family; will they breed specimens for their own freak show? 348 pp.; 1989
10. Middlemarch George Eliot
Considered to be Eliot's masterpiece and one of the greatest books of the nineteenth century, this novel is about life in a provincial English town. The players are Dorothea, a modern St. Teresa; Lyngate, prototype for today's fashionable liposuction doctor; Rosamond, representing triviality and egoism; and the doomed banker Bulstrode. There is also Casaubon, the husband nobody wants but everyone will recognize. Thoroughly contemporary, and no one is educated without reading it. A must. 795 pp.; 1871-1872
11. Love Medicine Louise Erdrich
First book in a Native American tetralogy that includes The Beet Queen, Tracks, and The Bingo Palace, this is the multigenerational story of two families, the Kashpaws and the Lamartines. 304 pp.; 1984
12. The Sound and the Fury William Faulkner
Difficult but compelling study of the Compsons, an old southern family. This novel concentrates on that complex and subtle time of memory that meshes past and present, reality and illusion, the conscious and the subconscious. My personal choice for best American novel written in the first half of this century. Demanding but more than worth it. Read the shorter As I Lay Dying too. 427 pp.; 1929
13. Are You Mine? Abby Frucht
In her third novel Frucht sketches the moral dilemmas brought on by an unexpected third pregnancy. Her power is in humor. 304 pp.; 1993
14. Turtle Moon Alice Hoffman
A novel about a single mother, her complicated son, and a policeman with guilt. 255 pp.; 1992
15. Natural History Maureen Howard
When a society tramp kills a soldier toward the end of World War II, Billy Bray, a detective, is called on to investigate the case. The murder reveals an undertow of sex, crime, and moral confusion that sweeps Bray and his family into an uncertain future. 416 pp.; 1992
16. The 14 Sisters of Emilio Oscar Hijuelos Montez O'Brien
The author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love writes here about an Irish immigrant who travels to Cuba as a photographer during the Spanish-American War and meets the sensitive and poetic Mariela Montez. She bears him fourteen daughters and, finally, a son, Emilio. A paean to the feminine from a male author. 484 pp.; 1993
Copyright Mickey Pearlman 1999. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of the publisher, Harper Collins.
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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