The best fiction of | Books | The GuardianThis being an Ali Smith novel, it also found solace in the consolations of friendship and art, spinning a typically lightfooted meditation on mortality, mutability and how to keep your head in troubled times around the tale of an uncertain young woman and her elderly childhood friend. But times were good for fiction: this was a rich 12 months, with plenty of big names and big ideas — though not always wrapped up in the same package. The sprawling Here I Am Hamish Hamilton ranges over such weighty subjects as America, Israel, marriage and masculinity, with diversions into obscene uses for a doorknob. And in the third year of eligibility, a US author won the Man Booker prize for the first time. This cerebral rollercoaster ride of a novel was praised to the skies in the US but brought to British attention by a Booker list that was full of surprises, and also gave a welcome push to small publishers. Some bold experimenters returned this year. Though some found the contrast between her fractured main narrative voice and the inclusion of a more conventionally told story of abuse jarring, with only her second novel she has achieved the near-impossible — finding a new way to write about sex and intimacy.
FAVORITE BOOKS OF 2016!
The 25 Best Books of 2016
I type those words all too often, as I wrote in this space last year, and the year before, when the list-making season arrived—and nothing has changed this year. Again and again, I have to deliver some version of that message to the many publicists who excitedly email me about the rich season of titles ahead. Ditto authors themselves, a surprising number of whom come right out and ask: Can they expect any coverage in The Atlantic? That means an awful lot of notable books go unnoticed by us. So many worthy books, so little time! What recent work has caught their expert eye?
Best of all is the novel's thematic richness; this is a book about many Book I'm hoping to read before arrives: Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor.
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Best book lists of 2016
In an ideal world, summer would mean endless days of leisurely reading on the beach. But even if all you have is a long weekend, there are some books that are just too good to miss. White Trash Nancy Isenberg. Why should I read it? Isenberg traces the treatment and mistreatment of poor, white Americans back to the time of British colonization, discussing how ideas of class and economic inferiority have manifested.