Author Doris Ober and Patricia Holt, a former Chronicle book critic who leads a monthly book group at Point Reyes Books focused on what she calls “contemporary classics.”   Courtesy of Patricia Holt

Is the growing complexity of life leading to new forms of literary fiction? That’s what Patricia Holt, a former San Francisco Chronicle book critic, is asking her local book club to ponder.

Ms. Holt has been guiding readers through the ins and outs of novels to shed light on the occasionally murky waters of contemporary fiction . . .