• Nadia

American Voices: Contemporary Fiction

Our country is full of distinct stories and perspectives. Now, more than ever, it is important to celebrate cultural diversity, justice, and freedom. We have gathered some novels by contemporary authors who inspire us and who focus on different aspects of American identity.


1. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London.


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2. There There by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange’s shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to each other in ways they may not yet realize. A chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American — grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.


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3. Sour Heart: Stories by Jenny Zhang

Narrated by the daughters of Chinese immigrants who fled imperiled lives as artists back home only to struggle to stay afloat — dumpster diving for food and scamming Atlantic City casino buses to make a buck — these seven stories showcase Zhang’s compassion, moral courage, and a perverse sense of humor reminiscent of Portnoy’s Complaint. A darkly funny and intimate rendering of girlhood, Sour Heart examines what it means to belong to a family, to find your home, leave it, reject it, and return again.


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4. Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s magnetic story collection breathes life into her Latina characters of indigenous ancestry and the land they inhabit in the American West. Against the remarkable backdrop of Denver, Colorado — a place that is as fierce as it is exquisite — these women navigate the land the way they navigate their lives: with caution, grace, and quiet force. Sabrina & Corina is a moving narrative of unrelenting feminine power and an exploration of the universal experiences of abandonment, heritage, and an eternal sense of home.


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If any of these books caught your attention, or you’re looking for more, check out our Bookshop. We’ve made a list with various titles for you to shop and in doing so, you help local bookstores!