Contemporary fiction reviews

Looking for something to read this fall? Here are some suggestions that can be found in the current fiction section of the Leisure Reading collection:
hedgehogThe Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery
For the reader who is looking for something new and different, this unique novel balances sweetness and pretentions in its subjects and characters. The story is set in Paris and told from the points of view of the two main characters, middle-aged concierge Renée Michel and twelve-year-old Paloma Josse, who lives in the building where Renée works. Both characters are hiding their true colors from the world, and both are searching for what makes life worth living.

usedworldThe Used World, by Haven Kimmel
Haven Kimmel’s latest novel is set in a fictional small town in Indiana and follows the intertwined lives of three women who work at Hazel Hunnicutt’s antique store, the Used World Emporium. The story starts off a bit slow but the pace soon picks up as the plot strings become more interconnected. These connections finally come together for a well-plotted ending that provides just enough resolution while still leaving some mysteries for the reader to consider.

elephantsWater for Elephants, by Sara Gruen
This tale of love, hardship, and murder is set amid the world of a second-rate circus during the Great Depression. Main character Jacob Jankowski drops out of veterinary school, jumps a train, and somehow ends up as a veterinarian for a circus where he meets his two great loves – the beautiful (but married) Marlena, who is one of the circus’s star performers; and Rosie the quirky and troublesome elephant. Gruen’s writing lacks subtlety and nuance, but that doesn’t keep her from telling a fun, quick-reading, feel-good story.

– Anna Craft, Nonfiction selector


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