Ian McEwan has been nominated for the Booker prize multiple times, but my favourite of his is On Chesil Beach. Short, bittersweet and beautifully written, it had to make the top ten.
Alan Hollinghurst's spectacular novel, The Line of Beauty, won the Booker prize in 2004, and rightfully so. It's politically charged, well formatted, and a unique and interesting take on upper class society and homosexuality.
Shortlisted for this year's prize and the favourite to win, Daisy Johnson is the youngest nominee the prize has had so far, at age 27. Her first novel, Everything Under, is a feminist retelling of the Oedipus myth.
It's hard to try to summarise this novel, but the reputation it has built and the recognition it has gained should be enough to tempt you, and Roy's work as a political activist and advocate for change in India should encourage you further.
Zadie Smith is spectacular in so many ways, and her writing is just one of those. On Beauty is a homage to Howard's End by E M Forster, with a few notable parallels. A must read!
Karen Joy Fowler first brought us the wonderful Jane Austen Book Club, and much of the heart that was in that novel can be found in this too. The story of family, of loss, of guilt, of friendships and relationships. It is entirely unique, heartwarming whilst also being heartbreaking.
Julian Barnes is a prolific and talented writer, and The Sense of an Ending is his 11th novel. It's a very simple plot, but is one of those existential novels that make you question your choices and your future.
Margaret Atwood is one of the Greats, a talent unlike most. Her commentary on real-life events and the feminist undertones to all of her novels are what make her work so brilliant. Alias Grace is a story that has grown from a real-life murder case in the 1800s.
The success of dystopian fiction over the last few years has been paramount, and it's no coincidence that our top two both fall into that category. Perhaps it's because we feel closer everyday to the universes created in these novels. Perhaps it's just because they're really incredible to read. Never Let Me Go is moving, emotive, and impossible to put down.
And our number one is the brilliant and mind-blowing Cloud Atlas. The same story across centuries, and there's all these brilliant links that carry you through the years. Each story is written in a different style, with different characters, yet you feel the strength of the connection between them. Admittedly, I watched the movie before reading the book (I didn't know! I'm sorry!), but both are equally great.
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