Spend some time in these 5 must-read fictional suburbs.
1. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
“In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is planned—from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.
“Enter Mia Warren—an enigmatic artist and single mother—who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenaged daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past and a disregard for the status quo that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.
“When old family friends of the Richardsons attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town—and puts Mia and Elena on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Elena is determined to uncover the secrets in Mia’s past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs.”
2. About a Boy by Nick Hornby
“Will Freeman may have discovered the key to dating success: If the simple fact that they were single mothers meant that gorgeous women – women who would not ordinarily look twice a Will – might not only be willing, but enthusiastic about dating him, then he was really onto something. Single mothers – bright, attractive, available women – thousands of them, were all over London. He just had to find them.
“SPAT: Single Parents – Alone Together. It was a brilliant plan. And Will wasn’t going to let the fact that he didn’t have a child himself hold him back. A fictional two-year-old named Ned wouldn’t be the first thing he’d invented. And it seems to go quite well at first, until he meets an actual twelve-year-old named Marcus, who is more than Will bargained for…”
3. Heaven and Other Zip Codes: A Novel by Mathieu Cailler
“Heaven and Other Zip Codes follows the complicated relationships between lonely, thirty-something-year-old mother Searcy, her awkward preadolescent son Theo, cheating husband and disingenuous stepfather Hoit, and young, attractive, painter-turned-after-school-tutor Emerson.
“When anonymous letters accusing Hoit of infidelity start to arrive on the doorstep, Searcy develops feelings toward Emerson, and the family begins to fracture in the sunny Southern California suburb they call home. Will Searcy and Emerson act upon their feelings? Will Hoit’s adulterous exploits come back to haunt him? Will the boys at school stop bullying Theo? Who is writing the mysterious letters? And where exactly is the location of Heaven and Other Zip Codes?
“This contemporary novel explores family, guilt, manipulation, betrayal, and love.”
4. Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf
“In the familiar setting of Holt, Colorado, home to all of Kent Haruf’s inimitable fiction, Addie Moore pays an unexpected visit to a neighbor, Louis Waters. Her husband died years ago, as did his wife, and in such a small town they naturally have known of each other for decades; in fact, Addie was quite fond of Louis’s wife. His daughter lives hours away, her son even farther, and Addie and Louis have long been living alone in empty houses, the nights so terribly lonely, especially with no one to talk with. But maybe that could change? As Addie and Louis come to know each other better–their pleasures and their difficulties–a beautiful story of second chances unfolds, making Our Souls at Night the perfect final installment to this beloved writer’s enduring contribution to American literature.”
5. Will You Please Be Quiet, Please?: Stories by Raymond Carver
“With this, his first collection of stories, Raymond Carver breathed new life into the American short story. Carver shows us the humor and tragedy that dwell in the hearts of ordinary people; his stories are the classics of our time.”1 comment