I never feel I can write a “best of” post until the very end of the year. What if my current book is the best I’ve read all year? I just finished “Life After Life” and I’m still not sure if it’s one of my best books of 2013. Ask me in a few weeks/months.
Here they are, in the order that I read them… the best fiction books I read in 2013.
Set in the early part of the 20th Century during the building book in Toronto, Ondaatje spins the tale that acts as a prequel to The English Patient. In the end, I think I liked this book better. When I visited Toronto later in the year I drove my cousin crazy with my “that has to be the bridge”, “that has to be the water plant”. It was interesting to think of the stories of all of people who were part of building the city. Ondaatje is an amazing author and this book is well worth the read.
Set in Alaska, this is a really unusual tale. Half ‘fair tale’, half family drama, you’re never quite sure how much is real and how much is imagined. An older couple homesteading in Alaska discover a child in their yard in a snow storm. The girl seems to have magical powers and they are unsure whether she is real or a figment of their desperate imaginations. This book had an element of whimsy that I really enjoyed. It was original and very enjoyable to read. I’m glad my friend recommended it.
I know, I know. Young adult fiction. This book surprised me. I started it at the beginning of a weekend and ended up emptying my schedule so I could sit in my sunroom reading this book. I was totally drawn into the story and the characters. It transported me.
I’ve read several of Eugenides’ books before and was challenged by them. I think The Virgin Suicides is the best of his books. He does a masterful job of paining a picture of a moment in time. The plot only seems far fetched until you start to read. Though the ending is fairly evident from the title (and the opening), you still hope that things will happen to intervene and stop the inevitable.
I would never have picked this book up except for my work book club. At the beginning I didn’t like it. The use of emails made the writing seem clunky and the plot seemed a little boring. Then the book got going and you started to see that Bernadette was not who seemed. As her backstory begins to be told you understand how complex the story has actually been. Very few books catch me by surprise, but this book did.
The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood
Catching Fire – Suzanne Collins
Her Fearful Symmetry – Audrey Niffenegger
When the Emperor was Divine – Julie Otsuka