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Librarians' Choice 2000 - Fiction

Since 1992, the Fiction Department has published an annual "Librarians' Choice" list of staff picks, sixty or seventy fiction titles that were particular favorites of our reviewers that year. Call or email the Fiction Department for copies, or pick up the lists from recent years at your branch. Watch for the 2000 issue, which includes these titles, coming soon.

The Blind Assassin
Margaret Atwood (also in large print and on audiocassette)
In this tour-de-force of narrative structure, Atwood balances three stories within stories. The main plotline is the confessional memoir of elderly Ontario socialite Iris Chase Griffen, as she gradually explains how she failed her brilliant, troubled sister, Laura, now a posthumously famous novelist.

A Friend of the Earth
T.C. Boyle
From a future year ravaged by global warming, infamous eco-terrorist Ty Tierwater looks back on his deeds for a cause that made a martyr of his only daughter. A stylish and blackly funny satire about the contradictions of a commitment to violence in the service of nature.

A Good House
Bonnie Burnard
In 1949, just after World War II, Bill and Sylvia Chambers start a family in a cozy house that has a picket fence and two big maples out front. They have three children, who grow up and have children of their own. Burnard tells the stories of three generations with wisdom and plain-spoken charm.

Winter Range
Claire Davis
In a story as stark and beautiful as the Montana landscape, Davis describes the crisis that occurs when a rancher decides to let his herd starve to death one harsh winter in protest against foreclosure on his farm. The sheriff, an outsider, is caught in the middle of the tragedy in this intensely moving novel.

The Last Samurai
Helen Dewitt
Child prodigy Ludo reads Greek when he is five and learns new languages like most children learn new games. When he turns eleven, though, he decides he must find out who his father is, something his mother will not reveal. His unique approach makes for a dazzling display of art and erudition.

After Life
Rhian Ellis
As a child, Naomi Ash and her mother moved to Train Line, New York, home to a community of mediums and spiritualists. Still struggling to figure out her place in the town, the adult Naomi fears what the recent discovery of secretly buried bones may mean to her future.

The Blood Latitudes
William Harrison
A retired American journalist searches for his only son, a reporter missing amid the bloody ethnic conflict in Rwanda. This is a powerful and unforgettable story of a father's love and his nightmare journey through a landscape of violence and unspeakable atrocity.

The Old American: A Novel
Ernest Hebert
Hebert's novel is based on a true story, but it's the author's splendid imagining of the main character that makes this book extraordinary. In 1746, an elderly chief on a raid against a New Hampshire settlement takes a young white man captive, and that impulsive act changes far more than two lives.

Madame
Antoni Libera
"Madame" is the all-consuming passion of the nameless narrator in this charming novel set in 1960s Warsaw, Poland. This universal tale is an exquisite balance of humor and pathos as the young man careens between school-boy crush and deeper understanding of genuine feeling.

The Twins
Tessa de Loo
A chance meeting with a Dutch woman reunites seventy-year-old Anna with her long-lost twin, Lotte, from whom she was separated at six. Anna became the housekeeper for a high-ranking Nazi; Lotte was active in the Dutch Resistance. A compelling study of two sisters, the book is also a forceful story of survival and emotional fortitude.

Morgan's Run
Colleen McCullough (also on audiocassette and compact disk)
Framed by an angry businessman, gunsmith Richard Morgan is sentenced to seven years transportation to Australia. The book's details of the English justice system, the long sea voyage, and the painstaking progress of settlement make for a fascinating account, one based on the life of an ancestor of McCullough's husband. First in a new series.

A Place of Execution
Val McDermid
Detective Inspector George Bennett's 1963 investigation brought to justice the murderer of a thirteen-year-old girl from an insular English hamlet. Thirty-five years later, he has agreed to tell the story for a book--until he stumbles on startling new evidence.

Wild Decembers
Edna O'Brien (also in large print and on audiocassette)
An outwardly simple story becomes a mesmerizing tale of the strong ties of family and ancestral land in the hands of Irish writer O'Brien. The newcomer to a small mountain village sets off a crisis in which grudges, guilt, and anger will inevitably, tragically erupt.

Abe: A Novel
Richard Slotkin
Slotkin's novel focuses on Abraham Lincoln's early life, and the small but significant moments that would come to form his life views, including his opinions on slavery. It's a newly illuminating portrait of the little known beginnings of one of America's most famous men.

The Book of Revelation
Rupert Thompson
In Amsterdam, a British ballet dancer is kidnapped by three mysterious women and sexually abused and tortured for eighteen days. He travels the world seeking signs of his abusers, a nomad obsessed and transformed by ordeal, a reverse-role P.O.W. of the sexual revolution.

Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years
Sue Townsend
This is the latest installment of the life and travails of the now thirty-year-old Adrian Mole. Although Adrian is now considerably more mature, his various life crises are still never without their amusing aspects. Adrian's life story remains as fresh and as funny as ever.