut novel tells the rags-to-riches story of Madan, a young boy growing up in Northern India, who learns a vast number of life lessons from Avtaar Singh, a mentor and surrogate father who eventually becomes Madan’s adversary. Publishers Weekly calls this novel “stunning”, saying “Malik's novel boasts masterful storytelling, with mesmerizing prose, heart-stopping action, and startling turns of events that feel both honest and astounding.”

The Magician's Land
by Lev Grossman
The Magician's Land is the concluding volume of Grossman’s outstanding fantasy trilogy, in which Quentin Coldwater returns to teach at Brakebills Preparatory College of Magic. Kirkus Reviews calls it a “deeply satisfying finale” and Booklist promises “an absolutely brilliant fantasy filled with memorable character—old and new—and prodigious feats of imagination.” Fans of Narnia and Harry Potter who haven’t already devoured this series will want to start with The Magicians.

The Story Hour
by Thrity Umrigar
Despite their vast differences, an unusual bond grows between Indian immigrant Lakshmi and her African American therapist, Maggie. Their friendship is threatened when they discover each other’s most shocking secrets. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a forceful examination of identity, cultural isolation and the power of storytelling” and a “smart, compulsively readable work.”

The Miniaturist
by Jessie Burton
In 17th century Amsterdam, 18-year-old Nella Oortman is puzzled by her new life as a married woman—especially the detachment of her merchant husband and the wedding gift he gives her: an intricate dollhouse that is a perfect replica of their house. When she commissions furniture for the dollhouse from a miniaturist, she receives tiny furniture and dolls accompanied with cryptic notes that chillingly reveal more about her household than they should. Readers who love historical fiction with strong women characters will also find fine writing and a unique premise here. “With its oblique storytelling, crescendo of female empowerment and wrenching ending, this novel establishes Burton as a fresh and impressive voice” (Kirkus Reviews).

The Kills: Sutler, the Massive, the Kill, and the Hit
by Richard House
In post-war Iraq, a Halliburton-style contractor is told to take the fall for embezzlement in an epic story of crime and espionage with metafictional twists. This thousand-page tome was originally published in the UK as four novels and was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2013. Reviewers are comparing The Kills to the works of Bolaño and DeLillo fused with le Carré and Olen Steinhauer. “The Kills is a work of intense artistic conviction and demands a serious commitment from its readers. They'll be rewarded, even if the center of this dazzlingly large picture is elusive” (Booklist).

The Narrow Road to the Deep North
by Richard Flanagan
Renowned Australian author Flanagan has won awards for fiction and nonfiction writing, and this newest novel is on the just-announced 2014 Booker Prize Longlist. Dorrigo Evans, a septuagenarian surgeon raised in Tasmania, looks back on two major events that shaped his life: a forbidden affair and his experience in a Japanese POW camp. “A supple meditation on memory, trauma, and empathy that is also a sublime war novel” (Publishers Weekly).

Fives and Twenty-Fives
by Michael Pitre
Pitre, a marine who served two tours in Iraq, has written a debut novel that Booklist calls “a thrilling, defining novel of the Iraq War.” Fives and Twenty-Fives is about soldiers with the deadly task of searching for hidden IEDs and their return to civilian life, including an asylum-seeking Iraqi interpreter who is obsessed with American pop culture. Kirkus Reviews promises: “A war novel with a voice all its own, this will stand as one of the definitive renderings of the Iraq experience.”

The Lotus and the Storm
by Lan Cao
The Lotus and the Storm tells a story of the Vietnam War from the perspective of a Vietnamese family. In 2006, Minh and his youngest daughter Mai are living in Virginia, looking back on the previous decades and the conflict in Vietnam which they barely escaped. “Cao succeeds in making the story both epic and intimate, offering an important and necessary contribution to the literature of the war” (Library Journal). Cao is also the author of Monkey Bridge.

by Kanae Minato, translated by Stephen Snyder
Confessions is a debut thriller that won awards in Japan and was adapted into an Oscar-nominated film. Yuko Moriguchi is a middle school teacher and single mom to four-year-old daughter Manami. When Manami is murdered by two of Yuko’s students and the justice system rules the death accidental, Yuko seeks her own twisted revenge. “A creepy and mesmerizing psychological thriller… There are no happy endings here, but Minato has pieced together an intriguing puzzle that will keep readers glued to their seats” (Library Journal).

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