New in Fiction: 5 Must-Reads

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#WeekendReads.These five family sagas and multi-generational tales top our to-read list this month.


THE EXCELLENT LOMBARDS (Grand Central Publishing) by Jane Hamilton

From the internationally bestselling author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, this fraught family drama set on a 21st century Wisconsin apple orchard is both a coming-of-age story and poignant account of a vanishing way of life. (Publication date: April 19, 2016.)

THE NEST (Harper Avenue) by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

You won’t want to put this one down. The story is about a dysfunctional, yet somehow lovable New York family and a feud that involves grown-up siblings, years of simmering resentments and most of all, the fate of a joint trust fund – “the nest” – which is suddenly in serious jeopardy.

THE TRANSLATION OF LOVE (Knopf Canada) by Lynne Kutsukake

This debut novel from 64-year-old Toronto writer and librarian Lynne Kutsukake tells the story of a young girl who was in a Canadian internment camp during the Second World War before being repatriated to Japan, where she uses her knowledge of English and North American culture to help a classmate find her sister. Despite calling herself “a late, late, late bloomer”, Katsukake has recently been named the New Face of Fiction for Knopf Canada.


AS CLOSE TO US AS BREATHING (Hachette) by Elizabeth Poliner

This multi-generational family saga begins in 1948 along a small stretch of Connecticut shoreline known affectionately as “Bagel Beach.” A long-time summer destination for Jewish families, the shore is an idyllic retreat from real life until the summer when tragedy strikes, leaving long-lasting reverberations.


CONVERSATIONS FOR TWO (The Jam Press) by Jacqueline Markowitz

This exploration of suicide and grief becomes a dialogue between siblings, as a middle aged woman tries to make sense of her brother’s suicide twenty-five years before. After discovering a box of his journals, she gains insight into the passions and love that defined him. Billed as a novel that is based partially on real life experiences – the author actually did have a brother who committed suicide and was a poet – the story weaves both Markowitz’s prose and her brother’s poetry into the narrative.