Category Archives: novel

The Optimistic Decade by Heather Abel c. 2018 (354 pages—Algonquin)

Warning: This summary contains spoilers. The Optimistic Decade is set in the Bush Sr. era, with some flashbacks to the Reagan years. The main characters are teenagers and young adults, all of whom are engaged in a timeless rite of … Continue reading

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Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport c. 1994 (480 pages—Penguin)

A sweeping tale that spans generations and blurs the lines between people. This complex story swirls around Pono, an ailing grandmother who has hidden her husband and true love (Duke, a regal Hawai’ian who contracted leprosy) from her daughters and … Continue reading

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The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri c. 2013 (340 pages—Knopf)

(Note: This summary contains spoilers.) “The Lowland” is Shakespearian in its representation of family drama. Udayan (the radical and rebellious brother) is murdered by government forces when Subhash (the studious, rule-follower) is in the US furthering his education. After a … Continue reading

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The Night Child by Anna Quinn c. 2018 (224 pages—Blackstone Publishing)

A suspensive story told from the third-person limited perspective in which the protagonist, Nora, wrestles with a past trauma. Written in the present tense, a decision that heightens the urgency and suspense of the narrative, the past is revealed to … Continue reading

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The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo by Ian Stansel c. 2017 (192 pages—Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

A story about a battle between Silas and Frank, brothers whose feud is rooted in the fate of the family ranch. The story opens after Silas, a rugged traditionalist, shoots Frank, his business-minded brother. The tension of the book lies … Continue reading

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The Moonlight Palace by Liz Rosenberg c. 2014 (164 pages—Lake Union Publishing)

Set in Singapore in the 1920, “The Moonlight Palace” is a novella that explores the often blurry and always complex web of cultural heritage. Agnes, the young female protagonist, who is the last surviving member of her royal family, lives … Continue reading

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The Brief History of the Dead by Kevin Brockmeier c. 2006 (252 pages—Random House)

This inventive story connects the struggles of corporate-sponsored “researchers” to the dramas of deceased people existing in a magical city. During the book, it becomes clear that researcher Laura Byrd—who spends most of the novel alone in the Artic—is the … Continue reading

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