There have been some marvellous pieces of literary fiction released this year. For some genre-bending, character-driven novels, check out our list below!
By Colson Whitehead
To his customers and neighbours on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably-priced furniture, making a life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver's Row don't approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks,it's still home. Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger and bigger all the time.
By Charlotte Mendelson
Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for a new exhibition of his art – the first in many decades – and one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good. His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, sensitive Patrick, and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has a momentous decision to make.
By Kiran Millwood Hargrave
It's 1518 in Strasbourg, and in the intense summer heat a solitary woman starts to dance in the main square. She dances for days without rest, and is joined by hundreds of other women. The city authorities declare a state of emergency, and bring in musicians to play the devil out of the dancing women. Meanwhile pregnant Lisbet, who lives at the edge of the city, is tending to the family's bees. The dancing plague intensifies, as Lisbet is drawn into a net of secret passions and deceptions. Inspired by true events, this is a compelling story of superstition, transformative change and women pushed to their limits.
By Hanya Yanagihara
This amazing new novel from the author of A Little Life begins in the nineteenth century, and spans stories of love, family, loss and promised utopia over the following three centuries. In 1893, New York is part of the Free States, and a gentle young member of a privileged family falls for a charismatic and impoverished music teacher. In 1993 Manhattan is being swept by the AIDS epidemic, and a young Hawaiian man with a wealthy older partner must hide his difficult family background. And in 2093 in a world where plague and totalitarian rule is rife, a young woman tries to solve the mystery of her husband's disappearances.
By Maddie Mortimer
Something is moving in Lia's body, learning her life with gleeful malevolence and spreading through the rungs of her larynx, the bones of her trachea.
When a shock diagnosis forever changes Lia's world, boundaries in her life begin to break down as buried secrets emerge. A voice prowling inside of her takes hold of her story, merging the landscape within her body with the one outside.
By Hernan Diaz
A literary puzzle about money, power, and intimacy, TRUST is a novel that challenges the myths shrouding wealth, and the fictions that often pass for history.
Even through the roar and effervescence of the 1920s, everyone in New York has heard of Benjamin and Helen Rask. He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top of a world of seemingly endless wealth—all as a decade of excess and speculation draws to an end. But at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune?
By Mieko Kawakami
Freelancer proofreader Fuyuko is shy and solitary. About to turn thirty-five, she is haunted by her past encounters, and is unable to even imagine a successful relationship. But she has one friend, Hijiri, and she loves the light. On Christmas Eve, the night of her birthday, Fuyuko leaves her home to count the lights, and an encounter with physics teacher Mr. Mitsutsuka opens up another dimension. Poetic, pulsing and unexpected, this is the third novel by internationally bestselling writer Mieko Kawakami.
By Anna Della Subin
What does it mean for a man to become a god in the eyes of his people? Or, given the knotty relationship between deification and colonisation, those who are not yet his people? Anna Della Subin’s non-fiction work is a fascinating account of individuals – from Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie to the Spanish conquistadors and the Indian philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti – who have found themselves attributed, sometimes unwillingly, with the powers of an immortal.
The story follows a young opera singing who meets a charming man while performing one evening. The repeated blooming and withering of their relationship is an exhausting performance, but it's an alluring romance to which you can understand the characters reluctantly returning.