7. St. Paul
Until They Bring the Streetcars Back by Stanley Gordon West
Yes, yes — much of Jonathan Franzen’s Earth-shaking new book Freedom is set in St. Paul. But to really get a feel for the city, we suggest Stanley Gordon West’s novel, which takes place in the city, just after World War II. In this wrenching story, quaint, mid-century optimism gives way to a morass of violence and incest, as Cal Grant risks everything to save a girl from her horrifying life.