Year-End Fiction Roundup: The Best Novels of 2013
The 2013 fiction landscape was abundant with riches: The best novels of the year include ambitious epics that span decades and tell the stories of families and nations, audacious debuts that challenge our perceptions of race and belonging, eye-opening alternative takes on history we thought we knew and many more books that offer pleasure and discovery on every page. Check out this list of the year's best books--and what makes them great--to help you choose your next read.
In a nutshell: An expansive, coming-of-age tale of art and life in New York City, Las Vegas and Amsterdam from the author of "The Secret History."
Why it's great: The generous scope of the story and electric vividness of Donna Tartt's characters recall the novels of Dickens, while her sentences are diamond-sharp.
In a nutshell: A startling take on the conquest of the American West as told through the generations of an influential Texas family.
Why it's great: In patriarch Eli McCullough--who was kidnapped by Comanche Indians at 12, proved up and became a Comanche warrior, then reluctantly rejoined white society--Philipp Meyer has created one of the most memorable rebel heroes in contemporary fiction.
In a nutshell: A revisionist history of the abolitionist John Brown, as told by a slave boy who passes for a girl.
In a nutshell: A London-born, American-raised Nigerian/Ghanaian writer explores African immigrants in America.
Why it’s great: Another daring first novel: In her beautifully wrought and moving story of an African family in America, Taiye Selasi moves beyond Pan-Africanism and gestures toward our global future.
In a nutshell: A novel about waste and whether it's possible to live "off the grid"--in New York, no less.
Why it’s great: In Jonathan Miles' engrossing story--about dumpster-diving freegans, a debt-collection magnate and a man confronting nuclear waste--we come face to face with our unavoidable human legacy: trash.
Why it's great: Beyond the remarkable physical object in your hands--Abrams' and Doug Dorst's creation comes in a slipcase, looks like a weathered library book and is stuffed with postcards, letters and marginal notes--"S." is an atmospheric and intriguing story of identity, love and creativity.
In a nutshell: An historical epic of New Zealand with a structure based on astrology.
Why it's great: While challenging, Eleanor Catton's ambitious, Booker Prize-winning novel offers particular delights for readers puzzling out its intricate structure, for those who love adventure tales and for fans of love stories.
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