OK, so here are my top ten novels of the year. Lemme know what you think, and what your own favourites are. I won’t write much about each here, but you can click on the book covers for my reviews in either The Independent on Sunday or The Big Issue magazine from throughout the year. Let’s do this!
1. James Sallis, Others of My Kind (No Exit)
Amazing novella about psychological and physical damage, and how we might possibly survive both and thrive. Sallis manages to pack so much into so few pages. As far as I can find, I was the only person to review this in the UK’s national press, which is a scandal.
2. Helen FitzGerald, The Cry (Faber)
3. Sara Gran, Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway (Faber)
Loads of authors do fucked-up detectives, but Claire DeWitt is so much more, an ultra-cool, fierce as fuck, existential force of nature. Gran is such a brilliant writer. I also read her older novel Come Closer this year, and it was extraordinarily good.
4. Alissa Nutting, Tampa (Faber)
5. Ruth Ozeki, A Tale for the Time Being (Canongate)
6. John Niven, Straight White Male (William Heinemann)
7. Alan Glynn, Graveland (Faber)
8. David Vann, Goat Mountain (William Heinemann)
This felt like the logical end-point of Vann’s obsession with violence between fathers and sons. Intense and terrifying aftermath of a shooting trip gone wrong. Oof.
9. Derek B. Miller, Norwegian By Night (Faber)
A thriller with a difference, as an elderly man and a small boy go on the run across rural Norway. As much a character study as anything else. Lovely writing.
10. Marcel Theroux, Strange Bodies (Faber)