Literary Fiction

Literary fiction is often described by what it’s not. It’s not a mystery, science fiction saga, romance or thriller. Readers can expect a multilayered story with characters who linger long after the book is closed. These well-reviewed literary fiction novels are available to borrow from the Lititz Public Library.

The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud
Having abandoned her dreams of becoming an artist, a teacher encourages a talented Lebanese student and is drawn into the child’s family.

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
A thoughtless prank causes a pair of brothers to confront painful psychological issues surrounding the freak accident that killed their father when they were boys.

The Lower RiverThe Lower River by Paul Theroux
When his marriage ends, a sixty-two-year-old Massachusetts storeowner decides to return to Malawi where he spent four transformational years as a Peace Corps volunteer during his twenties.

Gold by Chris Cleave
Two women cyclists, friends and athletic rivals for Olympic gold, must decide if winning is more important than their relationship.

Old Filth by Jane Gardam
After the death of his wife, a retired barrister recalls his childhood in Malaya when he was sent away from his family to be educated at the hands of surrogate parents in England.

The Bright Forever by Lee Martin
The disappearance of the nine-year-old daughter of the most affluent family in a small Indiana town has profound repercussions for her entire family.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon CakeThe Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
A girl possesses a gift for being able to taste emotions in food, providing insight into the lives and secrets of everyone she meets.

The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg
Two siblings with very different personalities attempt to take control of their mother’s food obsession and massive weight gain after their father walks out.

Returning to Earth by Jim Harrison
In the aftermath of a Chippewa-Finnish man’s death from Lou Gehrig’s disease, his wife, daughter and brother-in-law read the family history he left behind.

The Inheritance of LossThe Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
Set in the remote northeastern Himalayas near the border of India and Nepal, an embittered, elderly judge finds his peaceful retirement turned upside down by the arrival of his orphaned granddaughter.

Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan
Three generations of women from a dysfunctional family converge at the family beach house.

Turn of Mind by Alice Laplante
Implicated in the murder of her best friend, a brilliant retired surgeon with dementia struggles to make sense of fractured memories and wonders if she actually committed the crime.

Alentejo BlueAlentejo Blue by Monica Ali
A collection for short stories set in the Alentejo province of Portugal features characters like a woman who yearns to see the world and a restaurant owner who is losing business to a new Internet café.

American Music by Jane Mendelsohn
A physical therapist and a wounded Iraqi veteran see mysterious and unexplained images from the past that tell the story of a 1930s love triangle.

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
A fourteen-year-old schoolboy’s death has unexpected consequences for the students and faculty at a historic Catholic school in Dublin.

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Originally published on June 14, 2013 in the Lititz Record Express.