Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award logo

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award

Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award logo

The Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award is awarded annually to a novel or book of short stories by an American author who has not previously published a book of fiction. The award is named after Ernest Hemingway and funded by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation, which has been administered by the Hemingway Society since 1987, and PEN New England. Mary Hemingway, a member of PEN, founded the award in 1976 both to honor the memory of her husband and to recognize distinguished first books of fiction.

2017
Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.

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2016
Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh

The Christmas season offers little cheer for Eileen Dunlop. Trapped between caring for her alcoholic father and her job as a secretary at the boys’ prison, she tempers her dreary days with dreams of escaping to the big city. In the meantime, her nights and weekends are filled with shoplifting and cleaning up her increasingly deranged father’s messes. When the beautiful, charismatic Rebecca Saint John arrives on the scene as the new counsellor at the prison, Eileen is enchanted, unable to resist what appears to be a miraculously budding friendship. But soon, Eileen’s affection for Rebecca will pull her into a crime that far surpasses even her own wild imagination.

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2015
Elegy on Kinderklavier – Arna Bontemps Hemenway

The stories in Elegy on Kinderklavier explore the profound loss and intricate effects of war on lives that have been suddenly misaligned. A diplomat navigates a hostile political climate and an arranged marriage in an Israeli settlement on a newly discovered planet; a small town in Kansas shuns the army recruiter who signed up its boys as troops are deployed to Iraq, falling in helicopters and on grenades; a family dissolves around mental illness and a child’s body overtaken by cancer. The moment a soldier steps on an explosive device is painfully reproduced, nanosecond by nanosecond. Arna Bontemps Hemenway’s stories feel pulled out of time and place, and the suffering of his characters seem at once otherworldly and stunningly familiar. Elegy on Kinderklavier is a disquieting exploration of what it is to lose and be lost.

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2014
We Need New Names – NoViolet Bulawayo

‘To play the country-game, we have to choose a country. Everybody wants to be the USA and Britain and Canada and Australia and Switzerland and them. Nobody wants to be rags of countries like Congo, like Somalia, like Iraq, like Sudan, like Haiti and not even this one we live in – who wants to be a terrible place of hunger and things falling apart?’ Darling and her friends live in a shanty called Paradise, which of course is no such thing. It isn’t all bad, though. There’s mischief and adventure, games of Find bin Laden, stealing guavas, singing Lady Gaga at the tops of their voices. They dream of the paradises of America, Dubai, Europe, where Madonna and Barack Obama and David Beckham live. For Darling, that dream will come true. But, like the thousands of people all over the world trying to forge new lives far from home, Darling finds this new paradise brings its own set of challenges – for her and also for those she’s left behind.

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2013
The Yellow Birds – Kevin Powers

An unforgettable depiction of the psychological impact of war, by a young Iraq veteran and poet, THE YELLOW BIRDS is already being hailed as a modern classic. Everywhere John looks, he sees Murph. He flinches when cars drive past. His fingers clasp around the rifle he hasn’t held for months. Wide-eyed strangers praise him as a hero, but he can feel himself disappearing. Back home after a year in Iraq, memories swarm around him: bodies burning in the crisp morning air. Sunlight falling through branches; bullets kicking up dust; ripples on a pond wavering like plucked strings. The promise he made, to a young man’s mother, that her son would be brought home safely. With THE YELLOW BIRDS, poet and veteran Kevin Powers has composed an unforgettable account of friendship and loss. It vividly captures the desperation and brutality of war, and its terrible after-effects. But it is also a story of love, of great courage, and of extraordinary human survival. Written with profound emotional insight, especially into the effects of a hidden war on families at home, THE YELLOW BIRDS is one of the most haunting, true and powerful novels of our time. ‘THE YELLOW BIRDS is the All Quiet on the Western Front of America’s Arab Wars.’ (Tom Wolfe, author of The Bonfire of the Vanities ) ‘Kevin Powers has conjured a poetic and devastating account of war’s effect on the individual.’ (Damian Lewis, star of Homeland and Band of Brothers ) ‘Inexplicably beautiful’. (Ann Patchett, Orange Prize-winning author of Bel Canto and State of Wonder)

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2012
Open City – Teju Cole

This is the bestselling debut novel from a writer heralded as the twenty-first-century W. G. Sebald. A haunting novel about national identity, race, liberty, loss and surrender, Open City follows a young Nigerian doctor as he wanders aimlessly along the streets of Manhattan. For Julius the walks are a release from the tight regulations of work, from the emotional fallout of a failed relationship, from lives past and present on either side of the Atlantic. Isolated amid crowds of bustling strangers, Julius criss-crosses not just physical landscapes but social boundaries too, encountering people whose otherness sheds light on his own remarkable journey from Nigeria to New York – as well as into the most unrecognisable facets of his own soul.

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2011
The Madonnas of Echo Park – Brando Skyhorse

“The Madonnas of Echo Park” is both a grand mural of a Los Angeles neighborhood and an intimate glimpse into the lives of the men and women who struggle to lose their ethnic identity in the pursuit of the American dream. Each chapter summons a different voice–poetic, fierce, comic. We meet Hector, a day laborer who trolls the streets for work and witnesses a murder that pits his morality against his illegal status; his ex-wife Felicia, who narrowly survives a shooting and lands a cleaning job in a Hollywood Hills house as desolate as its owner; and young Aurora, who journeys through her now gentrified childhood neighborhood to discover her own history and her place in the land that all Mexican-Americans dream of, “the land that belongs to us again.” Reminiscent of Luis Alberto Urrea and Dinaw Mengestu, “The Madonnas of Echo Park” is a brilliant and genuinely fresh view of American life.

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2010
A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True – Brigid Pasulka

On the eve of World War II, in a place called Half-Village, a young man nicknamed the Pigeon falls in love with a girl fabled for her angelic looks. To court Anielica Hetmanskahe offers up his “golden hands” and transforms her family’s modest hut into a beautiful home, thereby building his way into her heart. War arrives to cut short their courtship, delay their marriage, and send the young lovers far from home, to the promise of a new life in Krakow. Nearly fifty years later, their granddaughter, Beata, repeats their postwar journey, seeking a new life in her grandmother’s fairy-tale city. But instead of the whispered prosperity of the New Poland, she discovers a Krakow caught between its future and its past. Whimsical, wise, beautiful, magical, and at times heartbreaking, “A Long, Long Time Ago and Essentially True” weaves together two remarkable stories, reimagining half a century of Polish history through the legacy of one unforgettable love affair.

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2009
A Gentleman’s Guide to Graceful Living – Michael Dahlie

Arthur Camden’s greatest talents are for packing and unpacking suitcases, making coleslaw, and second-guessing every decision in his life. When his business fails and his wife leaves him-to pursue more aggressive men-Arthur finds that he has none of the talents and finesse that everyone else seems to possess for navigating New York society.

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2008
Then We Came to the End – Joshua Ferris

Joshua Ferris’ Then We Came to the End is one of the most acutely observed, dazzling American debuts of recent years. They spend their days – and too many of their nights – at work. Away from friends and family, they share a stretch of stained carpet with a group of strangers they call colleagues. There’s Chris Yop, clinging to his ergonomic chair; Lynn Mason, the boss, whose breast cancer everyone pretends not to talk about; Carl Garbedian, secretly taking someone else’s medication; Marcia Dwyer, whose hair is stuck in the eighties; and Benny, who’s just – well, just Benny. Amidst the boredom, redundancies, water cooler moments, meetings, flirtations and pure rage, life is happening, to their great surprise, all around them. Then We Came to the End is about sitting all morning next to someone you cross the road to avoid at lunch. It’s the story of your life and mine. “Very funny, intense and exhilarating…For the first time in fiction, it has truly captured the way we work”. (The Times). “As dazzling as Franzen’s The Corrections and as confident as Tartt’s The Secret History…Exceptional, very funny”. (Daily Telegraph). “Slick, sophisticated and very funny, Ferris’ cracking debut has modern Everyman fighting for his identity in an increasingly impersonal world”. (Daily Mail). Joshua Ferris was born in Illinois in 1974. He is the author of Then We Came to the End (2007), which was nominated for the National Book Award and longlisted for the Guardian First Book Award, and the highly acclaimedThe Unnamed. In 2010 he was selected for the New Yorker’s prestigious ’20 under 40′ list. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014 and the Dylan Thomas Prize 2014. He lives in New York.

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2007
Brief Encounters With Che Guevara – Ben Fountain

This debut collection from the man Malcolm Gladwell described as a genius took readers by storm. From the slums of Haiti to a golf course in Myanmar, and from the Colombian jungle to the diamond mines of Sierra Leone, Ben Fountain’s impeccable and devastatingly funny stories describe a world in political and social upheaval, and the lives caught in the balance.

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2006
A Thousand Years of Good Prayers – Yiyun Li

Brilliant and original, A Thousand Years of Good Prayers introduces a remarkable first collection of stories about China from an author set to become a major literary talent. In this extraordinary first collection, Yiyun Li brings us a modern China facing up to a complex history of repression and guilt. In ‘Immortality’, winner of the Paris Review prize, a young man bears a striking resemblance to the dictator, and so finds a strange kind of calling. In ‘Extra’, first published in the New Yorker, a Chinese woman, alone in middle age, befriends a young boy who has become an outcast in a remote country school. In their friendship, we see how love can begin to overcome the strictures that dominate their lives. In turn horrifying and breathtakingly lyrical, Yiyun Li, a new and talented young Chinese writer, confronts the silence that dominated the history of her country, and illuminates how mythology, politics, history and culture intersect with personality. She leaves us with an enduring vision of a country undergoing tremendous change.

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2005
GraceLand – Chris Abani

A chameleon, an enigma, all things to all women — a lifeline to which powerful needs and nameless longings may be attached — Ken Kimble is revealed through the eyes of the women he seduces: Birdie, his first wife, struggling to hold herself together after his desertion; second wife, Joan, a lonely, tragic heiress who sees her unknowable husband as her last chance for happiness; and Dinah, a beautiful but damaged woman half his age.

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2004
Mrs. Kimble – Jennifer Haigh

A chameleon, an enigma, all things to all women — a lifeline to which powerful needs and nameless longings may be attached — Ken Kimble is revealed through the eyes of the women he seduces: Birdie, his first wife, struggling to hold herself together after his desertion; second wife, Joan, a lonely, tragic heiress who sees her unknowable husband as her last chance for happiness; and Dinah, a beautiful but damaged woman half his age.

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2003
Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Apt. 3W – Gabriel Brownstein

Five stories are set in one New York apartment building where young Davey watches his neighbours’ lives unfold, and are inspired by classic stories by Kafka, Fitzgerald, Auden, Singer and Hawthorne. Gathered under one roof are weird and wonderful characters such as Benjamin Button, the mysterious misfit who is born a grizzled old man and grows younger, fading away towards infancy, and Wakefield who abandons his family to move over the road and spy on them through binoculars for twenty years. And upstairs in the penthouse, the proctologist with a wire-brush moustache and movie villain’s limp plays Icarus and Daedalus with his misfit son. In this brilliantly inventive collection, Gabriel Brownstein brings alive the human tragedies that lurk beneath the bizarre.

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2002
Mary and O’Neil – Justin Cronin

Mary and O’Neil frequently marveled at how, of all the lives they might have led, they had somehow found this one together. When they met at the Philadelphia high school where they’d come to teach, each had suffered a profound loss that had not healed. How likely was it that they could learn to trust, much less love, again? Justin Cronin’s poignant debut traces the lives of Mary Olson and O’Neil Burke, two vulnerable young teachers who rediscover in each other a world alive with promise and hope. From the formative experiences of their early adulthood to marriage, parenthood, and beyond, this novel in stories illuminates the moments of grace that enable Mary and O’Neil to make peace with the deep emotional legacies that haunt them: the sudden, mysterious death of O’Neil’s parents, Mary’s long-ago decision to end a pregnancy, O’Neil’s sister’s battle with illness and a troubled marriage. Alive with magical nuance and unexpected encounters, Mary and O’Neil celebrates the uncommon in common lives, and the redemptive power of love.

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2001
An Obedient Father – Akhil Sharma

Ram Karan, a corrupt official in the Delhi Education Department, is a sad, bumbling, character tortured by a terrible secret. When the country is plunged into confusion following Rajiv Gandhi’s murder, he finds himself trapped in a series of deadly political betrayals with little or no protection.

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2000
Interpreter of Maladies – Jhumpa Lahiri

Pulitzer-winning, scintillating studies in yearning and exile from a Bengali Bostonian woman of immense promise. A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the arrival of his arranged-marriage wife from Bengal, he finds his first bearings with the aid of the curious evening rituals that his centenarian landlady orchestrates; a schoolboy looks on while his childminder finds that the smallest dislocation can unbalance her new American life all too easily and send her spiralling into nostalgia for her homeland…Jhumpa Lahiri’s prose is beautifully measured, subtle and sober, and she is a writer who leaves a lot unsaid, but this work is rich in observational detail, evocative of the yearnings of the exile (mostly Indians in Boston here), and full of emotional pull and reverberation.

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1999
Homestead – Rosina Lippi

Each life has its place, and every variation ripples the surface of the tiny alpine village called Rosenau. Be it a mysteriously misaddressed love letter or a girl’s careless delivery of two helpless relatives into Nazi hands, the town’s balance is ever tested, and ever tender. Here is a novel spanning eighty years — years that bring factories and wars, store-bought cheese and city-trained teachers — weaving the fates of the wives, mothers, and daughters in this remote corner of Austria. To quote Rosellen Brown, “the women in this haunting book are deeply and uniquely of their place, yet they speak (often wordlessly) of women’s longings and satisfactions everywhere.”

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1998
A Private State – Charlotte Bacon

This collection of 11 finely wrought stories examines the human condition across geographic and thematic boundaries. They look at luck and love, sorrow and safety, marriages falling apart and bargains struck, all with a consistent, sure voice and a pattern of recurring images.

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1997
Ocean of Words – Ha Jin

The place is the chilly border between Russia and China. The time is the early 1970s when the two giants were poised on the brink of war. And the characters in this thrilling collection of stories are Chinese soldiers who must constantly scrutinize the enemy even as they themselves are watched for signs of the fatal disease of bourgeois liberalism. In Ocean of Words, the Chinese writer Ha Jin explores the predicament of these simple, barely literate men with breathtaking concision and humanity. From amorous telegraphers to a pugnacious militiaman, from an inscrutable Russian prisoner to an effeminate but enthusiastic recruit, Ha Jin’s characters possess a depth and liveliness that suggest Isaac Babel’s Cossacks and Tim O’Brien’s GIs. Ocean of Words is a triumphant volume, poignant, hilarious, and harrowing. “A compelling collection of stories, powerful in their unity of theme and rich in their diversity of styles.”–New York Times Book Review “Extraordinary… These stories are} shot through with wit and offer glimpses of human motivation that defy retelling…Read them all.”–Boston Globe “An exceptional new talent, capable of wringing rich surprises out of austere materials.”–Portland Oregonian

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1996
Native Speaker – Chang-Rae Lee

Park has spent his entire life trying to become a true American–a native speaker. But even as the essence of his adopted country continues to elude him, his Korean heritage seems to drift further and further away. Park’s harsh Korean upbringing has taught him to hide his emotions, to remember everything he learns, and most of all to feel an overwhelming sense of alienation. In other words, it has shaped him as a natural spy. But the very attributes that help him to excel in his profession put a strain on his marriage to his American wife and stand in the way of his coming to terms with his young son’s death. When he is assigned to spy on a rising Korean-American politician, his very identity is tested, and he must figure out who he is amid not only the conflicts within himself but also within the ethnic and political tensions of the New York City streets. “Native Speaker” is a story of cultural alienation. It is about fathers and sons, about the desire to connect with the world rather than stand apart from it, about loyalty and betrayal, about the alien in all of us and who we finally are.

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1995
The Grass Dancer – Susan Power

Back in the 1860s, Ghost Horse, a handsome young heyo’ka, or sacred clown, loved and lost the beautiful warrior woman Red Dress. Since then, their spirits have sought desperately to be reunited, and it is the ceaseless playing out of this drama that shapes the sometimes violent fate of those who have come after them. Now, in the 1980s, Charlene Thunder, a teenage descendant of Red Dress, is in love with Harley Wind Soldier, the dashing traditional dancer of Ghost Horse’s lineage. When Harley’s redheaded soul mate, Pumpkin, dies in a crash, Charlene guiltily suspects her own grandmother, the notorious witch Anna Thunder, of causing it – as she well may have caused the collision that claimed Harley’s father and brother, which even today obsesses him. Charlene and Harley each strive in solitude to make peace with the ghosts of the old ways, while they contend with the living: Jeannette McVay, an eastern college student who has been studying the tribe; Crystal Thunder, who must escape the reservation in order to understand her past; Herod Small War, whose spiritual guidance is both revered and resented; Margaret Many Wounds, Harley’s grandmother, who walks on the moon.

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1994
The Magic of Blood – Dagoberto Gilb

In this dynamic collection of short stories, including eight from Winners on the Pass Line (1985), Dagoberto Gilb captures the texture of the Southwest’s working class in clear, ironic, and bitingly realistic fiction about regular people going about their complex lives.

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1993
Lost in the City – Edward P. Jones

The nation’s capital that serves as the setting for the stories in Edward P. Jones’s prizewinning collection, Lost in the City, lies far from the city of historic monuments and national politicians. Jones takes the reader beyond that world into the complicated lives of African American men, women, and even children, such as the girl set to begin elementary school in “The First Day,” who work against the constant threat of loss to maintain a sense of hope. From “The Girl Who Raised Pigeons” to the well-to-do career woman awakened in the night by a phone call that will take her on a journey back to the past, the characters in these stories forge bonds of community as they struggle against the limits of their city to stave off the loss of family, friends, memories, and, ultimately, themselves.Critically acclaimed upon publication, Lost in the City introduced Jones as an undeniable talent, a writer whose unaffected style is not only evocative and forceful but also filled with insight and poignancy.

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1992
Wartime Lies – Louis Begley

As the world slips into the throes of war in 1939, young Maciek’s once closetted existence outside Warsaw is no more. When Warsaw falls, Maciek escapes with his aunt Tania. Together they endure the war, running, hiding, changing their names, forging documents to secure their temporary lives–as the insistent drum of the Nazi march moves ever closer to them and to their secret wartime lies.

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1991
Maps to Anywhere – Bernard Cooper

Writing on subjects ranging from his family to the origin of the barbershop, Cooper digs into the surface of the Southern California landscape observing the collision of the American dream with the realities of everyday life, in an attempt to make sense of contemporary America.

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1990
The Ice at the Bottom of the World – Mark Richard

Ten daring, forceful stories in the Southern gothic tradition explore the grotesque and the ordinary and the blending of the two in tales of family struggles and corruption, good ‘ol boys faced with death, and ritual.

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1989
The Book of Ruth – Jane Hamilton

Having come within an inch of her life, Ruth Dahl is determined to take a good look at it — to figure out whether, in fact, she’s to blame for the mess. Pegged the loser in a small-town family that doesn’t have much going for it in the first place, Ruth grows up in the shadow of her brilliant brother, trying to hold her own in a world of poverty and hard edges. Matt’s brain is his ticket out of Honey Creek. Ruth, without options, cleaves instead to her tough, half-crazy mother, May, and eventually to Ruby, the sweet but slightly deranged young man she loves, marries, and supports. When the precarious household erupts in violence, Ruth is the only one who can piece their story together — and she gets at the truth in a manner at once ferocious, hilarious, and heartbreaking.

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1988
Imagining Argentina – Lawrence Thornton

Imagining Argentina is set in the dark days of the late 1970’s, when thousands of Argentineans disappeared without a trace into the general’s prison cells and torture chambers. When Carlos Ruweda’s wife is suddenly taken from him, he discovers a magical gift: In waking dreams, he had clear visions of the fates of “the disappeared.” But he cannot “imagine” what has happened to his own wife. Driven to near madness, his mind cannot be taken away: imagination, stories, and the mystical secrets of the human spirit. The writing is crystalline, the metaphors compelling… Its central theme is universal.

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1987
Tongues of Flame – Mary Ward Brown

The gift of tongues, prophecy exorcism…what might such concepts mean in a complacent backwater of North London? For Richard Bowen, adolescence becomes a nightmare when his parents join the charismatic movement and find a devil in his brother.

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1986
Lady’s Time – Alan V. Hewat

Magical realism and haunting mysticism cloud the circumstances surrounding the death of Lady Winslow, a New Orleans woman of mixed racial background who passes for white in the Vermont resort where she teaches music and plays ragtime

1985
Dreams of Sleep – Josephine Humphreys

This story describes the arrival of a 17-year-old girl into a family that is breaking up. Iris Moon brings to the household a sense of purpose and reality, taking charge of the two bewildered children who have been ignored.

1984
During the Reign of the Queen of Persia – Joan Chase

The Queen of Persia is not an exotic figure but a fierce Ohio farmwife who presides over a household of daughters and granddaughters. The novel tells their stories through the eyes of the youngest members of the family, four cousins who spend summers on the farm, for them both a life-giving Eden and the source of terrible discoveries about desire and loss. The girls bicker and scrap, they whisper secrets at bedtime, and above all, they observe the kinds of women their mothers are and wonder what kind of women they will become. But always present is the family’s great trauma, the decline and eventual death from cancer of Gram’s daughter Grace. A powerful story about family ties and tensions, During the Reign of the Queen of Persia is also a book about place, charting the transformation of the old hardscrabble Midwest into the commercial wilderness of modern America.

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1983
Shiloh and Other Stories – Joan Chase

A collection of stories, mostly about people raised in western Kentucky, that portrays, in carefully observed detail, their struggle to reconcile family traditions and religion with new societal pressures and lifestyles and charts their search for understanding.

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1982
Housekeeping – Marilynne Robinson

Housekeeping is the story of Ruth and Lucille, orphans growing up in the small desolate town of Fingerbone in the vast northwest of America. Abandoned by a succession of relatives, the sisters find themselves in the care of Sylvie, the remote and enigmatic sister of their dead mother. Steeped in imagery of the bleak wintry landscape around them, the sisters’ struggle towards adulthood is powerfully portrayed in a novel about loss, loneliness and transience.

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1981
Mom Kills Kids and Self – Alan Saperstein

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1980
Hasen – Reuben Bercovitch

The primitive life of two Jewish orphans, who survive in a forest bordering a concentration camp by trapping and shooting for the commandant’s personal feasts, is jeopardized when they spot the younger boy’s brother in the latest group of prisoners

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1979
A Way of Life, Like Any Other – Darcy O’Brien

The hero of Darcy O’Brien’s A Way of Life, Like Any Other is a child of Hollywood, and once his life was a glittery dream. His father starred in Westerns. His mother was a goddess of the silver screen. The family enjoyed the high life on their estate, Casa Fiesta. But his parents’ careers have crashed since then, and their marriage has broken up too. Lovesick and sex-crazed, the mother sets out on an intercontinental quest for the right-or wrong-man, while her mild-mannered but manipulative former husband clings to his memories in California. And their teenage son? How he struggles both to keep faith with his family and to get by himself, and what in the end he must do to break free, makes for a classic coming-of-age story-a novel that combines keen insight and devastating wit to hilarious and heartbreaking effect.

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1978
Speedboat – Renata Adler

It has been more than thirty-five years since Renata Adler’s Speedboat charged through the literary establishment, blasting genre walls and pointing the way for a newly liberated way of writing. This unclassifiable work is simultaneously novel, memoir, commonplace book, confession, and critique. It is the story of every man and woman cursed with too much consciousness and too little comprehension, and it is the story of Jen Fein, a journalist negotiating the fraught landscape of contemporary urban America. Her voice is cuttingly perceptive, darkly funny, and always fiercely intelligent as she breaks narrative convention to send dispatches back from the world as she finds it.

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1977
Parthian Shot – Loyd Little

The time: 1964. The place: Nan Phuc village, the Mekong Delta, South Vietnam. The men: “A Team” 34A, U.S. Army Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets. Army records say, simply and stupefyingly, that they have been sent back home. But they are still very much in Vietnam. To survive in the Delta they need ammunition and supplies, so they tap their Yankee ingenuity and become specialists in organized chaos.

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When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes.
Erasmus