2017 has been a bumper year for literary fiction.
The quantity and standard of new literary fiction books released since January have been outstanding.
I’ve picked a selection of the ones that have really impressed me – there are eight literary fiction gems and two non-fiction blinders that I just couldn’t ignore.
(My countdown is in no particular order – it would be like choosing a favourite child.)
The literary fiction line-up
A murder mystery set in 1960s New York. A brilliant piece of suspense and drama wrapped in sublime prose. I just loved this debut from Emma Flint.
Another gripping book with a disturbing plot. Exquisitely crafted and bristling with the heat of the Deep South, this is a thrilling read from start to finish.
A fascinating book exploring culture, religion and politics across Europe and Asia. Expertly delivered in Shafak’s inimitable style.
An accomplished debut novel exploring the lives of the occupants of a Parisian apartment block. It looks at race, religion and terrorism and how humanity survives them all.
A perfect piece of South American fiction, filled with magical realism, mystery and intrigue. It certainly earned its place on the Man Booker International Prize shortlist.
One of the most important books of the year by a mile. A dystopian tale of gender relations and the corrupting nature of power. A truly brilliant book.
A beautifully written and poignant debut novel about love and loss. Moving between narrative voices and timeframes, it will have you hooked until the final heartbreaking pages.
Another debut novel, and another striking read. Funny, witty and life-affirming, you must read this simply rather lovely book.
The non-fiction duo
And, now for two works of non-fiction that really stood out from the crowd.
This collection of essays, curated by 404 Ink, chronicles what it’s like to be a woman in the 21st century. It pulls no punches and presents a blistering portrayal of womanhood in Trump-era America and a UK consumed by Brexit.
Part self-help, part memoir, this book will resonate with anyone trying to be an adult. Buchanan’s dry wit and sharp honesty pierce through the pages of this highly entertaining and immensely practical book.
I urge you to try all of these titles before the year is out if you can. They are brimming with inspiring stories, dynamic characters and truly beautiful writing.