Literary Fiction (page 1)

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LITERARY FICTION PICKS

 
“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Sourdough: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374203108
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: MCD - September 5th, 2017

In this novel, the reader explores a world where food meets tech and the inevitable collision. With some suspended disbelief you delve into the underground world of a futuristic farmer’s market in the Bay area. The characters are charming and in the end you’ll learn a few things about baking and technology. Furthermore, the cover glows in the dark. There is so much to love. - Cindy


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Purity: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374239213
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 1st, 2015

If you're anything like me (which, God help you, you aren't), you spend your New Year's Eve holiday sitting quietly at home, sipping a white wine spritzer or Sazerac, fondly ruminating over the best books you've read in any given year. This year, Franzen's latest, Purity, eclipses by far and away any other candidate. It's love, lust, and lunacy packaged in writing so clean and sharp you'll be almost surprised when you reach the end and discover that you're still yourself, and not one of the novel's fascinating, flesh and blood characters. Nobody captures character depth and complexity like he does, and the plot is as rich and unpredictable as any of the bestselling mysteries you read this year but that you'll never remember. It's one of those Big Books that will snatch a month of your life away, but will leave in its wake the recollection of a literary experience only an author like Franzen can deliver.

Joel


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The Dream of My Return Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780811223430
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: New Directions - March 10th, 2015

The anxiety and paranoia present in Moya's work grants him many deserved comparisons to Franz Kafka. An El Salvadoran dissenter and eventual ex-patriot, Moya left the country from fear of his critics. They had painted him as unpatriotic for his writing and threatened his life. The character in this novel is much like the author, a journalist with a dream to return home, but perhaps the whole thing is a nightmare afterall. Since going under hypnosis, he's having a hard time trying to figure out things. Debaucherous and mind-bending, this novel is addictive and darkly funny. --Jeremy B.


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The First Bad Man: A Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9781439172568
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Scribner - January 13th, 2015

This is the story of someone who is alone in every sense of the word - until she isn't. Cheryl Glickman is a woman who exists almost entirely up in her own head; the context of the outside world disappearing as soon as her attention shifts elsewhere. She is an unreliable narrator even to herself, constantly questioning the truths and the stories of her own life. Cheryl is reminiscent of Ignatius J. Reilly (without the superiority complex), in that I "get" her and understand her mindset, but also oftentimes hate her. I've not felt this connected to a novel in a long while; July has crafted an experience that is mostly hilarious, sometimes grotesque, and always achingly familiar. This debut novel will be on many Best-Of lists this year, and not without merit - it is funny and insightful and fantastical and desperately lonely and overwhelming and sexual and unique and beautiful and absolutely must be read. --Amanda


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Orhan's Inheritance Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781616203740
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Algonquin Books - April 7th, 2015

This novel had me at hello. Orhan a successful young businessman from Istanbul, returns to his family estate in rural Anatolia to hear the reading of his late grandfather’s will. When the house in which his father and aunt live is left to a mysterious 87–year-old woman living in California, the stage is set for a totally engrossing, deeply moving tale of a quest to find the truth. As in the best of such quests, Orhan confronts demons along the path and finds, not only what he was seeking, but so much more. Brilliant writing and an unforgettable cast of characters put this book solidly in the running for the next Booker Prize or National Book Award. --Bob


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Dept. of Speculation (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345806871
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - October 7th, 2014

This novel is the story of a marriage. Almost from the first moment the author captures the fragility of the marital relationship: the quiet juxtaposition of hope and fear, love and duty, the little things that become big things. Her dialogue is stunning in the way she can express the humanity of the relationship, without blame or pity, but so startling in it's accuracy it can almost make you gasp at times. The story, shrouded at times in hurt and anger, shimmers in the end with nature: sun, and cracking leaves, and snow, and the age-old promise of rebirth. --Kathy M.


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Tigerman Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780385352413
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - July 29th, 2014

John Le Carre begot a son named Nick who also wanted to write books. He started off with The Gone Away World--featuring surrealism and mimes, and then on to Angelmaker--about clockwork and world destruction. Tigerman takes on the vigilante-superhero in a small secluded island scheduled for imminent doom. Why try and save a place where your only mission is to help transition towards its destruction? Because our faithful sergeant just happens to admire one of the locals like a son. Harkaway is the real deal and you should be reading his books! --JEREMY


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Art on Fire Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781612940311
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Bywater Books - December 11th, 2012

This book masterfully skewers the contemporary art scene...the agents, the galleries, the academics, and the critics that inhabit it. It is the story of two gifted sisters: one a writer, the other a painter. Both women are inspired, flawed, quirky, and struggle throughout their tragicomic lives with their genius. They garner fame, but personal connections and intimacy allude them. Meanwhile, the art world defines and exploits them. Sounds somber, but there is a whole lot of dark humor sprinkled throughout (Think Tim Burton). Although a work of fiction, this book feels like a biography, complete with footnotes and quotes from other sources. Be forewarned...it is so convincing that it will have you wanting to browse the internet for samples of Francesca deSilva's art work. Winner of the Stonewall Literature Prize 2014. --Walt


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What We See When We Read Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9780804171632
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - August 5th, 2014

Do you love to read? Wait, who am I kidding--you're either reading this review while you're standing in Changing Hands, or you're on our website, perusing our staff recommendations for your next book. Make it this one. The casual book lover to the avid reader will appreciate this exploration of the phenomenon of what we picture in our heads while we read, even when we are only given the sparsest of details by the author. Peter Mendelsund is a graphic artist, and the images he uses throughout this book are nothing short of brilliant. If you're not in the market for a book for yourself, give this book as a gift for the person who's read everything else you could think of giving them. Coming from a person who always has a book on her person, I adored Mendelsund's clear appreciation for what can only be described as the art of reading. --HEATHER H.


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Stay Up With Me: Stories Cover Image
$13.99
ISBN: 9780062258137
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - May 20th, 2014

Whether you are currently the parent of a young adult child, or are a young adult "child" yourself, (Young or old, are we ever not a "child" in our parents' eyes?)....you will find someone to relate to in these stories. Barbash captures both sides of the parent/child dynamic in revelatory fashion. Whether it is the mother who finds her son has gone off to college and returned a piece of eye candy, or it is a son dealing with the attentions being lavished on his recently widowed father, Barbash nails the emotional landscape perfectly. The author covers other territory, as well, but I found the stories dealing with the parent/child dynamic to be my favorites....genuine, sometimes painfully on target, and consistently well written.  --WALT


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Bennington Girls Are Easy Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780385538961
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - July 14th, 2015

Bennington Girls Are Easy is Catcher in the Rye by way of Lena Dunham and I enjoyed every catty page! Not only is Silver's newest an engrossing coming-of-age story about the complicated friendships between women, it catalogs the joys and difficulties of trying to make it in New York. It's not a city I've ever wanted to live in, but I can understand the appeal: it's gritty and glamorous and real and if eking out a living is hard, thriving is a true accomplishment. I lived vicariously through Cassandra and Sylvie: their obsession with delicate French lingerie, their fights and breakups, and drama, their eventual schism - I enjoyed it all! Charlotte Silver is an author to watch! --Lauren P.


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The Weirdness: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781612193151
Published: Melville House - March 4th, 2014

In order to get his novel published, all Billy Ridgeway has to do is save the world by stealing a magical cat figurine from the most powerful warlock on the Eastern Seaboard and hand it over to Lucifer for safekeeping. With a premise like that, do I really even need to say anything else? The Weirdness pretty much sells itself. Bushnell’s zany tale is quirky, unpredictable, hysterical, ridiculous, and downright fun. I read it with manic glee, delighted by its every twist and turn. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face. --JASON


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Burnt Tongues Cover Image
By Chuck Palahniuk (Editor), Richard Thomas (Editor), Dennis Widmyer (Editor)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781605427348
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Medallion Press - August 12th, 2014

Right off the bat, editor Chuck Palahniuk describes the term burnt tongue as "a way of saying something, but saying it wrong, twisting it to slow the reader. Forcing the reader to read close, maybe read twice..." This anthology is the perfect embodiment of that statement. By the second story, my stomach had knotted up so bad, it almost made me sick, yet there were passages I simply couldn't not read twice just because they had so much power. Throughout the rest of the collection, I constantly found myself both exclaiming some version of "holy sh*t!" and texting a friend (a fellow Palahniuk lover) to ask her why I put up with such misery. The answer is simple. The writing in these stories, however graphic, is still brilliant. The language and style reek with Palahniuk's style of blending the horrific with the humorous in that dark way that leaves you wondering why you're laughing while simultaneously feeling like you're about to be ill, and yet, every piece is distinctly each author's own. This anthology is one where the writing will stick with you, and have you mulling over what you read for days to come. --HEATHER H.


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A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip: A Memoir of Seventh Grade Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780804169899
Availability: Special Order - Subject to Availability
Published: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015

Brockmeier's memoir opens two days before the start of his seventh grade year, in Little Rock, Arkansas, 1985. You'll be instantly transported back to the growing pains of junior high through his truly radiant descriptions. Brockmeier captures it all: from magnanimous teachers to friends suddenly turned adversaries, from the heavy sounds of the corridors to slang overheard on the carpool ride home, right down to the taste of Kevin's favorite snack foods after the final bell. Not one thing about his recollections feels artificial--each detail is treated with the care of getting it exactly right. I couldn't help but admire Kevin's unflagging, sometimes cringe-worthy commitment to his own sense of self--although more from recognition than sympathy. We witness first-hand his budding self-awareness; he's always just a tiny step behind in deciphering that line between current socially-acceptable behavior, and what'll invariably lead to savage ridicule. My favorite part of the book comes approximately halfway through, during a particularly dark hour in Kevin's school year. For a single chapter Brockmeier takes a fantastic dip into fantasy, giving both readers and our protagonist a glimpse into his future. Is the author providing his past self reassurance, or us? Either way, it reminds you to take hope. You survived the seventh grade, and Kevin will too. The honest, uplifting ending will leave you reflective, and maybe even a little relieved to be an adult. --EMMY


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Mundo Cruel: Stories Cover Image
By Luis Negron, Suzanne Jill Levine (Translated by)
$13.95
Email or call for price.
ISBN: 9781609804183
Published: Seven Stories Press - March 12th, 2013

Get ready for a brash compelling read. This little volume packs a wallop! The author is going to take you along for a gritty ride through the "gayborhoods" of his native Puerto Rico. And, oh, the people that you are going to meet! What really impressed me here was Negron's ability to submerse me in his culture and place. I felt like I was there among the streets and dwellings of Puerto Rico. I cringed, I laughed, and I commiserated with the characters I met. This collection of nine short stories ranges from the violent to tender--from sexually frank to touchingly poignant. Like after any wild and crazy weekend out of town--you are going to return home exhausted--happy once again to be in the comfort of your own sweet bed. But trust me on this, memories of this trip are going to stick with you. It is a journey well worth taking. --Walt C.


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I, Lucifer: Finally, the Other Side of the Story Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802140142
Availability: Not Available In-Store - Usually Ships from Warehouse in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - April 2nd, 2003

First of all, a warning: this book is not for everyone. If you have any religious sensibilities (or any sensibilities at all, really,) there’s a good chance this book will rub you the wrong way at some point or another. Filled with sin and debauchery, this is one of the most irreverent and offensive books I have ever read. Sometimes it is extremely crude. Sometimes it is downright disgusting. Almost constantly it is blasphemous. But it is also brilliant, insightful, thought-provoking, and utterly hilarious. In this edgy masterpiece of modern satire, the devil walks the Earth in human form, telling his side of the story and enjoying the carnal pleasures of being human along the way. His antics had me alternately ruminating, cringing, and rolling with laughter. The wit and wisdom of Glen Duncan never fails to amaze me, and in my humble opinion, this novel is his crowning achievement. Fans of Chuck Palahniuk will love it. Approach with caution, but read it if you dare. --JASON