Contemporary New England Fiction Writers: Background information when reading Five Tuesdays in Winter

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Five Tuesdays in Winter

by Lily King

Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King X
Five Tuesdays in Winter by Lily King
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  • First Published:
    Nov 2021, 240 pages

    Paperback:
    Nov 2022, 256 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Rebecca Foster
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About this Book

Contemporary New England Fiction Writers

This article relates to Five Tuesdays in Winter

Print Review

The stories in Lily King's Five Tuesdays in Winter include settings in Maine, Vermont and Massachusetts, three of the six northeastern states of the USA that are collectively known as New England (the others being New Hampshire, Connecticut and Rhode Island). Below we've highlighted some other contemporary authors who reside in and/or set their fiction in New England, along with examples of their works that reference the region.

Covers of books set in New England

Stephen L. Carter: Carter has been a law professor at Yale since 1982. Alongside his academic publications, he has written six novels. These are epic works of suspense, some historical and some contemporary, and often involve legal battles. His main characters are generally upper-class African Americans. In New England White (2007), a murder case shakes the fictional New England university town of Elm Harbor.

Ann Hood: A Rhode Island native, Hood has published 14 novels, a short story collection and multiple memoirs. Much of her fiction is set in New England. In her debut novel, Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine (1987), three friends who met as hippies at a New England college in the late 1960s follow different paths.

John Irving: Irving is beloved for his sprawling, Dickensian novels packed with quirky characters and fateful coincidences. Several of his best-known works, including The World According to Garp (1978) and A Prayer for Owen Meany (1989), feature Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire — which Irving attended — as a setting.

Jhumpa Lahiri: Born in London but raised in the United States, Lahiri is the author of three novels and two short story collections. She completed several degrees at Barnard College and Boston University. Her first story collection, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), won the Pulitzer Prize. Most of its characters are Indian immigrants who have settled in New England.

Ottessa Moshfegh: Of Croatian and Iranian ancestry, Moshfegh was born in Boston. She has written a novella, three novels and a short story collection. Her debut novel, Eileen (2015), was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and is set in a Massachusetts town nicknamed "X-ville." A creepy Hitchcockian thriller, it focuses on a peculiar young woman who works at a boys' prison.

Richard Russo: From Johnstown, New York, Russo now divides his time between Portland, Maine and Boston. His Pulitzer Prize-winning fifth novel, Empire Falls (2001), is set in the down-at-heel (fictional) Empire Falls, Maine, where a rich clan controls local industry and the property market. Miles Roby has lived here all his life and is the manager of the Empire Grill. Family secrets complicate things in this charming tale of a blue-collar town.

Elizabeth Strout: Strout is from Portland, Maine and has set five of her novels in fictional small towns in Maine, such as Shirley Falls: Amy and Isabelle, Abide with Me, Olive Kitteridge and its sequel Olive, Again, and The Burgess Boys. Characters from the earlier books recur in the later ones. The idea that everyone is connected in small towns is especially clear in the linked short stories of the Olive books, e.g., when they focus on the lives of students the main character taught in her math classes.

Ocean Vuong: This Vietnamese American author's autobiographical debut novel, On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous (2019), takes the form of a long letter from the character Little Dog to his mother that reflects on his upbringing in Hartford, Connecticut, where she was a single parent working in a nail salon. As refugees with little knowledge of English, their early life in the U.S. was a struggle, compounded by the homophobic bullying that Little Dog experienced.

Filed under Reading Lists

Article by Rebecca Foster

This "beyond the book article" relates to Five Tuesdays in Winter. It originally ran in January 2022 and has been updated for the November 2022 paperback edition. Go to magazine.

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