Welcome to Pittsburgh: Realistic and Contemporary Fiction

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Reading a story set in the place where you live or have lived has a special appeal. If you grew up in the city and its environs, the story can give you a new point of view, possibly from a character whose life is different than yours.

If you are new to the area, this type of reading gives you an insight into the mythologies that have built up around the place. Or, it can provide a source of good-natured nitpicking with friends if you think the author got something wrong in their portrayal.

In this list you will find stories of contemporary life in Pittsburgh – literary fiction and domestic fiction. Stories of modern immigrants, coming-of-age tales for college students, the sisterhood of sports fans, all types of romance and heartbreak. If you spend time sitting in traffic or waiting lines by making up stories about what’s going on in other people’s heads around you, this list is for you!

Check out our other Pittsburgh fiction lists for Mystery/Thriller, Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and Historical fiction, too!

You can sign up for a free library card here. If you are new to our eResources, check out these tutorial videos on how to get started.

Looking for a good book, album, movie or TV show? We’re happy to recommend them to you! Use this Personalized Recommendations form to send us some information about what you like and we’ll curate a list just for you.

If you have any additional questions, you can contact a librarian through FacebookInstagram or Twitter. You can also call us at 412.622.3114 or email us at info@carnegielibrary.org.

The Book of Jonas

Jonas, born Younis in an unnamed Middle Eastern country, is flown to Pittsburgh by an aid agency after his family is killed in an American raid. In this new environment he struggles with the trauma of war and loss while struggling with culture shock. You can also check out this title as eAudio on OverDrive/Libby or as eAudio on Hoopla.

East Pittsburgh Downlow

A working-class welder turned community college professor narrates the lives of the people he teaches. 

Eighty Days of Sunlight: A Novel

Two brothers move to Pittsburgh to settle their father’s estate and confront the secrets and complications of their childhood.

Last Call in the City of Bridges: A Novel

On election night 2008, Michael Bishop feels hopeful despite having what he feels is a dead-end life. Is meeting smart, pretty Ivy Chase the sign of a turnaround? 

Living Other Lives

Lilly, a former clairvoyant, is stunned by her fiancée’s accidental death, and delivers his daughter to her grandmother in Pittsburgh, where she stays and starts to put down roots. 

Three Rivers

A grieving woman hiding in work is thrown together with an investigative journalist finally come home to Pittsburgh, tormented by memories. They agree to a no-strings-attached affair, but can they keep their promise not to catch feelings

What Happens on Sunday

The Steelers are the connection between six women in Pittsburgh, drawn together by the team’s try for the Super Bowl.  


Wonder Boys

A professor stymied by an endless second book and a student searching for a mentor push each other to make questionable but life-changing decisions. You can also check out this title as eBook on OverDrive/Libby or as eBook on Hoopla.