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Top 10 Books 2023

18/12/2023

Links to full reviews in the cover image.

Cuddy by Benjamin Myers

Benjamin Myers takes readers on a dizzying journey through history with a tale centred around Saint Cuthbert and the Durham Cathedral. The story finds coherence as it resonates through separate sections told in wildly differing styles.

I Have Some Questions for You by Rebecca Makkai

Rebecca Makkai’s I Have Some Questions For You uses the creation of a true crime podcast to explore their popularity and their impact but also a range of other issues. Makkai makes readers think deeply about the issues that she is raising in an engaging, often quietly devastating way

Yellowface by Rebecca F Kuang

Rebecca F Kuang moves away from fantasy to deliver a takedown of the modern publishing industry and issues of representation and voice. Much like her previous book, Babel, Kuang asks readers to think about the impact of language and culture and the persistent effects of colonialism and imperialism on how we think and act.

Orbital by Samantha Harvey

Samantha Harvey’s Orbital is a prose poem, that charts a day in the life of six astronauts on the international space station as they compete 16 orbits of the Earth. But it is much more than this – a meditation and a love letter to the Earth and to humanity.

Birnam Wood by Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton’s first novel in ten years is insightful, witty and compelling. Birnam Wood is a character-rich exploration of the modern world, conservationists and performative environmentalism.

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns

Jessica Johns’ debut is an indigenous horror story that explores the enduring consequences of colonisation in Canada while highlighting and celebrating the resilience of the indigenous community.

Small Mercies by Dennis Lehane

Small Mercies finds Dennis Lehane back in the familiar territory of South Boston in the 1970s. Lehane uses familier elements to make some larger points – about the poisonous nature of racism, about the way communities can be used by the unscrupulous, about redemption and second chances. Small Mercies is one of his excoriating best.

Return to Valetto by Dominic Smith

Dominic Smith takes readers to one of the dying villages of Italy. It is a compassionate and affecting tale full of memorable characters set within a stunning yet melancholy landscape.

Mater 2-10 by Hwang Sok-Yong

Award winning Korean author Hwang Sok-yong delivers his magnum opus in Mater 2-10, an epic history of 20th Century Korea told through the eyes of one working class family.

Titanium Noir by Nick Harkaway

Nick Harkaway delivers pitch perfect noir through the voice of a world weary detective in a dangerous world. This genre mashup of noir crime and science fiction tropes is cynical and sharp with not a word wasted.

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