The search for the perfect holiday gift may be over…at least for the book lovers on your list. Whether you’re looking for a Pulitzer Prize winner or the Great American Novel of not only the year, but perhaps the century, we asked our friends at Books & Books in Westhampton Beach to share their fiction picks that should be on everyone’s holiday list.
The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Winner of the 2012 National Book Award for Fiction, The Round House begins on a Sunday in the spring of 1988, with the attack on a reservation in North Dakota. The details are slow to surface and Geraldine Coutts is too traumatized to reveal what happened. Her young son sets off with his friends to investigate things himself, which leads them to the Round House, a sacred space and place of worship for the Ojibwe. Erdrich’s tale of injustice is brilliant and entertaining, and provides an authentic reflection of the reality of our world today.
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz
Pulitzer-Prize-winner Junot Diaz is back with a haunting collection of stories focusing on the impossible power of love in all its forms. A dooming relationship flounders in the Dominican Republic, a woman does her lover’s laundry and thinks of his wife in New Jersey, and a man buys his love child a first baseball bat and glove in Boston. Centering on the young hardhead Yunior, and told in energetic prose, the stories in This Is How You Lose Her bare the infinite longing and inevitable weakness of love.
Tom Wolfe is back with another detailed, high-energy novel, with a panoramic view of new America and the way we live today. As a police launch speeds across Miami’s Biscayne Bay, Wolfe is in tow and introduces the Cuban mayor, the black police chief, a young journalist and his Yale graduate editor, and several more quirky characters. Both brilliant and hilarious, Back to Blood is spot on.
Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan
McEwan’s first female protagonist since Atonement, Cambridge student Serena Frome is both beautiful and intelligent, and the ideal recruit for MI5. It’s 1972, the Cold War is still brewing, and the legendary intelligence agency is determined to manipulate the cultural conversation through writers whose politics align with the government. The operation code is “Sweet Tooth.” Serena is the perfect candidate to infiltrate young writer Tom Haley. Deft and witty, Sweet Tooth is a story of love and the invented self.
Dear Life: Stories by Alice Munro
Infused with Munro’s clarity of vision, these are stories of departure and beginning, accidents and danger, and outgoings and homecomings. While most take place where Munro grew up, in the small Canadian towns surrounding Lake Huron, the characters venture to cities and the book circles back to her hometown in the time period she grew up. From poets to young soldiers and wealthy socialites, each character is forever altered by a chance encounter or action not taken.
Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
A NorCal epic set to the beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz, this is the great American novel of our century. The summer of 2004 is ending, and Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe, longtime friends, bandmates and co-regents of Brokeland Records, and their wives, the Berkeley Birth Partners, semi-legendary midwives, are still hanging on in the dented utopia of Brokeland. Funny, moving, triumphant—Chabon’s best yet.