No More Mulberries by Mary Smith
Genre: contemporary fiction
Word count: 94,000 (approx)
Set mainly in Afghanistan and spanning the years from the Soviet occupation to the rise of Taliban, No More Mulberries tells the story of Scottish-born midwife Miriam and her Afghan husband Dr Iqbal who work in a remote village in rural Afghanistan. Miriam is concerned about how her husband has changed towards her but doesn’t understand why. She accepts a request to attend a medical teaching camp as a translator for the foreign doctors in attendance she ignores Iqbal’s anger at her going against his wishes. She hopes time apart might help her to understand the cause of their problems.
When a figure from her past, Ismail, arrives at the camp Miriam undertakes a journey into her past. She realises she has never come to terms with the devastating loss of her first husband, who had been killed and sees how her own actions have damaged her relationship with Iqbal. She resolves to try to put things right between them but fears she may be too late.
No More Mulberries is about love, commitment and divided loyalties across a cultural divide. It also provides the reader with an authentic insight into how ordinary Afghan men and women live their lives against a backdrop of war.
by Laurie Boris
Genre: Contemporary fiction, coming-of-age story
Students often fall in love with their teachers. Despite warnings from her mother, that’s exactly what 16-year-old Caitlin Kelly does. But Daniel Benedetto isn’t just any art teacher. Not only is he more than twice Caitlin’s age, he rents the Kellys’ upstairs apartment and suffers from cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening disease. Caitlin watches in torment as other people, especially women, treat Daniel like a freak because of his condition. To Caitlin, Daniel is not a disease, not someone to pity or take care of but someone to care for, a friend, her first love. He, however, seems oblivious to her adoration. In a well-meaning yet naive gesture, Caitlin crosses the line and interferes with his private life, sparking a chain of events with devastating consequences. Neither of them will ever be the same again.
Lucy Lang’s life is spiraling out of control. For years she sacrificed her own needs to care for her half sister and alcoholic mother, only to be abandoned by both. Now, at age 30, Lucy finds herself held back by memories and regret as she struggles to find her own purpose in life. But when her sister needs a kidney transplant, Lucy is the only one who can save her life.
With the help of new friends and a man who won’t give up on her, Lucy sets out on a journey to reunite with her sister and find the answers she so desperately needs. Can she get past her emotions and have a chance at happiness? With its colorful and endearing cast of characters, In Search of Lucy takes readers on a rollercoaster of emotions from sadness and heartache to happiness and hope.
You loved that old TV show. You know the one. With the topical humor that once had you laughing your ass off and quoting the good lines to your friends at lunch the next day. Now you catch it in syndication and it looks a little…dated. The jokes fall flat, the hairstyles are embarrassing, and the whole thing kind of flops around like a dying halibut. You’d put a bullet in its brain if not for the gawking-at-a-car-accident vibe. Then there are other shows that may be even older, yet you can watch episodes over and over and the content still feels new.
The same goes for contemporary fiction. That dead fish, the curdled milk, the rancid orange juice could be your book. Sure, contemporary fiction is, in its essence, contemporary. So why do some novels hold up over time and some quickly get that “not-so-fresh-feeling?” How do you avoid stamping an expiration date on your work? Continue reading “Does Your Novel Have an Expiration Date?”