Looking for something good to read over the holidays? Below are Kirstin and Heather's picks for the best Adult Fiction books released this year.
All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai
Edgar and Lucy by Victor Lodato
I worried it would be a chore to read this book because the subject matter seems bleak, even for me (it covers the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son Willie at age 11). The book mostly takes place over one night in “bardo”- the space between life and death. I know, it sounds like a heavy read, but Saunders nicely balances the narrative with humor. There are some very interesting characters in the Bardo at the same time as Willie!
Set mainly in Tel Aviv, this novel tackles the issues of identity and grief through the dual narratives of two Americans recovering from personal crises while staying at the Tel Aviv Hilton. Jules Epstein is an aging lawyer who has taken to giving up his possessions and money in the wake of his parents’ deaths; he hopes to find a way to honor his parents in Israel. Nicole is a writer in her late 30s grappling with the dissolution of her marriage and writer’s block.
Jackson is an author more people should read. Her books portray complicated and deep friendships between women. Jackson deals with serious issues intelligently in her books; in this title she tackles racism in the South and sexism in the comic book industry. This book includes both an interesting “why did she do it?” mystery and a sweet love story.
Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney
A fantastic first novel about a group of friends with complicated relationships set in Dublin. Check out my full review here!
Gone to Dust by Matt Goldman
A fun murder mystery romp set in Minnesota during the dead of winter. When a dead divorcee proves to be the first murder Edina (a posh suburb of Minneapolis) has faced in a long time, the department enlists the help of grizzled private detective Nils Shapiro. Written by Seinfeld alum Goldman, this book is often funny and a quick read.
A wonderful collection of short stories set in the fictional town of Amgash, Illinois, the home town of Lucy Barton (the heroine of a previous Strout novel).
This book has some major twists, some of which stretch the imagination. It seems to be divisive for some readers, but I found it a fun and interesting read that would make for some great discussion! It’s loosely about a female reporter named Rachel looking for the identity of her father, and later her marriage to a wealthy businessman who may be leading a double life. Throughout the novel Rachel is plagued by guilt and anxiety from her time spent reporting in Haiti, which manifests itself in agoraphobia.
Looking for some historical fiction? Check out this title by Canadian author Robson. Set during World War II, Ruby is a female reporter sent to London to cover the warfront. Ruby is an orphan, so she hopes the change of scenery will allow people to see beyond her humble origins. This is a little bit schmaltzy, but I enjoyed hearing about the history of the war from a European perspective.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
This debut novel about a misfit in Glasgow finding her first friendship is absolutely delightful. You can read my whole review here.
Molly and Cassie are best friends as well as twins. However, when Cassie gets a serious girlfriend, Molly feels left out. She’s only had crushes on boys, never a relationship. This is a charming teen book that captures how the girls’ looming adulthood threatens their ultra-close relationship.