Here are my top ten books of 2018. Needless to say, it was impossible to narrow it down! In alphabetical order by author.
Milkman by Anna Burns
A little wordy but I loved the lyrical sentences and Irish humour. A book I kept thinking about long after I’d read it. Thrilled to see it win the Man Booker Prize.
Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Edo-Lodge
A must-read. Edo-Lodge is a superb writer, and sets out the race issues that concern her (and must concern all of us) in an ordered way. Invigorating and essential.
The Odyssey by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
Wonderful! My first time reading the story of Odysseus on his quest to return home to Ithaca and his wife Penelope. An excellent translation, lively and direct. I loved the themes of fate, revenge and hospitality – a feature of (ancient) Greek culture – and the human capacity for friendship and war. My full review is here.
Crudo by Olivia Laing
A tour-de-force. Kathy is fiercely independent but getting married; Laing juxtaposes this with the events of 2017 and transports Kathy Acker to current (apolcalyptic) times. A short, poetic, bracing read.
Normal People by Sally Rooney
A compulsively readable story of Connell and Marianne set in Ireland in 2011 – 2015. Acutely observed, clean writing; their conversations, mistakes and joys ring true. Deserving winner of the Costa Novel of the Year Award.
The Museum of Modern Love by Heather Rose
Inspired by Marina Abramovic and honours her work in a beautiful novel. Deserving winner of the Stella Prize (and other awards) – I loved it!
Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag, translated by Srinath Perur
An elegantly, written spare novel about a family and the nuanced dynamics when one brother’s business becomes successful. Much happening between the lines – deft and thought -provoking. See also our podcast Top 5 Books from July.
Winter by Ali Smith
Taking A Christmas Story as a jumping-off point in the second of her seasonal ‘Brexit quartet’ novels, I loved the witty, contemporary story and Shakespearian wordplay. A joy to read. This (and The Shepherd’s Hut, below), were also in our Top 5 Books in July.
Trick by Domenico Starnone, translated by Jhumpa Lahiri
A terrific, bracing read. Daniele is minding his grandson Mario in a Naples apartment. He’s illustrating the work of Henry James’ ‘The Jolly Corner’ and James’ work infuses the story. A strong, intense short novel with many layers.
The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton
Tim Winton has surpassed himself with this novel about Jaxie, a tough but vulnerable teen boy. Told with compassion and humour, I loved the odd couple relationship with a priest, and Winton’s peerless descriptions of the Australian landscape. A future classic.
What were your favourite books of 2018?