Are you looking for the best in contemporary literary fiction? Start here. These three books published by Publerati are each fascinating and powerful. They remind us that some of the most pertinent lessons and messages come from fiction novels. So, whether you’re looking to get reading this holiday season, or want to share the invaluable gift of a good book, check out this list.
Mother Tongue by Joyce Kornblatt
Mother Tongue is a captivating work of fiction that reads like a true story. Author Joyce Kornblatt takes readers on a thought-provoking adventure as a terrible crime unfolds, and lives are changed forever. Filled with mystery and intrigue, this must-read work of literary fiction will keep you wanting more with each page.
The book begins with a shocking discovery. In mid-life, Australian fiction writer Nella Pine learns that she was kidnapped as an infant. She was taken from a hospital in the United States and brought to Australia. The woman who raised her – the woman she knew as her mother – was actually her abductor. As I read the book, I couldn’t help but put myself in Nella’s shoes. Joyce Kornblatt writes the novel in a way that makes it easy to connect with the characters – as her writing allows you to feel their pain and heartache. Just imagine a mother – someone who raised and loved you – being the one who actually took you away from your true family. It’s an intimidating and heartbreaking concept – and one that is thoughtfully depicted in this novel.
In the book, you learn about the four people whose lives were changed by the abduction. Questions are raised – why was she taken? How was the secret kept for so long? What became of the family she was stolen from? It’s a fascinating story that I could not get enough of – I recommend it to all fiction fans and readers.
The Black Cell by Wendy Shaia
The Black Cell is a groundbreaking novel that you need to read this year, particularly if you’re an ally and advocate for social justice and anti-racism. Wendy Shaia’s book is a Black dystopian fantasy that is grounded in her experience as a Baltimore activist, professor, and social justice leader.
In the near-future story, the year is 2024 and police brutality is at an all-time high in America. Protagonist Corey Masters is a young Black man who has experienced intense racism, a false arrest, and his anger is at a boiling point. He is forced to endure life in a world that does not love him back.
His roommate introduces him to the Baltimore Cell – one of the many secret groups in the country recruiting and training Black people for armed resistance. Now, in this dystopian world, a newly elected white supremacist president seeks to empower a group called Alt that is determined to return Black people to slavery. In the fight against oppression, slavery, and evil, The Cell joins with a group called La Lucha and works together to build a resistance against a growing wave of injustice.
This is a dystopian and alternative future novel like no other. Wendy Shaia’s voice is strong and powerful – as she uses fiction as a mechanism to educate readers on anti-racist practices. Wendy also has published several non-fiction articles examining the oppression experienced by Black people in urban settings. Her novel will make you think about the world we live in, and the progress we still need to make. It’s a thoughtful, perfectly written, and powerful examination of oppression and its horrific implications. Racial injustice is something everyone needs to care about. This book is a great place to begin learning about how we can collectively defeat racism.
Compass by Murray Lee
Compass is a joy to read that is written with great style and humor. In the book, author Murray Lee thoughtfully constructs a unique survival story that challenges the standard perception of the heroic and conquering white male adventurer.
The book’s narrator made a career as a journalist – crafting stories for a major geographic magazine about expeditions. After being called out for his own dishonesty and ingenuity, he sets out on an adventure of his own. But his adventure is anything but heroic. Rather, it’s an ill-advised and poorly planned trip to the Arctic floe edge. When the ice breaks and he loses his guide, the narrator finds himself alone, lost, and adrift in the hostile northern sea. Now, he must bank on his knowledge of historic expeditions to craft his own amateurish attempt at survival.
Despite his knowledge of history, Inuit mythology, and the Arctic, the narrator is a self-aware disaster who is essentially useless. The only thing he is capable of doing is steering himself into danger – repeatedly, often comically, and ultimately tragically.
This engrossing novel challenges the norm of survival stories – and takes readers on an entirely unique adventure. As this not-so-great adventurer travels into distant lands, the novel tackles thought-provoking concepts and themes – like the havoc white explorers wreak on indigenous communities. We have too many hero stories. It’s time to read about an anti-hero who, despite conviction and confidence, is in entirely over his head. Murray Lee’s extraordinary book is a great reminder that we all can’t be heroes. And there is plenty to learn from those who strive for heroism, but face tragic failure.