When God was a Rabbit is a book as entrancing as its title. A coming-of-age story that spans four decades, the book left me dizzy, trying to reconstruct the narrator’s childhood as it was told in fragments and limited by perspective. This is an amazing way to write domestic fiction, because that is how we all really experience family. Who hasn’t begun recalling a family story only to discover that your version is completely different than that of your sibling’s?
Stiltsville is a wonderfully evocative setting for Susanna Daniel’s debut novel of the same name. A group of stilt houses located south of Cape Florida in Briscayne Bay, Stiltsville is both setting and theme in this gem of a novel. Categorized as domestic fiction, Stiltsville spans a generation from 1969 to 2006 and chronicles the lives of Frances and Dennis. It is the story of a marriage, and what could be a better metaphor for marriage than a home, romantically and precariously built over an ocean?
I recently heard Rilla Askew speak, and she eloquently described the influence that Oklahoma has on her writing. Eschewing classification as a regional author, she insists that Oklahoma, the place, allows her to explore American issues and ideas. Oklahoma seems to function as a character in her novels. Just read these opening lines from The Mercy Seat: “There are voices in the earth, telling truth in old stories.
Families. They’re an unrelenting source of literary inspiration—full of conflict, misunderstandings, moments of grace, epiphanies, silences, fractures. Families pull and push us; form and reform us. Family relationships are usually at the heart of my favorite novels, and these relationships tend to be a bit messy. After all, unhappy families are unhappy in their own ways (my paraphrase).
It could be said that Eleanor Henderson’s debut novel Ten Thousand Saints is about ten thousand different things—addiction, adoption, family, hedonism, asceticism, AIDS, poverty, and homelessness—to name a few. A brief synopsis cannot really describe the sensory-overload of this tightly-packed 400 page novel.