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Year 2002 Top Fiction Picks

Miracle at St. Anna by James McBride: In a historical novel based on a real-life massacre at St. Anna di Stazzema, a small village in Tuscany, during World War II, four African-American soldiers from the 92nd Division, a band of partisans, and a young Italian boy come together to experience a miracle.

Standing in the Rainbow by Fannie Flagg: Captures the humorous and complex realities of ordinary people living in Elmwood Springs, Missouri, including Neighbor Dorothy, a radio hostess, her son Bobby, the Oatman Family Gospel Singers, and hotshot salesman Hamm Sparks.

The Navigator of New York by Wayne Johnston: An outcast in 19th-century Newfoundland, Devlin Stead receives a letter from explorer Frederick Cook that sends him to New York to become Cook''s protege and to join him in his race to reach the North Pole before his arch-rival, Peary.

Latitudes of Melt by Joan Clark: When a fisherman discovers an ethereal infant floating on an ice floe in the North Atlantic in 1912, the residents of the poor Newfoundland fishing village of Drook believe that the infant with the white hair and eyes of different colors, now named Aurora, is charmed, but it is not until she is an old woman that the truth of her origins--and of her children''s variant temperaments--is finally revealed.

Empire Falls by Richard Russo: Set in a Maine town teetering toward oblivion, Russo introduces a cross section of society''s also-rans; trapped between a past of minimal opportunity and a future unimaginable as anything better, characters settle for diminished returns on the dreams of their parents.

Quentins by Maeve Binchy: While filming a documentary about Quentins, a famed Dublin restaurant, Ella Brady explores the changing face of the city from the 1970s to the present day as she captures the stories of the people who have made Quentins a center of their lives.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: The spirit of 14-year-old Susie Salmon describes her murder, her surprise at her new home in heaven, and her witness to her family''s grief, efforts to find the killer, and attempts to come to terms with what has happened.

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde: In a world where you can actually get lost (literally) in literature, Thursday Next, a notorious Special Operative in literary detection, races against time to stop the world''s Third Most Wanted criminal from kidnapping characters, including Jane Eyre, from works of literature, forcing her to dive into the pages of a novel to stop literary homicide, in a wildly imaginative, mesmerizing thriller.

Househusband by Ad Hudler: When his wife is offered her dream job, Linc Menner leaves his thriving landscape business in Los Angeles to move to Rochester, New York, and to take charge of the household, but he soon finds himself frustrated and bored, missing his wife who is working all hours and never has time for him anymore.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie, translated from the French by Ina Rilke: During the Chinese Cultural Revolution, two boys are sent to the country for reeducation, where their lives take an unexpected turn when they meet the beautiful daughter of a local tailor and stumble upon a forbidden stash of Western literature.

The Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman: Returning to the Heart Lake School for Girls as a Latin teacher to start a new life with her young daughter, Jane is haunted by past tragedy. When the pages of her missing journal resurface, darks secrets are revealed and young girls begin to die once again.

The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King: Follows minister''s wife, Dean Lynch, who, even after 20 years, has struggled to cope with the demands of being a Sunday wife, and whose friendship with the lively beautiful Augusta Holderfield transforms her life.

The Dive from Clausen''s Pier by Ann Packer: When her fiancé, Mike, is left paralyzed following a tragic accident, Carrie Bell begins to question her familiar world, from her everyday life in Wisconsin to her relationships, as she sets out to rediscover her own identity.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan by Sophie Kinsella: Becky Bloomwood, a successful TV financial guru, has finally paid off her debts and credit card bills, until her boyfriend, Luke, invites her to accompany him when he moves to New York, and she discovers the wonders of sample sales, power lunches, and Fifth Avenue.

I Don''t Know How She Does It: The Life of Kate Reddy, Working Mother by Allison Pearson: Kate Reddy, a hedge fund manager and mother of two, struggles to juggle her professional and personal lives and to balance--often unsuccessfully--on the tightrope of work and home.

Conflict Of Interest by Nancy Taylor Rosenberg: While trying three defendants for robbery, district attorney Joanne Kuhlman discovers that one of them is developmentally disabled and may have been exploited by his crime partners, but the case takes a dangerous turn when the young man vanishes.

Mortal Prey by John Sandford: Nearly killed in a hit attempt, retired top hitwoman Clara Rinker goes into hiding, prompting Lucas Davenport, a one-time target of Clara''s, to assist the FBI and DEA in tracking her down before her old bosses in the St. Louis mob get to her first.

Final Round by William Bernhardt: As the prestigious world of professional golf prepares for the Masters Golf Tournament at Georgia''s elite Augusta National Golf Club, a cunning killer waits in the shadows to unleash his own lethal game.

Vossoff And Nimmitz: Just a Couple of Idiots Reupholstering Space and Time by Adam-Troy Castro: The eight stories in this collection present a smorgasbord of slapstick humor, one-liners, and stand-up comic routines cleverly disguised as science fiction tall tales.