Contemporary Fiction and Memoir
- Where to Go
- The Best of Vermont
- Rumblings of Revolution
- New, New England Dining
- Boston’s Artistic Expression
- Vermont Leaf Peeping
- Into the Wild
- Vermont Skiing at Its Best
- Visit Vermont’s Maple Sugar Shacks
- Connecticut for Kids
- Vermont’s Covered Bridges
- A Shore Thing
- Vermont with Kids
- Portland Maine Art Galleries
- Small-Town Flavor
- Connecticut’s Wine Trails
- New Hampshire’s Farmers Markets
- A Weekend of Vermont Art
- Family Matters
- Maine Wilderness Camps
- Vermont Cheddar Houses
- Connecticut Spas
Brown, Dan. The Dante Club. New York: Random House, 2004. This best-selling novel is inspired by a real-life club of Boston academics, including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and Oliver Wendell Holmes, who worked to translate Dante’s Divine Comedy. For a twist, Brown turns the scholars into sleuths working to solve a string of hellish murders.
Greenlaw, Linda. The Lobster Chronicles: Life on a Very Small Island. New York: Hyperion, 2003. The sword boat captain featured in Sebastian Junger’s non-fiction book The Perfect Storm returns with a fascinating memoir of her return to her family’s home on Isle Au Haut in Maine to try her hand at the lobstering business.
Irving, John. Many of the most popular books of this cult American novelist are set in New England. For example, The Cider House Rules is centered around an orphanage in Maine, The World According to Garp takes place in part at a New England boarding school, and A Prayer for Owen Meaney concerns several generations of a troubled New England family.
King, Stephen. No list of New England fiction would be complete without mentioning the modern master of the macabre, who set many of his novels and short stories in Maine and other New England states. Several, including It and The Tommyknockers, take place in the fictional Maine town of Derry— which bears remarkable resemblance to the city of Bangor.
Levin, Ira. The Stepford Wives. 1972, New York: HarperTorch, 2004. The dark side of suburbia is explored in this wry parody about the sinister town of Stepford, Connecticut, where there’s something not quite right about the women. Of the two movie adaptations of the book, cult movie fans prefer the original 1975 version with Katharine Ross to the 2004 remake with Nicole Kidman and Bette Midler.
MacDonald, Michael Patrick. All Souls: A Family Story from Southie. New York: Ballantine, 2000. In writing his moving memoir of Irish-American life, MacDonald does for South Boston what Frank McCourt did for Dublin.
Metalious, Grace. Peyton Place. 1956, Northeastern University Press, 1999. The book about a small New England town and the secrets it holds behind not-so-closed-doors was a sensation when it was published in the 1950s, going on to inspire a TV show and movie.
McMahon, Jennifer. Promise Not To Tell. Harper, 2007. A haunting thriller set in Vermont, this recent debut novel expertly weaves between two child murders, one in the past, one in the present.
Russo, Richard. Empire Falls. New York: Vintage, 2001. A slow-paced evocation of blue-collar life in a Maine mill town, this book was made into an HBO mini-series starring Paul Newman and Ed Harris in 2005.
Shreve, Anita. The Weight of Water. New York: Little, Brown & Co., 1998. This haunting story uses the real-life murders on New Hampshire’s Isle of Shoals 100 years ago to explore the complex relationship between a journalist and her husband.
Updike, John. The Witches of Eastwick. New York: Knopf, 1984. Three randy witches scandalize a small Rhode Island town in this popular favorite, based on Updike’s former hometown of Ipswich, Massachusetts (where part of the movie starring Jack Nicholson was filmed).
© Michael Blanding and Alexandra Hall from Moon New England, 2nd Edition