A list of recommended fictions and nonfictions of the year
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
In this brilliant sequel to The Handmaid's Tale, acclaimed author Margaret Atwood answers the questions that have tantalized readers for decades. More than fifteen years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale, the theocratic regime of the Republic of Gilead maintains its grip on power, but there are signs it is beginning to rot from within.
The Anarchy by William Dalrymple
The Anarchy tells one of history's most remarkable stories: how the Mughal Empire-which dominated world trade and manufacturing and possessed almost unlimited resources-fell apart and was replaced by a multinational corporation based thousands of miles overseas, and answerable to shareholders, most of whom had never even seen India and no idea about the country whose wealth was providing their dividends.
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman
With a torrent of consciousness and an intoxicating coziness, Ducks, Newburyport lays out a whole world for you to tramp around in, by turns frightening and funny. A heart-rending indictment of America's barbarity, and a lament for the way we are blundering into environmental disaster, this book is both heresy―and a revolution in the novel.
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World by Elif Shafak
It is said that the brain can continue to work for 10 minutes and 38 seconds after the death of a body. This Booker shortlisted novel tells the tragic story of Leila; as her consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore, we are taken from her birth, childhood, and the tragic circumstances of her life that led to her eventual murder.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi
In the village of al-Awafi in Oman, we encounter three sisters: Mayya, who marries after a heartbreak; Asma, who marries from a sense of duty; and Khawla, who chooses to refuse all offers and await a reunion with the man she loves, who has emigrated to Canada. Celestial Bodies, is the first novel originally written in Arabic to ever win the Man Booker International Prize.
The Source of Self-regard by Toni Morrison
The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison's inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin.
Red Birds by Mohammed Hanif
An American pilot crash lands in the desert and takes refuge in the very camp he was supposed to bomb. Hallucinating palm trees and worrying about dehydrating to death isn't what Major Ellie expected from this mission. Still, it's an improvement on the constant squabbles with his wife back home. A powerful novel about war, family and love a bestselling author.
The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
Winner of the JCB Prize for Literature 2019, shortlisted for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2019, and shortlisted for the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award (Fiction) 2019, in The Far Field Madhuri Vijay masterfully examines Indian politics, class prejudice, and sexuality through the lens of an outsider, offering a profound meditation on grief, guilt, and the limits of compassion.
There’s Gunpowder in the Air by Manoranjan Byapari (Translated by Arunava Sinha)
It’s the early seventies. The Naxalbari Movement is gathering strength in Bengal. Young men and women have left their homes, picked up arms to free land from the clutches of feudal landlords and the state, and return them to oppressed landless farmers. They are being arrested en masse and thrown into high-security jails.
Absurd Night by Syed Manzoorul Islam
The discovery of a dismembered hand floating on the river incites uproar in a small coastal town, where a motley crew of outsiders, stranded at the local police station by an impending cyclone, becomes entangled in the mystery. Cut off from the rest of the world, each of these interlopers is uniquely affected by the enigmatic object.
The Gurkha and the Lord of Tuesday by Saad Z Hossain
When the djinn king Melek Ahmar wakes up after millennia of imprisoned slumber, he finds a world vastly different from what he remembers. Arrogant and bombastic, he comes down the mountain expecting an easy conquest: the wealthy, spectacular city state of Kathmandu, ruled by the all-knowing, all-seeing tyrant AI Karma.
Babu Bangladesh by Numair Atif Choudhury
Shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize 2019. Bangladesh, 2028. A biographer begins to document the life of an enigmatic and controversial political luminary - Babu, also known as 'Babu Bangladesh'. In unearthing the story of a man whom many thought was the leader of his generation, he begins to uncover the story of a nation itself.
Many Rivers, One Sea by Joseph Allchin
A perennial frontier for Islamic orthodoxy, Bangladesh is witnessing an alarming rise in Islamist-inspired assassinations and terrorist attacks. This unerring investigation examines the relationship between radical Islam and the Bangladeshi political class, laying bare the extremist forces that bedevil the country’s present and future.
Gun Island: A Novel by Amitav Ghosh
A dealer of rare books, Deen is used to a quiet life spent indoors, but as his once-solid beliefs begin to shift, he is forced to set out on an extraordinary journey; one that takes him from India to Los Angeles and Venice via a tangled route through the memories and experiences of those he meets along the way. Bundook. Gun. A common word, but one that turns Deen Datta’s world upside down.
99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai
A dog on the loose. A boy yearning to connect to his family's roots. A country in the midst of great change. And a vibrant exploration of the power of stories--the ones we tell each other and the ones we find ourselves in. “More than well crafted; it’s phenomenal. . . . Kochai’s book has a big heart.” —The Guardian
The Runaways by Fatima Bhutto
How far would you run to escape your life? Anita lives in Karachi's biggest slum. Her mother is a maalish wali, paid to massage the tired bones of rich women. But Anita's life will change forever when she meets her elderly neighbor, a man whose shelves of books promise an escape to a different world.
Quichotte by Salman Rushdie
Inspired by the Cervantes classic, Sam DuChamp, mediocre writer of spy thrillers, creates Quichotte, a courtly, addled salesman obsessed with television who falls in impossible love with a TV star. Together with his (imaginary) son Sancho, Quichotte sets off on a picaresque quest across America to prove worthy of her hand, gallantly braving the tragicomic perils of an age where “Anything-Can-Happen.”