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7 Fiction Titles to Look for in August

 by Keith Hollihan

Set in Halifax in the late 1980s, two young university students who share a tenuous grasp on morality and a desire to lead remarkable lives convince themselves to risk everything and rob a bank.

Chris, the son of a police officer and the one with the charmed life, wants to test his theory that it’s impossible to get caught. His best friend and accomplice hopes that out of the adventure he’ll get the material for the great novel he’s destined to write. Like Butch and Sundance mixed with Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, they begin a crime spree that escalates in daring and comic misadventure until they collide with consequences that will mark them both for the rest of their lives.

Inspired by the author’s real-life boyhood friendship with a convicted bank robber, and by the morally ambiguous philosophies of Kundera, Conrad, Greene and Nietzsche, Flagged Victor is a gripping and darkly humorous novel of the rivalries, loyalties and betrayals of male friendship and the often crippling regrets of our youth.

Once We Had a Country  (M)
by Robert McGill

It’s the summer of 1972. Maggie, a young schoolteacher, leaves the United States to settle with her boyfriend, Fletcher, on a farm near Niagara Falls. Fletcher is avoiding the Vietnam draft, but they’ve also come to Harroway with a loftier aim: to start a commune, work the land and create a new model for society. Hopes are high for life at Harroway; equally so for Maggie and Fletcher’s budding relationship, heady as it is with passion, jealousy and uncertainty. As the summer passes, more people come to the farm–just not who Maggie and Fletcher expected. Then the US government announces the end of the draft, and Fletcher faces increasing pressure from his family to return home. At the same time, Maggie must deal with the recent disappearance of her father, a missionary, in the jungle of Laos. What happened in those days before her father vanished, and how will his life and actions affect Maggie’s future? Once We Had a Country is a literary work of the highest order, a novel that re-imagines an era we thought we knew, and that compels us to consider our own belief systems and levels of tolerance.

Helium  (M)  
by Jaspreet Singh

On 1 November 1984, a day after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination, a nineteen-year-old student, Raj, travels back from a class trip with his mentor, Professor Singh. As the group disembark at Delhi station a mob surrounds the professor, throws a tyre over him, douses him in petrol and sets him alight. Years later, after moving to the United States, Raj finds himself compelled to return to India to find his professor’s widow, the beautiful and enigmatic Nelly. As the two walk through the misty mountains of Shimla, painful memories emerge, and Raj realises he must face the truth about his father’s role in the genocidal pogrom. But, as they soon discover, the path leads inexorably back to that day at the train station. In this lyrical and haunting exploration of one of the most shocking moments in the history of the Indian nation, Jaspreet Singh has crafted an affecting and important story of memory, collective silences and personal trauma.

Night Film  (M)  
by Marisha Pessl 

Brilliant, haunting, breathtakingly suspenseful, Night Film is a superb literary thriller by the New York Times bestselling author of the blockbuster debut Special Topics in Calamity Physics.  On a damp October night, beautiful young Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror-film director Stanislas Cordova—a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

by Louise Penny

Christmas is approaching, and in Québec it’s a time of dazzling snowfalls, bright lights, and gatherings with friends in front of blazing hearths. But shadows are falling on the usually festive season for Chief Inspector Armand Gamache. Most of his best agents have left the Homicide Department, his old friend and lieutenant Jean-Guy Beauvoir hasn’t spoken to him in months, and hostile forces are lining up against him. When Gamache receives a message from Myrna Landers that a longtime friend has failed to arrive for Christmas in the village of Three Pines, he welcomes the chance to get away from the city. Mystified by Myrna’s reluctance to reveal her friend’s name, Gamache soon discovers the missing woman was once one of the most famous people not just in North America, but in the world, and now goes unrecognized by virtually everyone except the mad, brilliant poet Ruth Zardo.

Bait  (M)  
by J. Kent Messum

Six strangers wake up on a remote island in the Florida Keys with no memory of their arrival. They soon discover their common bond: all of them are heroin addicts. As the first excruciating pangs of withdrawal make themselves felt, the six notice a yacht anchored across open water. On it lurk four shadowy figures, protected by the hungry sharks that patrol the waves. So begins a dangerous game. The six must undertake the impossible—swim to the next island where a cache of heroin awaits, or die trying. When alliances form, betrayal is inevitable. As the fight to survive intensifies, the stakes reach terrifying heights—and their captors’ motives finally begin to emerge.

by Edwidge Danticat

From the best-selling author of Brother, I’m Dying and The Dew Breaker: a stunning new work of fiction that brings us deep into the intertwined lives of a small seaside town where a little girl, the daughter of a fisherman, has gone missing. Claire Limyè Lanmè—Claire of the Sea Light—is an enchanting child born into love and tragedy in Ville Rose, Haiti. Claire’s mother died in childbirth, and on each of her birthdays Claire is taken by her father, Nozias, to visit her mother’s grave. Nozias wonders if he should give away his young daughter to a local shopkeeper, who lost a child of her own, so that Claire can have a better life. But on the night of Claire’s seventh birthday, when at last he makes the wrenching decision to do so, she disappears. As Nozias and others look for her, painful secrets, haunting memories, and startling truths are unearthed among the community of men and women whose individual stories connect to Claire, to her parents, and to the town itself.

Told with piercing lyricism and the economy of a fable, Claire of the Sea Light is a tightly woven, breathtaking tapestry that explores what it means to be a parent, child, neighbor, lover, and friend, while revealing the mysterious bonds we share with the natural world and with one another. Embracing the magic and heartbreak of ordinary life, it is Edwidge Danticat’s most spellbinding, astonishing book yet.

About Halifax Libraries

Welcome to The Reader, a blog from the Readers' Services staff at Halifax Public Libraries. Our goal is to create a forum for book news and related discussion among leisure readers. A place for Halifax leisure readers to interact with their library and the larger community of leisure readers.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

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