Peter Golden

Classic works of fiction recommended by the author of Comeback Love.



Comeback Love, follows a classic fictional scenario -- a snowy Manhattan evening during which a man reconnects with "the one that got away" thirty-five years ago. When we asked author Peter Golden to pick three favorites, he responded appropriately with these classics -- and told us that limiting himself to three was "hard enough to qualify as the thirteenth labor of Hercules. But here are a novel, a novella, and a short story collection that influenced my writing life." 


Books by Peter Golden




By Robert Louis Stevenson


"The first novel I loved. Thirty years after reading it, I started thinking that it appealed to me because as a child I thought that David Balfour's life on the high seas and the Scottish Highlands was probably more exciting than riding my bike down the tree-lined streets of Maplewood, New Jersey. So I reread the novel and was pleasantly surprised. Stevenson knew how to get a reader to turn the page, and his blending of history and fiction was seamless -- despite the liberties he took. His physical descriptions are lovely -- the blackbirds whistling in the garden lilacs while mist hangs over a valley -- and I've never forgotten David about to plunge from the top of the House of Shaws.


"Parents beware. If you don't want your children to grow up to be writers, you might consider keeping them away from this book."



Goodbye, Columbus

By Philip Roth


"On the surface, Roth does a beautiful job of portraying a summer romance between the narrator, Neil Klugman, a son of lower-middle-class Jewish Newark, and Brenda Patimkin, a tennis-playing Radcliffe student whose parents have left the city for the moneyed, suburban comforts of Short Hills. For me, what remains so remarkable about this novella is not only that Roth managed to catch the American Jewish community in the midst of a seismic shift from their immigrant roots to the pinnacle of Gentile success, but that he also did so in the context of a mundane courtship with an eagle-eye for detail, juxtaposing the shimmering blue water of a country-club pool and the spacious, air-conditioned homes of the suburbs with a stifling hot kitchen in the city and the alleyway where the narrator's aunt and uncle go to share a candy bar to escape the heat."



The Complete Stories

By Flannery O'Connor


"You read these stories and suddenly you're no longer conscious of reading. Instead, you feel as though the events on the page are becoming part of your experience. No writer renders pain, sorrow, and hypocrisy, along with the pedestrian cruelty and bizarre violence of everyday life, with more artistry than O'Connor. She makes every bitter drop of it seem normal, inseparable from a peacock walking down a road or a Bible salesman stealing a woman's artificial leg. On first reading, her prose is clear and unpretentious, but as you move on through her work, her words dissolve into a haunting poetry that is not soon forgotten."

April 23: " 'A job,' the woman repeated again, smiling, as if I hadn't heard her. 'Would you like one?' "

Kenneth Calhoun (Black Moon) and Lysely Tenorio (Monstress) of the Discover Great New Writers program on B-movies, heritage, and finales.

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
A Private Venus

Dubbed "the Italian Simenon," Giorgio Scerbanenco (1911-1969) began his crime-writing career with books set in the USA, but quickly shifted scene closer to home, the city of Milan.  In this adventure, appearing in English for the first time, his underdog hero Dr. Duca Lamberti finds himself in the middle of a seedy, scantily clad criminal racket, where the presence of an outsider could result in death.

The Promise of Hope

Killed last year in the infamous terror attack at Nairobi's Westgate mall, Kofi Awoonor was a national treasure in his native Ghana.  His career began in 1964 with Rediscovery, and this magnum opus serves as a tribute to his entire long journey charting his beloved nation's course through his accomplished poetry.

Winter Mythologies and Abbots

A pair of linked stories finds that, as translator Ann Jefferson relates, "[Pierre] Michon's great theme is the precarious balance between belief and imposture, and the way the greatest aspirations can be complicated by physical desire or the equally urgent desire for what he calls glory."