Contemporary novels come in many forms, but at their best they peel back the layers of surface society and get under our skin. The 4 novels included here feature such themes as ‘coming of age’, ‘superficial suburban society’, ‘love over money’ and ‘the joys and tribulations of living in a foreign land’.
1. As a Thief in the Night by Chuck Crabbe
Ezra struggles to find his place among his peers, but as he matures he is drawn further into his conflicted, disturbing, and often beautiful vision of the world. Raised by his three aunts in Ontario, Canada, he seeks refuge in fantasy, solitude, and strange rituals, and only an act of shameful impiety offers him escape and eventual salvation.
2. Twin Oaks by Melissa Palmer
Twin Oaks is a self-contained community where it seems that skies are always blue, the grass is always green, flowers bloom prolifically, the houses exude charm and grace and the people are decent and always cordial. Yet appearances can be deceiving, for beneath exteriors lay the darker elements of personality: madness, envy, infidelity and spiritual vacuity.
3. One to a Million by Tim Cole
Lamenting the dullness of their lives – go-nowhere jobs, and of course ever-present money woes – Fat Dave wonders whimsically if it might be possible for his friend Charlie Spinner to turn a single one-pound coin into a million pounds. Playing along with his friend’s fantasy, Charlie deposits the change from a round of beers into a slot machine and wins the one thousand-pound jackpot. But can Charlie rise to Fat Dave’s challenge to turn a one pound coin into one million pounds? Or is there an even greater prize waiting for him on the Las Vegas Strip? You make the odds…
4. Passion Fruit by Sandra Cuza
Happily married and living in Venice Beach, California, television executive Julia Elliott’s orderly life collapses when her husband is sent to Brazil for a two-year assignment by his company. But on arrival in São Paulo, Julia is shocked to discover that the city is marred by chaotic traffic, pollution, endemic graffiti and appalling slums. This is not the exotic paradise she envisioned. Passion Fruit explores the personal and social lives of ex-pat wives following their husbands along the path of international business: the challenges are momentous, and the consequences of bad decisions are life-changing.