NPL Best Fiction of 2011
Annotation:A retired man is forced to reexamine events from his youth when he is bequeathed a journal written by a school friend who killed himself. Booker prize winner.
Annotation:When rats and feral pigs threaten to upset the ecosystem of the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, two warring factions disagree over whether to exterminate the invasive species in order to protect the native wildlife.
Annotation:After being raped by her uncle and unintentionally causing the death of her father, a teenaged sharp-shooter sets out on a boat journey on the waterways of Michigan to find her missing mother.
Annotation:On her own after being raised in foster care, an 18-year-old finds work using the knowledge of flowers and their meanings that she learned from the one foster parent who connected with her.
Annotation:When a painting hanging in the Art Institute of Chicago is alleged to have been stolen from its rightful owners by the Nazis, the family history of the man who donated it to the museum comes to light.
Annotation:A woman tries to defend her brother Art—a Catholic priest accused of abusing a boy from a troubled home—but she encounters resistance from her family and from Art.
Annotation:A star shortstop at a small college loses confidence after an errant throw nearly kills his roommate—who gets involved in a risky affair with the college president.
Annotation:After World War II, a Polish man who joined the RAF prepares a home in England for his wife and son who spent years hiding from the Germans in the forests of Poland.
Annotation:In 1913, Cecil Valance visits the home of his friend George and writes a poem in the autograph book of George’s adoring sister Daphne. After Cecil dies in World War I, his poem becomes famous, and years later a biographer seeks to unravel the true relationship between Cecil and George.
Annotation:Based on the true story of Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary in China who turned her college into a safe haven for 10,000 women and children during the 1937 Nanjing massacre.
Annotation:In the 1920s, Hadley Richardson marries Ernest Hemingway and accompanies him to Paris, where their whirlwind life puts a strain on their marriage.
Annotation:In 1984 Tokyo, an assassin who targets abusive men realizes she’s in a parallel world, while a ghostwriter is hired to rewrite a strange, visionary story by a girl raised in a religious cult.
Annotation:On her way to vaccinate orphans in the Balkans, a woman learns of her grandfather’s death far from home and recalls the stories he told her as a child.
Annotation:In the 1950s, an 11-year-old boy is sent from Ceylon to England aboard a ship where he meets two other boys and an assortment of stray adults who are seated at the cat’s table as far as possible from the captain’s table.
Annotation:The story of four generations of a Chicago family, centered on Alexander Popper, a failed writer working for the Cook County Public Defender, who meets the mother of his child at the University of Michigan.
Annotation:A group of “picture brides” from Japan arrive in San Francisco to meet their new husbands and struggle with hard work and a new language and culture.
Annotation:In postwar South Korea, a woman who hopes to become a diplomat is ordered by her father to marry and accepts a suitor who promises to let her work but ends up regretting her decision to turn down another man’s proposal.
Annotation:A researcher at a pharmaceutical company is sent into the Amazon to locate her former mentor who has been out of contact for two years while working on a valuable new drug.
Annotation:A collection of stories presenting a view of the world that the New York Times calls “large and compassionate, delivered through small, beautifully precise moments.”
Annotation:After learning the truth about her parentage, Joy flees to China to find her father and enthusiastically embraces Communism until the new regime’s agricultural policies lead to famine. Sequel to Shanghai Girls.
Annotation:After a woman goes missing at a Seoul train station, her husband and children look for her and realize they’ve never paid her enough attention.
Annotation:Three generations of women from a Boston Irish-Catholic family gather at their summer home in Maine with baggage including a drinking problem, an unplanned pregnancy, and guilt over an untimely death.
Annotation:In 1930s New York, two young women who room at a boardinghouse meet a banker in a jazz club and become friends until an accident causes him to choose one of them while the other goes on to forge a career.
Annotation:As part of a jury selecting a memorial for the victims of 9/11, a woman who lost her husband that day champions a plan for a walled garden, but a media circus and public outcry ensue when it is learned that the designer is a Muslim-American architect.
Annotation:A motherless teenage girl living in poverty in Mississippi realizes that she is pregnant as she braces for the arrival of Hurricane Katrina along with her alcoholic father and her three brothers. National Book Award winner.