If you’re a fiction lover — especially one with an affinity for literary and independent fiction — these are tough times.
There is so much great literature out there, but much of it hides in the shadows of Amazon’s and NYT’s bestsellers lists. Sadly, the cream doesn’t always rise. A lot of truly great literature struggles to reach a mass audience without proper advertising and PR budgets, which many new authors and independent presses simply don’t have.
But if you know where to look, the great fiction you crave can be found.
For those of you who don’t have the time to pour through all the minutiae, I’m happy to offer some notes from my off-the-radar literary travels. As we’ve now reached the half-way point in the year, allow me to offer up what I judge to be the 3 Best New Fiction Novels of 2010.
Without further ado…
3. THE NAME OF THE NEAREST RIVER
by Alex Taylor
Alex Taylor’s debut comprises a series of heart-wrenching stories set in rural Kentucky. In both the way his characters are drawn — with an almost impossible empathy for the often hopeless, desperate, and/or cruel — and the way he describes the dreary Kentucky environs in which the stories are set, the author evokes a sense of despair that lingers with you. Shades of Raymond Carver, William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy here; but make no mistake, Taylor’s voice is his own. These stories will hang on you, disturb you. And yes, you’ll be much better off for reading them.
2. BROKEN GLASS PARK
by Alina Bronsky
Sascha Naimann is a 17-year-old Russian girl living in Germany when her mother is killed by a brutal stepfather. While she and her younger siblings are being smothered by distant relatives and social workers, all Sascha can think about is exacting vengeance. When a story runs in the local paper about her stepfather’s lauded in-prison reformation, Sascha goes ape-shit – spinning the narrative in another direction. At its conclusion, Sascha ends up in “broken glass park” — the most seedy and dangerous area in her neighborhood — where the varied, complicated layers of her struggle are laid bare.
Liz Babineaux -
About the Author:
Liz Babineaux is an avid reader with a knack for sniffing out fantastic-but-obscure literary voices. She runs the blog BNF: Best New Fiction.