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Top 5 Books 2020

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam
Two families across three generations have to come together as an unknowable disaster looms on the horizon. In Leave the World Behind Rumaan Alam delivered a pre-apocalptic novel that seemed to perfectly capture the mood of 2020 while also being a powerful analogy of the issue of climate change.
Piranesi by Susanna Clarke
After a fifteen year break Susanna Clarke returned with Piranesi, an achingly beautiful, poignant and thrilling fantasy novel set in an eternal labyrinth of mysterious statues. Through the eyes of her protagonist Clarke explores concepts of madness and reason, the manipulation of the powerless by the powerful and the loss of magic in the world.
Small Mercies by Richard Anderson
Richard Anderson’s third novel is clearly the one he has been waiting to write. Small Mercies is a sympathetic and nuanced exploration of people who are tied to their land. Timely and essential reading.
How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
C Pam Zhang’s scorching debut How Much of These Hills is Gold explores the US gold rush from the point of view of two teenage Chinese girls. Through their experiences Zhang challenges deeply rooted views of American history and deals with issues of race, gender and class.
Greenwood by Michael Christie
Michael Christie’s Greenwood starts in a blighted future but soon drops back in time, spiralling inward and then out again in a structure that mimics the rings of a tree. Greenwood is a deeply felt and thematically rich tale that roves across Canadian history and landscape; full of mystery, satisfying revelations and character moments.

Honourable Mentions

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha
Frances Cha looks at the influence of the beauty industry on a group of young women in Seoul in If I had Your Face.
Song of the Crocodile by Nardi Simpson
Nardi Simpson’s debut Song of the Crocodile starts in the 1950s and traces the story of four generations of an Aboriginal family living on the outskirts of a small town in North West NSW.
The Slaughterman's Daughter by Yaniv Iczkovits
Yaniv Isckovitz pays homage to the great Yiddish writers filtered through Tarantino in The Slaughterman’s Daughter a blackly comic tour of Russian occupied Poland in the late nineteenth century.

Amnesty by Aravind Adiga
Aravind Adiga has spent plenty of time in Sydney and it shows in Amnesty, a morality play that explores Australia’s attitude to immigrants and refugees.
Summerwater by Sarah Moss
In Summerwater Sarah Moss’s authorial eye roves over a group of holiday makers in a Scottish holiday camp over one rainy day to expose views and attitudes of modern Britain.
Why Visit America by Matthew Baker
Matthew Baker’s Why Visit America is a Black Mirror– style collection of short stories that considers a series of alternate, speculative Americas and in doing so exposes fault lines in our own reality.

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