Literary Fiction

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Cassie Draws the Universe

Rating: 4
A combination of Catcher in the Rye, A Clockwork Orange, Silence of the Lambs and Girl Interrupted, “Cassie Draws the Universe” is opera. It is opulent, grand and brilliant in strange ways, executed with a low grade fever.
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The Siren's Call

Rating: 3
Steve and Kip are successful lawyers. Initially rivals, they teamed up in high school to form an unbeatable team. As the story begins, Steve's girlfriend has been tragically killed by a drunk driver. Steve begins hearing voices. After he confides this to Kip, his friend decides to take him to Hawaii to help him recover. But Kip is hiding a terrible secret from his partner and best friend, one that could destroy their relationship.
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Born in Rio

Rating: 4
Rita Ray is uprooted by her mother, Maia, from their home in Brazil for a new life in Florida. She works hard and becomes a successful banker in New York but seldom dates and keeps everyone at a distance, until the day she gets a call informing her that her mother is dying from cancer. Rita rushes to the hospital, anxious to make up for her fifteen years of absence. The reunion is not to be.
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Ladies of the Borobudur

Rating: 3.5
Barbara Haines Howett’s eleven interlinked stories take us into the lives of ex-pat women in Indonesia in the early 1970s. There are two worlds to explore here: colorful Indonesia and the claustrophobic world of corporate wives--before feminism made its mark.
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Spoonful

Rating: 5
Michael Lira is a crafty heroin addict with all sorts of sordid things going on. Not only does he manage not to work and always have enough cash for drugs, but his escapades along the way make for a great story.
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Rising Sunsets

Rating: 2
David Fletcher is an American who is starting a new life as a teacher in Japan. He leaves behind him his loving and supportive mother, but also a failed relationship with his girlfriend and his abusive father.
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The Spectacular Simon Burchwood

Rating: 2
Determined to reassemble reclaim his shattered life, Simon and a pair of oddball sidekicks embark on a quest to answer the “question of all questions”: Why is life so hard?
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The Meteoric Rise of Simon Burchwood

Rating: 3.5
Weaves a heartrending portrait of lowered expectation: of a man eschewing, and ultimately embracing, mediocrity.
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Glorify Each Day

Rating: 3
Tommy Morrison is too complex a guy for his own good and the story he tells reflects the depth of his complexity.
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A Secret of the Universe

Rating: 4.5
In delving into the depths of human nature and rationality as few have before, A Secret of the Universe provides a new take on the battle between faith and skepticism for the post-9/11 world.
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A Very Rich Man

Rating: 3
A wealthy and socially prominent family reunites in the wake of a father's aneurysm, and all hell breaks loose as a brother and sister uncover a wealth of secrets about their father's past.
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A Multitude of Mercies

Rating: 4
A gut-wrenchingly honest look at a family dealing with schizophrenia, A Multitude of Mercies travels from the depths of despair to the ultimate triumph of love and acceptance.
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Able Was I

Rating: 4.5
Able Was I begins by introducing us to Grey Tigrett, an American college student tooling around Italy for a summer before graduation. On the island of Elba (yes, Napoleon's Elba) Grey, who came to the island with a longtime girlfriend, has a brief but significant amorous encounter with an Italian man named Antonio.
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The Life of O'Reilly

Rating: 4
Nick O’Reilly is a 36-year-old partner in a prestigious Manhattan law firm. Though he’s devoted to his legal career, there’s a side of O’Reilly that knows, even at the onset of this emotionally suspenseful novel, that all is not right with his world.
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The Last Cookie Club

Rating: 3
This moving fictional tale is informed by real-life experience about the roots of food addiction.
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Vencil

Rating: 4.5
Like Jeannette Walls in her memoir, The Glass Castle, Shima does a fine job of comparing and contrasting city and country life through the eyes of a child.
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Eat When You Feel Sad

Rating: 3.5
Twenty-two year-old Zachary German's debut novel, Eat When You Feel Sad, is blowing up all over.
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Outro

Rating: 4
A witty tale--incredibly perceptive--almost to the point where one's worst nightmare would be a date with the author at a local Karaoke bar, the back-drop for the novel.
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Waiting for the World to End

Rating: 4
An intimate portrait of what Thoreau might call a "life of quiet desperation," and its depiction of a love that is kept permanently at a distance.
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Ere I Saw Elba

Rating: 4
Amidst the turmoil of World War II, the second book in the Elba trilogy tackles universal themes like the human ability for forgiveness and redemption.
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Able Was I

Rating: 3.5
A gay protagaonist with a universal plight whose story unfolds against lovingly drawn, evocative depictions of New York City and Italy.
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The Skye in June

Rating: 4.5
A beautifully written, convincing portrayal of a family, in which growth comes by squarely facing the past and accepting all of its truths.