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Novels about Marriage or Family  

This guide is designed to help students find novels about marriage or family for sociology assignments - or just for leisure reading.
Last Updated: Aug 29, 2011 URL: http://libguides.southalabama.edu/familyfiction Print Guide RSS Updates
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Guide Author

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Ellen Wilson
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University Library 250
251-460-6045
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Instructional Services Librarian
My favorite books are:
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World, Emotionally Weird, A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again, Franny and Zooey, Imogene's Antlers
 

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Did we miss one of your favorites? Email ewilson@southalabama.edu or leave a comment here and we'll see about adding it to the list.

 

Selected Novels about Marriage or Family

Many, many novels have been written about marriage or family. This is just a brief sampling of titles held by the Marx Library.

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The Beans of Egypt, Maine - Carolyn Chute
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3553 .H87 B4 1985
ISBN: 0899193625
The Beans of Egypt, Maine introduced the world to the notorious, unforgettable Bean clan of small town Egypt, Maine—from wild man Reuben, an alcoholic who can't seem to keep himself out of jail; to his cousins, the perpetually pregnant Roberta, and Beal, a man gentle by temperament but violent in defeat who marries his pious neighbor, Earlene Pomerleau before poverty kills him. Through her story of the Beans' struggle with their inner demons to survive against hardship and societal ignorance, Chute emerged as a writer of immense humanity and unparalleled insight into a world most of us knew little of—if wed recognized it at all. -from Amazon.com

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Big Fish - Daniel Wallace
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3573 .A4256348 B5 2003
ISBN: 0142004278
When his attempts to get to know his dying father fail, William Bloom makes up stories that recreate his father's life in heroic proportions. - from Amazon.com

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The Birth of Venus - Sarah Dunant
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 6054 .U45756 B58 2003b
ISBN: 1400060737
Alessandra Cecchi is not quite fifteen when her father, a prosperous cloth merchant, brings a young painter back from northern Europe to decorate the chapel walls in the family’s Florentine palazzo. A child of the Renaissance, with a precocious mind and a talent for drawing, Alessandra is intoxicated by the painter’s abilities. But their burgeoning relationship is interrupted when Alessandra’s parents arrange her marriage to a wealthy, much older man. - from Amazon.com

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The Brave - Nicholas Evans
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 6055 .V213 B73 2010
ISBN: 9780316033787
There's little love in eight-year-old Tom Bedford's life. His parents are old and remote and the boarding school they've sent him to bristles with bullies and sadistic staff. The only comfort he gets is from his fantasy world of Cowboys and Indians. But when his sister Diane, a rising star of stage and screen, falls in love with one of his idols, the suave TV cowboy Ray Montane, Tom's life is transformed. They move to Hollywood and all his dreams seem to have come true. Soon, however, the sinister side of Tinseltown casts its shadow and a shocking act of violence changes their lives forever... What happened all those years ago remains a secret that corrodes Tom's life and wrecks his marriage. - from Amazon.com

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The Brothers K - David James Duncan
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3554 .U4634 B7 1992
ISBN: 0385240031
Duncan took almost 10 years to follow up the publication of his much-praised first novel, The River Why, but this massive second effort is well worth the wait. It is a stunning work: a complex tapestry of family tensions, baseball, politics and religion, by turns hilariously funny and agonizingly sad. Highly inventive formally, the novel is mainly narrated by Kincaid Chance, the youngest son in a family of four boys and identical twin girls, the children of Hugh Chance, a discouraged minor-league ballplayer whose once-promising career was curtained by an industrial accident, and his wife Laura, an increasingly fanatical Seventh-Day Adventist. The plot traces the working-out of the family's fate from the beginning of the Eisenhower years through the traumas of Vietnam. - from Amazon.com

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The Brothers Karamazov - Fyodor Dostoevsky
Call Number: Bookstacks PG 3325 .B7
ISBN: 0374528373
The story takes place in the mid-nineteenth century in the Russian town of Skotoprigonyvski. Fyodor Karamazov, a successful but corrupt businessman prone to swindling and debauchery, has fathered three sons: Dmitri (by his first wife), and Ivan and Alexey (by his second wife). Upon the deaths of their mothers (whom he mistreated), Karamazov neglected his sons, leaving them in the care of his servant, Grigory. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3537 .A426 C38 1964
ISBN: 0316769177
Although The Catcher in the Rye caused considerable controversy when it was first published in 1951, the book—the account of three disoriented days in the life of a troubled sixteen-year-old boy—was an instant hit. Within two weeks after its release, it was listed number one on The New York Times best-seller list, and it stayed there for thirty weeks. It remained immensely popular for many years, especially among teenagers and young adults, largely because of its fresh, brash style and anti-establishment attitudes—typical attributes of many people emerging from the physical and psychological turmoil of adolescence. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Color Purple - Alice Walker
Call Number: Books PS 3573 .A425 C6 1992
ISBN: 0156028352
The Color Purple is regarded as Walker's most successful and critically acclaimed work. Written in an epistolary style, the novel depicts the harsh life of a young African-American woman in the South in the early twentieth century. The Color Purple explores the individual identity of the African-American woman and how embracing that identity and bonding with other women affects the health of her community at large. Although some reviewers have taken issue with the novel's portrayal of Black men, the novel has largely been celebrated by critics and popular audiences alike, winning both the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1983. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Corrections - Jonathan Franzen
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3556 .R352 C67 2001
ISBN: 0374100128
After almost 50 years as a wife and mother, Enid Lambert is ready to have some fun. Unfortunately, her husband, Alfred, is losing his sanity to Parkinson's disease, and their children are all making catastrophes of their own lives. Enid however, has her heart set on one last family Christmas. - from Amazon.com

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A Death in the Family - James Agee
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3501 .G35 D4
Set in Knoxville, Tennessee, where Agee himself grew up, the novel recreates his childhood experience of his own father's death, providing a close-up view of life in a small American city in the period just before the nation's entry into World War I. - from Literature Resource Center

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East of Eden - John Steinbeck
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3537 .T3234 E38 2003
ISBN: 0670033049
Steinbeck's canvas is broad in this work, for he chronicles three generations in two families, the Hamiltons and the Trasks, spanning the years between the Civil War and World War I. The Hamiltons are based on Steinbeck's own family, his mother's ancestors, and we follow their journey from Ireland to the Salinas Valley in California. He originally intended the work to be a family chronicle for his sons, and he often addresses them directly as the narrator of the novel. He created the Trask family to provide contrast to the Hamiltons; however, as the novel developed, they became the main focus of the work. - from Literature Resource Center

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Emma - Jane Austen
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 4034 .E5
ISBN: 0521824370
Emma... focuses on the intelligent, wealthy, and beautiful Emma Woodhouse. After her companion and governess, Miss Taylor, marries the Woodhouse's neighbor Mr. Weston, Emma is left alone at Hartfield manor with her kind but worrisome father. She befriends Harriet Smith, a seventeen-year-old girl of uncertain parentage who is attending the local school and whom Emma decides should be elevated to a higher social station than the one she currently occupies. She persuades the ever-deferring Harriet to reject the marriage proposal of the respectable farmer Robert Martin and to pin her hopes on the young clergyman, Mr. Elton. Emma scorns the warning of her sister's brother-in-law (and the Woodhouses' neighbor) Mr. Knightley that her friendship with Harriet benefits neither. She is chagrined when Mr. Elton proposes to her instead of to Harriet, and she rejects him. -Literature Resource Center

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Emotionally Weird - Kate Atkinson
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 6051 .T56 E4 2001
ISBN: 031227999X
A thoroughly original and hilarious novel about mothers, daughters, and love, by the author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum. On a weather-beaten island off the coast of Scotland, Effie and her mother, Nora, take refuge in the large, mouldering house of their ancestors and tell each other stories. Nora, at first, recounts nothing that Effie really wants to hear--like who her real father was. ... But as mother and daughter spin their tales, strange things are happening around them. Is Effie being followed? Is someone killing the old people? And where is the mysterious yellow dog? - from Amazon.com

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Gilead - Marilynne Robinson
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3568 .O3125 G55 2005
ISBN: 0786272015
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson was published in 2004 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005, amid widespread acclaim. This epistolary novel presents a sympathetic portrait of Reverend John Ames, who writes about his life and his beliefs ever mindful of the fact that he has only a short time to live. Reverend Ames takes up the task of writing in the hopes that his little boy will read this book when he is an adult and thus become acquainted with the father he may barely remember otherwise. This is a story of fathers and sons. John Ames, the narrator, tells a story of three generations of fathers named John Ames, addressing it to the single direct descendent, the unnamed son readers may assume is the fourth John Ames. The story of the Ames family includes the story of the narrator's best friend, Robert Boughton, and his son who was named after the narrator, John Ames Boughton. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Good Husband - Gail Godwin
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3557 .O315 G65 1994
ISBN: 0345372433
The Good Husband by Gail Godwin is a novel set in a small college town in upstate New York in the early 1990s. It centers on the adventures of Alice Henry, an unhappy wife of a novelist, and her desire to attain true love. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 9199.3 .A8 H3 1986
Set in Massachusetts, this dystopian novel takes place several decades in the future. After the assassination of the president and the suspension of the Constitution, the United States is no longer operating as a democracy; rather, it is a religious dictatorship called the Republic of Gilead. Offred, the narrator and protagonist, is a married woman and a mother who, while trying to escape the country, has been taken as a government hostage. Her daughter has been kidnapped and her husband is presumed dead. Offred, whose name derives from the name of her Commander, Fred, is to be a Handmaid, forced into surrogate motherhood for Fred and his wife, who is now too old to bear children... Should she not become pregnant, she will be sent to a toxic waste site for the remainder of her days. - from Literature Resource Center

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In the Fall - Jeffrey Lent
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3562 .E4934 I5 2000
ISBN: 0871137658
In the twilight of the Civil War, Leah, an escaped slave, discovers Norman Pelham, a wounded soldier who lies dying in a battlefield outside Richmond. After she nurses him back to health, Norman brings her to his family farm in Vermont as his wife, and they begin a family. Now the mother of three, and however begrudgingly, accepted in the community, Leah travels back to the South of her birth and returns with a secret that threatens to destroy what she and Norman had created. Her son Jamie, passing for white, escapes his legacy and enters a world of petty bootlegging, achieving a kind of respectability in the Prohibition era, but also suffering wrenching losses. At the eve of the Great Depression his son, Foster, retraces the path taken by his grandmother and finally confronts the secret exposed by an unknown white uncle, the legacy of slavery, and the painful intricacies of race. - from Amazon.com

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Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 4167 .J3 1981
ISBN: 0140430113
Published in 1847, Jane Eyre brought almost instant fame to its author.... In writing Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë did not write a mere romantic potboiler. Her book has serious things to say about a number of important subjects: the relations between men and women, women's equality, the treatment of children and of women, religious faith and religious hypocrisy (and the difference between the two), the realization of selfhood, and the nature of true love. But again, if its concerns were only topical, it would not have outlived the time in which it was written. - from Literature Resource Center

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Little Women - Louisa May Alcott
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 1017 .L58 1994
ISBN: 0679436421
Without a doubt, Little Women remains Louisa May Alcott's best-known work. Its charm and innocence continue to engage readers, despite the fact that the social and familial reality depicted is very different from contemporary domestic life. Jo March is regarded as one of the most complete, self-possessed, and best-loved characters in children's literature. In fact, many boys find that they can relate to her almost as easily as girls can. While some present-day readers find Jo and her sisters too good to be realistic, according to the standards of Alcott's society, the March girls are flawed and vulnerable. The author dared to give her characters faults such as selfishness, vanity, temper, and bashfulness--qualities never seen before in such young characters. - from Literature Resource Center

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Lousiana Power & Light - John Dufresne
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3554 .U325 L68 2008
ISBN: 0393330524
Billy Wayne Fontana is the sole survivor of his oddball line of marginal folk, legendary in this backwater for being the most-often-executed and sickest white family in the Delta; and when he acquires a priestly vocation it seems likely he will be the last Fontana. While confessing young Earlene deBastrop, however, he is smitten and marries her; unfaithfulness with Tami Lynne follows, then--miraculously--a second marriage and the birth of two boys, one with a rocky heart, the other a cripple. How perplexed Billy Wayne, intending always the best but fatally impulsive, brings disaster upon himself and his little family is the center of the tale... - from Amazon.com

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March - Geraldine Brooks
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 9619.3 .B7153 M37 2005
ISBN: 0670033359
From Louisa May Alcott’s beloved classic Little Women, Geraldine Brooks has taken the character of the absent father, March, who has gone off to war, leaving his wife and daughters to make do in mean times. To evoke him, Brooks turned to the journals and letters of Bronson Alcott, Louisa May’s father—a friend and confidant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In her telling, March emerges as an idealistic chaplain in the little known backwaters of a war that will test his faith in himself and in the Union cause as he learns that his side, too, is capable of acts of barbarism and racism. As he recovers from a near mortal illness, he must reassemble his shattered mind and body and find a way to reconnect with a wife and daughters who have no idea of the ordeals he has been through. - publisher's description from SOUTHcat

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The Miracle Life of Edgar Mint - Brady Udall
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3571 .D36 M57 2002
ISBN: 0375719180
"If I could tell you only one thing about my life it would be this: when I was seven years old the mailman ran over my head. As formative events go, nothing else comes close."

With these words Edgar Mint, half-Apache and mostly orphaned, makes his unshakable claim on our attention. In the course of Brady Udall’s high-spirited, inexhaustibly inventive novel, Edgar survives not just this bizarre accident, but a hellish boarding school for Native American orphans, a well-meaning but wildly dysfunctional Mormon foster-family, and the loss of most of the illusions that are supposed to make life bearable.

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Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Stout
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3569 .T736 O5 2008c
ISBN: 0812971833
Olive is not an immediately likable character. In the opening story, "Pharmacy," she announces that she will no longer accompany her kind, long-suffering husband to church. "You, Mr. Head Deacon Claptrap Nice Guy, expect me to give up my Sunday mornings and go sit among a bunch of snotwots!" she shouts in fury. She's a person who never apologizes, who says what she thinks and who doesn't care if she offends people. Only a few of her students remember her fondly. Yet she helps a young doctor who is on the verge of suicide and forms a strong bond of sympathy with an anorexic girl. Henry, her husband, suffers from her black moods and temper, but also loves and appreciates her. And by the end of the book, so may the reader. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Optimist's Daughter - Eudora Welty
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3545 .E6
ISBN: 0394726677
Set for the most part in Mount Salus, Mississippi, the novel is divided into four sections. Part One deals with the death of Judge Clinton McKelva, attended by his daughter Laurel McKelva Hand and Wanda Fay Chisom McKelva, her father's selfish, vulgar second wife. Part Two covers the funeral of Judge McKelva and gives further insight into the vapid, grasping Chisom family. In the third and fourth sections, Laurel's introspective thoughts on her family and her own life are described as she realizes that she must now turn her family's home over to the ruthless Wanda Fay. - from Literature Resource Center

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Out Stealing Horses - Per Petterson
Call Number: Bookstacks PT 8951.26 .E88 U813 2008
ISBN: 0312427085
Award-winning Norwegian novelist Petterson renders the meditations of Trond Sander, a man nearing 70, dwelling in self-imposed exile at the eastern edge of Norway in a primitive cabin. Trond's peaceful existence is interrupted by a meeting with his only neighbor, who seems familiar. The meeting pries loose a memory from a summer day in 1948 when Trond's friend Jon suggests they go out and steal horses. That distant summer is transformative for Trond as he reflects on the fragility of life while discovering secrets about his father's wartime activities. The past also looms in the present: Trond realizes that his neighbor, Lars, is Jon's younger brother, who "pulls aside the fifty years with a lightness that seems almost indecent." Trond becomes immersed in his memory, recalling that summer that shaped the course of his life while, in the present, Trond and Lars prepare for the winter, allowing Petterson to dabble in parallels both bold and subtle. Petterson coaxes out of Trond's reticent, deliberate narration a story as vast as the Norwegian tundra. - from Amazon.com

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The Pearl - John Steinbeck
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3537 .T3234 P4 2002
ISBN: 0142000698
For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to tragedy. Kino and his wife illustrate the fall from innocence of people who believe that wealth erases all problems. - from SOUTHcat

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Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 4034 .P7
ISBN: 0393096688
Perhaps the most famous opening lines from any nineteenth-century novel are the opening lines to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." - from Literature Resource Center

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Push - Sapphire
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3569 .A63 P87 1996
ISBN: 9780679446262
The basis for the movie Precious. Precious Jones, an illiterate sixteen-year-old, has up until now been invisible to the father who rapes her and the mother who batters her and to the authorities who dismiss her as just one more of Harlem's casualties. But when Precious, pregnant with a second child by her father, meets a determined and radical teacher, we follow her on a journey of education and enlightenment as she learns not only how to write about her life, but how to make it truly her own for the first time. - from Amazon.com

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Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 6007 .U47 R4
ISBN: 0385043805
"Last Night I Dreamt I Went To Manderley Again." So the second Mrs. Maxim de Winter remembered the chilling events that led her down the turning drive past ther beeches, white and naked, to the isolated gray stone manse on the windswept Cornish coast. With a husband she barely knew, the young bride arrived at this immense estate, only to be inexorably drawn into the life of the first Mrs. de Winter, the beautiful Rebecca, dead but never forgotten...her suite of rooms never touched, her clothes ready to be worn, her servant -- the sinister Mrs. Danvers -- still loyal. And as an eerie presentiment of evil tightened around her heart, the second Mrs. de Winter began her search for the real fate of Rebecca...for the secrets of Manderley. - from Amazon.com

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The Road - Cormac McCarthy
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3563 .C337 R63 2006
ISBN: 0307265439
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-—and each other.The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son, "each the other's world entire," are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, it is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total devastation. - from Amazon.com

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The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 1868 .A1
ISBN: 1904633129
The Scarlet Letter opens with an expectant crowd standing in front of a Boston prison in the early 1640s. When the prison door opens, a young woman named Hester Prynne emerges, with a baby in her arms, and a scarlet letter "A" richly embroidered on her breast. For her crime of adultery, to which both the baby and the letter attest, she must proceed to the scaffold and stand for judgment by her community. - from Literature Resource Center

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The Spectator Bird - Wallace Stegner
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3537 .T316 S6 1990
ISBN: 0140139400
Joe Allston is a retired literary agent who is, in his own words, "just killing time until time gets around to killing me." His parents and his only son are long dead, leaving him with neither ancestors nor descendants, tradition nor ties. His job, trafficking the talent of others, had not been his choice. He passes through life as a spectator.

A postcard from a friend causes Allston to return to the journals of a trip he had taken years before, a journey to his mother's birth­place where he'd sought a link with the past. The memories of that trip, both grotesque and poignant, move through layers of time and meaning, and reveal that Joe Allston isn't quite spectator enough. - from Amazon.com

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The Stone Diaries - Carol Shields
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 9199.3 .S514 S76 1995
ISBN: 014023313X
Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1995, The Stone Diaries, by Carol Shields, relates the ordinary life of Daisy Goodwill Hoad Flett. The novel incorporates many different narrative devices, including letters, newspaper articles, and conversations with family and friends. The narrative often switches between the first and third person, and explores the limitations and difficulties of trying to chronicle one person's life, proving that, because someone's life is amassed of infinite details, events, and unspoken thoughts, "the recounting of a life is a cheat, of course."

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Their Eyes Were Watching God - Zora Neale Hurston
Call Number: Bookstacks PS3515.U789 T639 1998
ISBN: 0060931418
In this novel, Hurston explores social and personal relations within black families and communities, while also examining issues of gender and class. One theme through which these issues of gender, race, and class are examined is voice. At several points in the text, Janie Starks, the protagonist, is prohibited from speaking, while at other points she chooses not to speak. Silence, then, is sometimes used as a tool of oppression and at other times as a tool of power. - from Literature Resource Center

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A Thousand Acres - Jane Smiley
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3569 .M39 T47 1991
ISBN: 0394577736
Jane Smiley's A Thousand Acres was published in New York in 1991 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction the following year. Primarily set in rural Iowa in 1979, the story revolves around a dysfunctional farm family headed by patriarch Larry Cook. With the realization that he is aging, Cook decides to incorporate his thousand-acre farm and divide it among his three daughters. When the youngest daughter expresses doubt about the wisdom of her father's plan, she is excluded from the contract. This sets in motion a series of life-altering events that leads to the physical and psychological breakdown of the Cook family. - from Literature Resource Center

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Three Junes - Julia Glass
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3607 .L37 T48 2002
ISBN: 9780375422416
Three Junes, published in 2002 to critical acclaim, was Julia Glass's debut novel. A triptych, or work of art in three parts, Three Junes unfolds over three different summers, during the years 1989, 1995, and 1999. Set in Greece, Scotland, Greenwich Village, and Long Island, the novel tells the intersecting stories of Scottish widower Paul McLeod, his son Fenno, who owns a bookstore in Manhattan, and a young widowed artist, Fern Olitsky. Thematically, the novel has universal appeal in its portrayal of grief, fate, hope, and family connection. It earned Glass a National Book Award. - from Literature Resource Center

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Up Country - Alden R. Carter
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3553 .A77 U6 1989
ISBN: 0399215832
When his mother’s drinking problem causes him to spend several months with country relatives in upstate Wisconsin, sixteen-year-old Carl begins to build a new life for himself, only to see it threatened by a serious mistake from his painful past. - from SOUTHcat

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Voices of a Summer Day - Irwin Shaw
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3537 .H384 V6
"Four decades of American life are re-created through the dramatic reminiscences of Benjamin Federov, a typical yet very special man, son of Immigrant Jewish parents, a husband, a father, an admirer of women, a one-time soldier ... and finally, and always, his own man. Federov's story is relived while watching his teen-age son play baseball in the sunshine of a summer day. It tells of the intrigue and exultation of his first love affair, his war experiences, the volatile warmth of his marriage, and the special meaning of his infidelities. Through it all is his quest for a point of balance as he stands on the edge of conventional society, desirous of entering, refusing always to do so." -from Amazon.com

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Waiting - Ha Jin
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3560 .I6 W34 2000
ISBN: 0375706410
This is the story of Lin Kong, a man living in two worlds, struggling with the conflicting claims of two utterly different women as he moves through the political minefields of a society designed to regulate his every move and stifle the promptings of his innermost heart. For more than seventeen years, this devoted and ambitious doctor has been in love with an educated, clever, modern woman, Manna Wu. But back in the traditional world of his home village lives the wife his family chose for him when he was young--a humble and touchingly loyal woman, whom he visits in order to ask, again and again, for a divorce. In a culture in which the ancient ties of tradition and family still hold sway and where adultery discovered by the Party can ruin lives forever, Lin’s passionate love is stretched ever more taut by the passing years. Every summer, his compliant wife agrees to a divorce but then backs out. This time, Lin promises, will be different. - from SOUTHcat

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While I Was Gone - Sue Miller
Call Number: Bookstacks PS3563 .I421444 W47 2000
ISBN: 0345443284
Jo Becker has every reason to be content. She has three dynamic daughters, a loving marriage, and a rewarding career. But she feels a sense of unease. Then an old housemate reappears, sending Jo back to a distant past when she lived in a communal house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Drawn deeper into her memories of that fateful summer in 1968, Jo begins to obsess about the person she once was. As she is pulled farther from her present life, her husband, and her world, Jo struggles against becoming enveloped by her past and its dark secret. - from Amazon.com

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White Teeth - Zadie Smith
Call Number: Bookstacks PR 6069 .M59 W47 2000
ISBN: 0375501851
At the center of this invigorating novel are two unlikely friends, Archie Jones and Samad Iqbal. Hapless veterans of World War II, Archie and Samad and their families become agents of England’s irrevocable transformation. A second marriage to Clara Bowden, a beautiful, albeit tooth-challenged, Jamaican half his age, quite literally gives Archie a second lease on life, and produces Irie, a knowing child whose personality doesn’t quite match her name (Jamaican for “no problem”). Samad’s late-in-life arranged marriage (he had to wait for his bride to be born), produces twin sons whose separate paths confound Iqbal’s every effort to direct them, and a renewed, if selective, submission to his Islamic faith. Set against London’s racial and cultural tapestry, venturing across the former empire and into the past as it barrels toward the future, White Teeth revels in the ecstatic hodgepodge of modern life, flirting with disaster, confounding expectations, and embracing the comedy of daily existence. - Amazon.com

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The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3537 .T3234 W5
ISBN: 0143039482
Ethan Allen Hawley, the protagonist of the novel, works as a clerk in a grocery store that his family once owned. With the decline in their status, his wife is restless, and his teenage children are hungry for the tantalizing material comforts he cannot provide. Then one day, in a moment of moral crisis, Ethan decides to take a holiday from his own scrupulous standards. - from Amazon.com

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The Women - T. C. Boyle
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3552 .O932 W66 2009
ISBN: 0143116479
The genius of Frank Lloyd Wright was both magnetic and cruel, as evidenced by the succession of failed marriages and hot-blooded affairs depicted in this biographic reimagining that drills into Wright mythology and the dark shadows of the American dream. The narrative moves backwards in time through the accounts of four women in Wrights life: Olgivanna, the steely, grounded dancer from Montenegro; Miriam, the drug-addled narcissist from the South; Kitty, the devoted first wife; and Mamah, the beloved and murdered soul mate and intellectual companion. - from Amazon.com

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Wonderdog - Inman Majors
Call Number: Bookstacks PS 3563 .A3927 W66 2004
ISBN: 031233138X
Meet the unlikely Dev Degraw, son of the iconoclastic governor of Alabama and former child actor on the historically bad television drama Bayou Dog. In Tuscaloosa... Dev moves among the denizens of local watering holes, the political bigwigs of the state capital, and the sundry elements of B-movie Hollywood. As Wonderdog unfolds, he is trying his best to stay away from his father's heated bid for reelection and out of a costar's plans to organize a Bayou Dog cast reunion. - from Amazon.com

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