We’re always on the lookout for books that strike a chord with our readers. This week in New & Notable we focus on the “family dramas”—a young girl’s disappearance unearths a community’s secrets; a widow rediscovers passion in the tangled lives of her neighbors; and a family comes together to rescue an overeating matriarch.

 

Fiction

1376934803955.cachedClaire of the Sea Light, by Edwidge Danticat

From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town in Ville Rose, Haiti, where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself.  (Excerpted from Alfred A. Knopf, publisher.)

Review:

“Danticat once again tells a story that feels as mysterious and magical as a folk tale and as effective and devastating as a newsreel. . .[She] paints a stunning portrait of this small Haitian town, in which the equally impossible choices of life and death play out every day.” —Publishers Weekly

 

 

Psychological Fiction

1376935330367.cachedThe Affairs of Others, by Amy Grace Loyd

A mesmerizing debut novel about a woman, haunted by loss, who rediscovers passion and possibility when she’s drawn into the tangled lives of her neighbors. Five years after her young husband’s death, Celia Cassill has moved from one Brooklyn neighborhood to another, but she has not moved on. The owner of a small apartment building, she has chosen her tenants for their ability to respect one another’s privacy. Everything changes with the arrival of a new tenant, Hope, a dazzling woman of a certain age on the run from her husband’s recent betrayal. When Hope begins a torrid and noisy affair, and another tenant mysteriously disappears, the carefully constructed walls of Celia’s world are tested and the sanctity of her building is shattered—through violence and sex, in turns tender and dark.  (Excerpted from Picador, publisher.)
Review:

“For first-time novelist Amy Grace Loyd, an apartment building is not simply housing. It is also a metaphor for the paradoxical isolation and proximity we feel among others. . . .With forceful, sensual prose (the author is captivated by the scents of people and places), Loyd allows Celia to discover that ‘life had as many gains as losses as long as we were willing to tally them.’ ”—O, The Oprah Magazine 

 

 

Fiction | Family Drama

9781455507207The Middlesteins, by Jami Attenberg

For more than thirty years, Edie and Richard Middlestein shared a solid family life together in the suburbs of Chicago. But now things are splintering apart, for one reason, it seems: Edie’s enormous girth. She’s obsessed with food—thinking about it, eating it—and if she doesn’t stop, she won’t have much longer to live.

When Richard abandons his wife, it is up to the next generation to take control. Robin, their schoolteacher daughter, is determined that her father pay for leaving Edie. Benny, an easy-going, pot-smoking family man, just wants to smooth things over. And Rachelle—a whippet thin perfectionist—is intent on saving her mother-in-law’s life, but this task proves even bigger than planning her twin children’s spectacular b’nai mitzvah party. Through it all, they wonder: do Edie’s devastating choices rest on her shoulders alone, or are others at fault, too? (Excerpted from Grand Central Publishing, publisher.)

Review:

“With a wit that never mocks and a tenderness that never gushes, [Attenberg] renders this family’s ordinary tragedies as something surprisingly affecting. . . . Attenberg is superb at mocking the cliches of middle-class life by giving them the slightest turn to make people suddenly real and wholly sympathetic.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post

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