New Jersey -- fiction

Elysiana

By Chris Knopf.

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"Gwendalynn Anders, a mid-Western girl who's never seen the ocean, wonders what was in that joint she smoked a week before waking up on Elysiana, and why it feels like the trip will last the entire summer of 1969.

"Jack Halcyon, living atop an abandoned twenty-story hotel, wonders how he's able to ponder the incongruities of life after leaving a big chunk of his brain at the scene of an accident.

"Borough Council President Norman Harlan wonders what cruel God put him on an equal footing with Avery Volpe, the fearsome Captain of the Beach Patrol.

"Twelve miles long and a mile wide, Elysiana is an island off the coast of New Jersey sitting astride the convergence of powerful fault lines social, political, and existential. It s a place of beauty and insanity, shared by the angelic and profane. Where cops, criminals, prodigies, and the promiscuous find themselves at the haphazard mercy of a lunatic providence.

"Other players include a globe-trotting whiz kid, an Italo-Hispanic crime boss, a surfing aesthete and his vulgar roommate, a career car stereo thief, and a seven-year-old girl who's probably spent too much time with the dead bodies in the dunes.

"This is a story that could have only happened on the Jersey Shore during the summer of 69. A time when the social fabric was tearing apart, in a place where that fabric had never been very well knit together."

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The Penny Pinchers Club

By Sarah Strohmeyer

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When Kat discovers that her husband, Griff, has been hiding a secret bank account, her joyful consumerism suddenly loses its appeal. Are their fights about money more serious than she understood? Is he, as her friends suggest, preparing for a divorce? Just in case, Kat decides it's time to start saving and she joins an eclectic but lovable group of savers called the Penny Pinchers Club who teach her that saving time with family is as important as saving money. An irresistible and wonderfully warm-hearted novel about the unexpected ways hardship can lead to happiness.
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Rattled

By Debra Galant

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"Set in the fictional subdivision of -Galapagos Estates,+ Rattled is a very funny look at what happens when soccer moms, animal rights activists, dishonest real estate developers and, of course, rattlesnakes, get together and fight for ascendancy in the rapidly developing New Jersey suburbs.All Heather wants there is a nice house. Well, a nice house and a nice piece of land. And of course a basement gym, a master bath with radiant heat, Jacuzzi and his-and-her toilets. She could make do without a media room if she had to. After all, the pioneers hadn+t had plasma TV, and they+d survived. Heather is not your average suburban housewife-or maybe she is. But when her fortuitous meeting with an endangered species of rattlesnake sets this first novel in motion, you may find yourself feeling sorry for the snake."
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The Lost Legends of New Jersey

By Frederick Reiken

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"Romeo and Juliet in northern New Jersey? Yiddish constellations in Asbury Park? A garbage dump in the Meadowlands that's filled with old musical instruments from a high school marching band? Love and sex, hockey and snorkeling, a family that is falling apart despite the best intentions-this is what Frederick Reiken has delivered in his brilliant second novel. But the real subject is true love, the one and only-known in Yiddish as b'shert. Anthony Rubin, the young protagonist, isn't sure whether he's found it with his neighbor, Juliette, daughter of a reputed Mafioso. His mother, who quits the family after her husband's affair with a neighbor, doesn't believe in true love at all. But his father does, and so does Anthony's grandpa, who meets the love of his life at 78."
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The Wishbones

By Tom Perrotta

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A thirty-one-year-old rock 'n' roll guitarist decides to get married, only to begin an affair with Gretchen, a New York poet. He finds himself torn between letting his dreams die and having a steady gig.
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Mazel

By Rebecca Goldstein

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Mazel means luck in Yiddish, and luck is the guiding force in this magical and mesmerizing novel that spans three generations. Sasha Saunders is the daughter of a Polish rabbi who abandons the shtetl and wins renown as a Yiddish actress in Warsaw and New York. Her daughter Chloe becomes a professor of classics at Columbia. Chloe's daughter Phoebe grows up to become a mathematician who is drawn to traditional Judaism and the sort of domestic life in suburban New Jersey that her mother and grandmother rejected.
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