Sacramento Public Library

Best Fiction - 2017

    A Separation

    A Separation - Katie Kitamura

    Separating from her faithless husband, only to be drawn into the investigation of his disappearance, a young woman travels to a remote region of the southern Peloponnese, where she traces the failure of the relationship and discovers how little she knew about the man she once loved.
    American War

    American War - Omar El Akkad

    A first novel by an award-winning journalist depicts a second American Civil War and devastating plague in the late 21st century that forces a family into a camp for displaced people, where a young woman is befriended by a mysterious functionary who would transform her into a living weapon.
    An Unkindness of Ghosts

    An Unkindness of Ghosts - Rivers Solomon

    Aster has little to offer folks in the way of rebuttal when they call her ogre and freak. She's used to the names; she only wishes there was more truth to them. If she were truly a monster, she'd be powerful enough to tear down the walls around her until nothing remains of her world. Aster lives in the lowdeck slums of the HSS Matilda, a space vessel organized much like the antebellum South. For generations, Matilda has ferried the last of humanity to a mythical Promised Land. On its way, the ship's leaders have imposed harsh moral restrictions and deep indignities on dark-skinned sharecroppers like Aster. Embroiled in a grudge with a brutal overseer, Aster learns there may be a way to improve her lot--if she's willing to sow the seeds of civil war.
    Anything is Possible

    Anything is Possible - Elizabeth Strout

    Two sisters, one who trades self-respect for a wealthy husband and one who discovers a kindred spirit in the pages of a book, struggle with intimate human dramas at the sides of their community members and a returned Lucy Barton.

    Autumn - Ali Smith

    The debut installment in a series about aging, time, and the nature of stories follows the experiences of a thirty-something lecturer in London who muses on love, art, and life through her relationship with her centenarian former neighbor.
    Bluebird, Bluebird

    Bluebird, Bluebird - Attica Locke

    Forced by duty to return to his racially divided East Texas hometown, an African-American Texas Ranger risks his job and reputation to investigate a highly charged double-murder case involving a black Chicago lawyer and a local white woman.
    Exit West

    Exit West - Mohsin Hamid

    The internationally best-selling author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist presents the story of two young lovers whose furtive affair is shaped by local unrest on the eve of a civil war that erupts in a cataclysmic bombing attack, forcing them to abandon their previous home and lives.
    Forest Dark

    Forest Dark - Nicole Krauss

    Giving away all of his personal possessions after retiring, a once-ambitious man embarks on a journey to honor his parents in Israel, where a blocked writer is drawn into a mystery that alters her life in unimaginable ways. By the award-winning author of The History of Love.
    Fresh Complaint: Stories

    Fresh Complaint: Stories - Jeffrey Eugenides

    A first collection of short stories by the Pulitzer Prize winner includes the tales of a failed poet-turned-embezzler, a young traveler seeking enlightenment, and a high schooler whose drastic decision upends a British physicist's life.
    Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York

    Golden Hill: A Novel of Old New York - Francis Spufford

    When a mysterious man shows up at the countinghouse in 1746 New York with an order for a huge sum of money, the local colonial merchants can't decide if they should trust him, befriend him, arrest him, seduce him, or kill him.
    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories

    Her Body and Other Parties: Stories - Carmen Maria Machado

    In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.
    History of Wolves

    History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund

    Living with her parents in a nearly abandoned counterculture commune, 14-year-old Linda finds her perspectives and desires changed by the scandal-marked arrest of a teacher and the secrets of a new neighbor family as she wrestles with the consequences of actions and failures in the name of love.

    Less - Andrew Sean Greer

    Receiving an invitation to his ex-boyfriend's wedding, Arthur, a failed novelist on the eve of his fiftieth birthday, embarks on an international journey that finds him falling in love, risking his life, reinventing himself, and making connections with the past.
    Lincoln in the Bardo

    Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders

    A long-awaited first novel by the National Book Award-nominated, New York Times best-selling author of Tenth of December traces a night of solitary mourning and reflection as experienced by the 16th President after the death of his 11-year-old son at the dawn of the Civil War.
    Little Fires Everywhere

    Little Fires Everywhere - Celeste Ng

    Fighting an ugly custody battle with an artistic tenant who has little regard for the strict rules of their progressive Cleveland suburb, a straitlaced family woman who is seeking to adopt a baby becomes obsessed with exposing the tenant's past, only to trigger devastating consequences for both of their families.
    Manhattan Beach

    Manhattan Beach - Jennifer Egan

    Years after she is placed in the hands of a stranger vital to her family's survival, Anna takes a job at the Brooklyn Naval Yard during the war while meeting with the man who helped them and learning important truths about her father's disappearance. By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Visit from the Goon Squad.
    My Absolute Darling

    My Absolute Darling - Gabriel Tallent

    Enduring an isolated existence after the death of her mother, 14-year-old Turtle roams the rocky shores and tide pools of the California coast and refutes every outside attempt to engage her before an unexpected friendship with a newcomer helps her realize the vulnerabilities of her life with her charismatic father.

    Pachinko - Min Jin Lee

    In early 1900s Korea, prized daughter Sunja finds herself pregnant and alone, bringing shame on her family until a young tubercular minister offers to marry her and move with her to Japan, in the saga of one family bound together as their faith and identity are called into question.

    Refugees - Viet Thanh Nguyen

    The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Sympathizer presents a new collection of stories, written over a 20-year period, which explores questions of home, family, immigration, the American experience and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives.
    Sing, Unburied, Sing

    Sing, Unburied, Sing - Jesmyn Ward

    Living with his grandparents and toddler sister on a Gulf Coast farm, Jojo navigates the challenges of his tormented mother's addictions and his grandmother's terminal cancer before the release of his father from prison prompts a road trip of danger and hope. By the National Book Award-winning author of Salvage the Bones.
    The Answers

    The Answers - Catherine Lacey

    Needing money to treat her chronic disease, Mary, a young woman living in New York, agrees to be part of an eccentric actor's experiment to use different women to create the perfect relationship and agrees to be the "Emotional Girlfriend," with unforeseen consequences.
    The Bear and the Nightingale

    The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden

    A debut novel inspired by Russian fairy tales follows the experiences of a wild young girl who taps the mysterious powers of a precious necklace given to her father years earlier to save her village from dark and dangerous forces.
    The Book of Joan

    The Book of Joan - Lidia Yuknavitch

    After a series of endless wars sends most humans to live on a mysterious platform known as CIEL, the remaining earthlings, who have mutated, become galvanized by a child-warrior named Joan who possesses a mysterious power and can commune with the earth.
    The Changeling

    The Changeling - Victor LaValle

    Resolving to commit to marriage and parenthood unlike the father who abandoned him, Apollo Kagwa, who suffers from bizarre dreams, is shocked when his wife commits an act of astounding violence before disappearing, compelling Apollo's odyssey through a world he barely understands.
    The Essex Serpent

    The Essex Serpent - Sarah Perry

    An American debut of an award-winning book from England is set in the late-19th century and follows the experiences of an intellectually minded young widow and a pious vicar who investigate rumors about a mythical sea creature that has been blamed for a death in coastal Essex.
    The Idiot

    The Idiot - Elif Batuman

    Embarking on her freshman year at Harvard in 1995, Selin, the daughter of Turkish immigrants, begins a correspondence with an older mathematics student from Hungary while struggling with her changing sense of self, first love, and a daunting career prospect.
    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - Arundhati Roy

    A provocative love story by the award-winning author of The God of Small Things meanders through a spectrum of powerful emotions experienced by diverse protagonists, including a grieving father who writes a letter profiling the people who came to his 5-year-old daughter's funeral and two longtime friends at a guest house who sleep wrapped around each other like newlyweds.
    The Ninth Hour

    The Ninth Hour - Alice McDermott

    A portrait of the Irish-American experience is presented through the story of an Irish immigrant's suicide and how it reverberates through innumerable lives in early twentieth-century Catholic Brooklyn.
    The Power

    The Power - Naomi Alderman

    In a novel of speculative fiction, an award-winning author contemplates a world where teenage girls now have immense physical power—they can cause agonizing pain and even death, drastically resetting the balance of the world.
    The Stone Sky

    The Stone Sky - N.K. Jemisin

    A conclusion to the Hugo Award-winning, post-apocalyptic trilogy that began with The Fifth Season reveals how the powers and agendas of two women determine the fate of humankind in the wake of a returning Moon.

    Transit - Rachel Cusk

    Moving to London with her two young sons in the wake of a family collapse, a writer endures personal, moral, artistic and practical transitions while confronting difficult questions about her vulnerability and power. By the author of Aftermath.
    What It Means When A Man Falls from the Sky

    What It Means When A Man Falls from the Sky - Lesley Nneka Arimah

    A debut collection by a prize-winning writer explores the ties that bind people to each other and their homes as reflected in stories featuring generations of women haunted by the ghosts of war, a daughter who is outraged by the return of her believed-dead mother and a decimated refugee world where resolutions have unforeseen consequences.
    White Tears

    White Tears - Hari Kunzru

    Two ambitious young musicians—one shy, the other a glamorous heir—are drawn into the dark underworld of blues-record collecting while navigating the ghosts of a repressive past and the fallout of a scam involving one's claim that a viral video of an unknown singer is the long-lost recording of a famous blues musician.
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