Share 11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

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Certain books redefine the way we think about storytelling. These eleven episodic novels do not follow traditional linear storylines, but don’t think of them as short story collections either. Read as a whole, these narratives illuminate in their content and structure how we’re more connected than we think.


Olive Kitteridge
by Elizabeth Strout
At times stern, at times patient, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge is one of literature’s most complex characters in recent years. This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel offers profound insight into the human condition—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.
Olive Kitteridge
Elizabeth Strout

At times stern, at other times patient, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge is one of literature’s most complex characters in recent years. This Pulitzer Prize–winning novel offers profound insights into the human condition—its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

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Winesburg, Ohio
by Sherwood Anderson

If you enjoyed the array of personalities in the podcast—the troubled young man, the suspicious distant relatives, the crew at the tattoo parlor, and the outsider observing it all—pick up Sherwood Anderson’s moving collection of interrelated stories, WINESBURG, OHIO. Ohio-born Anderson illuminates the loneliness and frustration—spiritual, emotional, and artistic—of life in a small American town.

Read a review of WINESBURG, OHIO here.

Winesburg, Ohio
Sherwood Anderson

If you enjoyed the array of personalities in the podcast—the troubled young man, the suspicious distant relatives, the crew at the tattoo parlor, and the outsider observing it all—pick up Sherwood Anderson’s moving collection of interrelated stories, WINESBURG, OHIO. Ohio-born Anderson illuminates the loneliness and frustration—spiritual, emotional, and artistic—of life in a small American town.

Read a review of WINESBURG, OHIO here.

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The Red Garden
by Alice Hoffman

In exquisite prose, Alice Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters’ lives are intertwined by fate and by their own actions.

The Red Garden
Alice Hoffman

In exquisite prose, Alice Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters’ lives are intertwined by fate and by their own actions.

MENTIONED IN:

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By Julianna Haubner | November 18, 2016

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By Amy Hendricks | May 31, 2016

11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 3, 2015

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A Visit from the Goon Squad
by Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals the pasts of two music industry veterans in this Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. With music pulsing on every page, this masterpiece is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

A Visit from the Goon Squad
Jennifer Egan

Jennifer Egan brilliantly reveals the pasts of two music industry veterans in this Pulitzer Prize–winning novel. With music pulsing on every page, this masterpiece is a startling, exhilarating novel of self-destruction and redemption.

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11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

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The Beggar Maid
by Alice Munro

In this series of interwoven stories, Alice Munro investigates the evolving bond between two wildly different women, a stepmother and stepdaughter, over the course of almost forty years.

The Beggar Maid
Alice Munro

In this series of interwoven stories, Alice Munro investigates the evolving bond between two wildly different women, a stepmother and stepdaughter, over the course of almost forty years.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 3, 2015

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Our Kind
by Kate Walbert

Kate Walbert masterfully conveys the dreams and reality of a group of women who were once country-club housewives, and are now divorced, independent, and breaking the rules. This brilliant, thought-provoking novel opens a window into the world of a generation of women caught in a cultural limbo.

Our Kind
Kate Walbert

Kate Walbert masterfully conveys the dreams and reality of a group of women who were once country-club housewives, and are now divorced, independent, and breaking the rules. This brilliant, thought-provoking novel opens a window into the world of a generation of women caught in a cultural limbo.

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11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

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This Is How You Lose Her
by Junot Diaz

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz turns his pen to the haunting, impossible power of love and the story of the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness.

This Is How You Lose Her
Junot Diaz

Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz turns his pen to the haunting, impossible power of love and the story of the irrepressible, irresistible Yunior, a young hardhead whose longing for love is equaled only by his recklessness.

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The Madonnas of Echo Park
by Brando Skyhorse
This series of artfully interwoven tales chronicles a community of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles who work as cleaners, gardeners, and day laborers as they chase the American dream. Eye-opening and deeply human, it illuminates an often hidden segment of American life.
The Madonnas of Echo Park
Brando Skyhorse

This series of artfully interwoven tales chronicles a community of Mexican immigrants in Los Angeles who work as cleaners, gardeners, and day laborers as they chase the American dream. Eye-opening and deeply human, it illuminates an often hidden segment of American life.

MENTIONED IN:

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11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

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Joy for Beginners
by Erica Bauermeister

Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate is challenged by six close friends to go white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon. Though Kate is reluctant, she agrees when each woman says she’ll do one thing in the next year that scares her. Their stories interweave to form a seamless portrait of the power of female friendships.

Joy for Beginners
Erica Bauermeister

Having survived a life-threatening illness, Kate is challenged by six close friends to go white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon. Though Kate is reluctant, she agrees when each woman says she’ll do one thing in the next year that scares her. Their stories interweave to form a seamless portrait of the power of female friendships.

MENTIONED IN:

11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

By Off the Shelf Staff | November 3, 2015

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Life After Life
by Kate Atkinson
This wildly creative tale about second chances and alternate histories follows the many lives of one woman who lives her life over and over, instantly returning to where her former life left off each time she dies.
Life After Life
Kate Atkinson

During a snowstorm in 1910, a baby is born. She dies before she can draw her first breath. During a snowstorm in 1910, the same baby is born and lives. What if there were an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you be able to save the world from its own destiny? What power can one woman exert over the fate of civilization as she lives through the turbulent events of the twentieth century again and again?

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11 Artfully Interwoven Episodic Tales

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Cloud Atlas
by David Mitchell

In a narrative that traverses centuries and space, David Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky. It is a daring exploration of reality and identity.

Cloud Atlas
David Mitchell

In a narrative that traverses centuries and space, David Mitchell reveals how his disparate characters connect, how their fates intertwine, and how their souls drift across time like clouds across the sky. It is a daring exploration of reality and identity.

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By Emma Volk | September 1, 2015

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