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Interesting question. The lovely Laila Lalami's Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits would qualify as a fiction of community, albeit a community afloat in a lifeboat.

Leora Skolkin-Smith

Wendi, what comes to mind immediately for me is Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" which is written in separate monologues.
I don't know if this qualifies but Edna O'Brian has a collection of stories, all set in her native Ireland about the characters of her childhood and it's very much a fiction of community, though the "I" is the narrator consistently, it goes into the psyches of people from the same place. It's called "A Fanatic Heart" and Philip Roth wrote a fabulous introduction to the collection.
Also, a lot of Toni Morrison--she oftens does different character voices and points of view to tell one story from a community of participants.

Hope this might help.

Colleen Rich

I would recommend Rainlight by Alison McGhee. It is told from a number of different points of view, including a child's, and is as much about the town as the people.

Dan Wickett

Susan Straight's original publication - Aquaboogie. I think it's actually subtitled A Novel in Stories.

I think Ron Rash's The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth would qualify as well.

Also, the little cartoon at the top of the page no longer does you justice!



In my very humble (and perhaps obvious) opinion, Louise Erdrich's Love Medicine is the champion of the genre. An astonishing intertwining of place and people, never mind that it's the first of, what, six interconnected books by now? Seven?

Christine Comaford

Excellent and timely topic! I find the aspect of connection to be most fascinating in books/films of this style. Yes, seeing the same story through multiple points of view is thrilling when done well, but witnessing the impact that characters will have on one another's lives is even more so. Anticipating the impact of 2 (or more) lives colliding is what holds my attention. Check out the film 13 CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE SAME THING.

valerie trueblood

I've never read a more wonderful and strange group of stories than Eudora Welty's The Golden Apples (1947), about the residents of the imaginary Mississippi town of Morgana.


When is your eagerly anticipated appearance on BookTV?


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