Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell. One of the most exciting novels you’ll ever read: a dazzling, ingenious, visionary exploration of the theme of eternal recurrence. It’s much better than the movie.
The Tragedy of Arthur, by Arthur Phillips. Witty, self-reflexive novel about a forged—or is it rediscovered?—Shakespeare play called The Tragedy of Arthur. Fans of Nabokov and Auster will enjoy this tale, which is post-modern in the best sense.
The Boy in the Moon, by Ian Brown. Poignant, provocative memoir by the father of a son with a rare, severely disabling medical condition; a profound meditation on the nature and limits of the human.
A Visit from the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan. This novel in stories employs a dazzling array of voices and styles to track a set of loosely-linked people associated with punk rock music, and to trace the depredations visited upon them by the “goon squad” of time. Egan’s light touch allows her deeper themes to emerge almost effortlessly.
Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel. A brilliant blend of literary analysis, graphic narrative and coming-of-age tale, this autobiographical story delves thoughtfully and humorously into the author’s relationship with her complicated, unhappy father.
The Angel Esmeralda, by Don DeLillo. Nine marvelous, mysterious stories from the past thirty years of this distinguished novelist’s career.
The Death of Sweet Mister, by Daniel Woodrell. At once touching and shocking, this Arkansas noir by the author of Winter’s Bone, features the compelling voice of thirteen-year-old Shuggie. You’ll read it in one sitting!
Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro. This collection by a contemporary short story master shows why she won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I guarantee you that “Wenlock Edge” and “Child’s Play” will linger in your mind for weeks.
The Maddaddam Trilogy, by Margaret Atwood. Three visionary novels that extrapolate from present-day perils—climate change, genetic engineering, the commodification of everything—to produce a chilling but ultimately hopeful picture of a post-apocalyptic future.