The University of Chicago Library
Contemporary Fiction | Notable Fiction and Poetry of 2007
Notable Books of the Year: Fiction and Poetry, 2007
The New York Times Book Review
December 2, 2007


Links to the full book reviews are available on the New York Times Book Review web site. Free registration is required for first-time readers.

Aciman, Andri. Call Me by Your Name. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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PS3601.C525 C35 2007
Aciman's novel of love, desire, time and memory describes a passionate affair between two young men in Italy.

Amis, Martin. House of Meetings. London: Jonathan Cape, 2006.
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PR6051.M5H68 2006
U.S. edition available in Harper: PR6051.M5 H68 2007
A Russian World War II veteran posthumously acquaints his stepdaughter with his grim past of rape and violence.

Armantrout, Rae. Next Life. Middletown, Conn.: Wesleyan University Press, 2007.
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PS3551.R455 N49 2007
Poetry that conveys the invention, the wit and the force of mind that contests all assumptions.

Azzopardi, Trezza. Winterton Blue. New York: Grove Press : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2007.
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PR6051.Z96 W56 2007
An unhappy young woman meets an even unhappier drifter.

Barry, Rebecca. Later, at the Bar: A Novel in Stories. New York: Simon & Schuster, c2007.
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PS3602.A77758 L38 2007
The small-town regulars at Lucy's Tavern carry their loneliness in "rough and beautiful" ways.

Bolaño, Roberto. The Savage Detectives; translated by Natasha Wimmer. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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Harper Library
PQ8098.12.O38 D4813 2007
A craftily autobiographical novel about a band of literary guerrillas.
Best Book

Chabon, Michael. The Yiddish Policemen's Union. New York: HarperCollins, 2007.
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Harper Library
PS3553.H15 Y53 2007
Cops, thugs, schemers, rabbis, chess fanatics and obsessives of every stripe populate this screwball, hard-boiled murder mystery set in an imagined Jewish settlement in Alaska.

Cohen, Leah Hager. House Lights. New York: W.W. Norton, c2007.
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PS3553.O42445 H77 2007
The heroine of Cohen's third novel abandons her tarnished parents for the seductions of her grand-mother's life in theater.

Curtis, Rebecca. Twenty Grand: and Other Tales of Love and Money. New York: Harper Perennial, c2007.
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PS3603.U779 T94 2007
In this debut collection, a crisp, blunt tone propels stories both surreal and realistic.

Davis, Lydia. Varieties of Disturbance: Stories. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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PS3554.A9356 V37 2007
Dispensing with straight narrative, Davis microscopically examines language and thought.

DeLillo, Don. Falling Man. New York: Scribner, 2007.
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Harper Library
PS3554.E4425 F36 2007
Through the story of a lawyer and his estranged wife, DeLillo resurrects the world as it was on 9/11, in all its mortal dread, high anxiety and mass confusion.

Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.
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PS3554.I259 B75 2007
A nerdy Dominican-American yearns to write and fall in love.

Dillard, Annie. The Maytrees. New York: HarperCollinsPublishers, c2007.
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PS3554.I398 M39 2007
A married couple find their way back to each other under unusual circumstances.

Eggers, Dave. What is the What: The Autobiography of Valentino Achak Deng: A Novel. San Francisco: McSweeney's, c2006.
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Harper Library
PS3605.G48 W43 2006
The horrors, injustices and follies in this novel are based on the experiences of one of the Lost Boys of Sudan.

Englander, Nathan. The Ministry of Special Cases. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
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PS3555.N424 M56 2007
A Jewish family is caught up in Argentina's "Dirty War."

Enright, Anne. The Gathering. London: Jonathan Cape, 2007.
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PR6055.N73G38 2007
An Irishwoman searches for clues to what set her brother on the path to suicide.

Farah, Nuruddin. Knots. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.
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PR9396.9.F3 K58 2007
After 20 years, a Somali woman returns home to Mogadishu from Canada, intent on reclaiming a family house from a warlord.

Ferris, Joshua. Then We Came to the End. New York: Little, Brown and Co., 2007.
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PS3606.E774 T47 2007
Layoff notices fly in Ferris's acidly funny first novel, set in a white-collar office in the wake of the dot-com debacle.
Best Book

Hadley, Tessa. Sunstroke: And Other Stories. London: Jonathan Cape, 2007.
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PR6108.A35S86 2007
These resonant tales encapsulate moments of hope and humiliation in a kind of shorthand of different lives lived.

Hamid, Mohsin. The Reluctant Fundamentalist. Orlando: Harcourt, c2007.
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D'Angelo Law
PS3558.A42169 R45 2007
Hamid's chilling second novel is narrated by a Pakistani who tells his life story to an unnamed American after the attacks of 9/11.

Hass, Robert. Time and Materials: Poems, 1997-2005. New York: Ecco, 2007
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On order
What Hass, a former poet laureate, has lost in Californian ease he has gained in stern self-restraint.

Havazelet, Ehud. Bearing the Body. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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PS3558.A776 B43 2007
In this daring first novel, a man travels to California after his brother is killed in what may have been a drug transaction.

Henkin, Joshua. Matrimony. New York: Pantheon Books, c2007.
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PS3558.E49594 M38 2007
Henkin follows a couple from college to their mid-30s, through crises of love and mortality.

Herbert, Zbigniew. The Collected Poems, 1956-1998; translated and edited by Alissa Valles ; with additional translations by Czeslaw Milosz and Peter Dale Scott ; introduction by Adam Zagajewski. New York: Ecco, c2007.
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PG7167.E64 A2 2007
Herbert's poetry echoes the quiet insubordination of his public life.

Jin, Ha. A Free Life. New York: Pantheon Books, c2007.
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PS3560.I6 F74 2007
The Chinese-born author spins a tale of bravery and nobility in an American system built on risk and mutual exploitation.

Johnson, Denis. Tree of Smoke. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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PS3560.O3745 T74 2007
The author of "Jesus' Son" offers a soulful novel about the travails of a large cast of characters during the Vietnam War.
Best Book

Leavitt, David. The Indian Clerk. New York: Bloomsbury : Distributed to the trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, 2007.
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PS3562.E2618 I63 2007
Leavitt explores the intricate relationship between the Cambridge mathematician G.?H. Hardy and a poor, self-taught genius from Madras, stranded in England during World War I.

Mallon, Thomas. Fellow Travelers. New York: Pantheon Books, c2007.
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PS3563.A43157 F45 2007
In Mallon's seventh novel, a State Department official navigates the anti-gay purges of the McCarthy era.

Matar, Hisham. In the Country of Men. London; New York: Viking, 2006.
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PR6113.A87I6 2006
The boy narrator of this novel, set in Libya in 1979, learns about the convoluted roots of betrayal in a totalitarian society.

McCarthy, Tom. Remainder. Paris: Metronome Press, 2005.
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PR6113.C35R46 2005
U.S. edition available in Harper: PR6113.C369 R46 2007
In this debut, a Londoner emerges from a coma and seeks to reassure himself of the genuineness of his existence.

McEwan, Ian. On Chesil Beach. London: Jonathan Cape, 2007.
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PR6063.C4 O6 2007
Consisting largely of a single sex scene played out on a couple's wedding night, this seeming novel of manners is as much a horror story as any McEwan has written.

Mengestu. Dinaw. The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007.
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PS3613.E487 B43 2007
A first novel about an Ethiopian exile in Washington, D.C., evokes loss, hope, memory and the solace of friendship.

Montero, Mayra. Dancing to "Almendra;". translated by Edith Grossman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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PQ7440.M56 S6613 2007
Fact and fiction rub together in this rhythmic story of a reporter on the trail of the Mafia, set mainly in 1950s Cuba.

Munro, Alice. The View from Castle Rock: Stories. Toronto: M&S, 2006.
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PR9199.3.M8 V545 2006
U.S. edition available in Harper: PR9199.3.M8 V54 2006
This collection offers unusually explicit reflections of Munro's life.

Murakami, Haruki. After Dark; translated by Jay Rubin. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
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PL856.U673 A6613 2007
A tale of two sisters, one awake all night, one asleep for months.

Perrotta, Tom. The Abstinence Teacher. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2007.
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PS3566.E6948 A66 2007b
In this new novel by the author of "Little Children," a sex-ed teacher faces off against a church bent on ridding her town of "moral decay."

Petterson, Per. Out Stealing Horses; translated by Anne Born. London: Harvill Secker, 2005.
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PT8951.26.E88 U813 2005
In this short yet spacious Norwegian novel, an Oslo professional hopes to cure his loneliness with a plunge into solitude.
Best Book

Roth, Philip. Exit Ghost. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.
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PS3568.O855 E95 2007
In his latest novel Roth brings back Nathan Zuckerman, a protagonist whom we have known since his potent youth and who now must face his inevitable decline.

Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007.
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D'Angelo Law
PR6068.O93H4 2007
Rowling ties up all the loose ends in this conclusion to her grand wizarding saga.

Russo, Richard. Bridge of Sighs. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007. PS3568.U812 B75 2007
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In his first novel since Empire Falls, Russo writes of a small town in New York riven by class differences and racial hatred.

Shepard, Jim. Like You'd Understand, Anyway: Stories. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2007.
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PS3569.H39384 L55 2007
Shepard's surprising tales feature such diverse characters as a Parisian executioner, a woman in space and two Nazi scientists searching for the yeti.

Sofer, Dalia. The Septembers of Shiraz. New York: Ecco/HarperCollins, c2007.
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PS3619.O378 S47 2007
In this powerful first novel, the father of a prosperous Jewish family in Tehran is arrested shortly after the Iranian revolution.

Thomas, Michael. Man Gone Down. New York: Black Cat : Distributed by Publishers Group West, c2007.
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PS3620.H6352 M36 2007
This first novel explores the fragmented personal histories behind four desperate days in a black writer's life. >BR>Best Book

Thompson, Jean. Throw Like a Girl. New York : Simon & Schuster, 2007.
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PS3570.H625 T47 2007
The women here are smart and strong but drawn to losers.

Tóibín, Colm. Mothers and Sons. London: Picador, 2006.
PR6070.O455M68 2006
In this collection by the author of "The Master," families are not so much reassuring and warm as they are settings for secrets, suspicion and missed connections.

Tomine, Adrian. Shortcomings. Montreal: Drawn & Quarterly, 2007.
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PN6727.T65 S46 2007
The Asian-American characters in this meticulously observed comic-book novella explicitly address the way in which they handle being in a minority.

Trevor, William. Cheating at Canasta. London: Viking, 2007.
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PR6070.R4C44 2007
Trevor's dark, worldly short stories linger in the mind long after they're finished.

Vargas Llosa, Mario. The Bad Girl; translated by Edith Grossman. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007
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D'Angelo Law
PQ8498.32.A65 T7313 2007 This suspenseful novel transforms "Madame Bovary" into a vibrant exploration of the urban mores of the 1960s, '70s and '80s.

Veda, Vendela. Let the Northern Lights Erase Your Name. New York: Ecco, c2007.
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PS3622.I34 L48 2007
A young woman searches for the truth about her parentage amid the snow and ice of Lapland in this bleakly comic yet sad tale of a child's futile struggle to be loved.

Walcott, Derek. Selected Poems; edited by Edward Baugh. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
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PR9272.9.W3 A6 2007
The Nobel Prize winner Walcott, who was born on St. Lucia, is a long-serving poet of exile, caught between two races and two worlds.