I love a good literary novel, especially if there's a bit of a mystery in it. Sometimes a bit of romance, travel, or intrigue. Always, compelling characters and a delectable plot. Here are some of my absolute favorites to recommend from the past several years and even in some cases, past decades. By the way, I also read a lot of detective novels, crime suspense, and mystery series, and there is a separate browsing page for those.
"Sublime and immersive . . .
Best Book of 2020
New York Times |NPR | New York Post
"This hushed suspense tale about thwarted dreams of escape may be her best one yet . . . Its own kind of masterpiece." --Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
A dramatic story of WWII espionage, betrayal, and loyalty, by the #1 bestselling author of Life After Life
A New York Times bestseller
From Graham Norton—the BAFTA Award–winning and hugely popular BBC America television host—comes a charming debut novel set in an idyllic Irish village where a bumbling investigator has to sort through decades of gossip and secrets to solve a mysterious crime.
Esquire Best Books of 2017
Minnesota Public Radio Best of 2017
The Morning News 2018 Tournament of Books Pick
New York Times bestselling author of The Dog Stars
“[A] gorgeously wrought story.” —Entertainment Weekly
“Love, war, desire, and art—it’s all here.” —Elle
A picture hides a thousand words . . .
“A remarkable novel. . . . A Prayer for Owen Meany is a rare creation in the somehow exhausted world of late twentieth-century fiction—it is an amazingly brave piece of work . . . so extraordinary, so original, and so enriching. . . .
The #1 New York Times bestseller—Jess Walter’s “absolute masterpiece” (Richard Russo, Pulitzer Prize-winning author): the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962 and resurfaces fifty years later in contemporary Hollywood.
"Delicious . . . richly riveting . . . The Vacationers offers all the delights of a fluffy, read-it-with-sunglasses-on-the-beach read, made substantial by the exceptional wit, insight, intelligence and talents of its author.”—People (four stars)
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • NOW A NETFLIX FILM • A remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German Occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.
“Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love
One of the 20th Century's most beloved novels is still winning hearts!
SOON TO BE A TELEVISION ADAPTATION STARRING CLAIRE DANES
A Kirkus Review Best Book of 2017 * A Washington Post Notable Work of Fiction * Winner of the British Book Awards Fiction Book of the Year and overall Book of the Year * Waterstones Book of the Year * Costa Book Award Finalist
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK
Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.
An atmospheric, transporting tale of adventure, love, and survival from the bestselling author of The Snow Child, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.
A New York Times Notable Book
One of the Best Books of the Year: San Francisco Chronicle, Seattle Times
National Book Award finalist Howard Norman delivers another “provocative . . . haunting”* novel, this time set in a Vermont village and featuring a missing child, a newly married private detective, and a highly relatable ghost.
*Janet Maslin, New York Times
Simon Inescort is no longer bodily present in his marriage.
A New York Times Book Review Notable Book, a Seattle Times Best Title, a Christian Science Monitor Best Fiction Book, a Miami Herald Favorite Book, and a Kirkus Best Book of the Year
Now an HBO series: the first volume in the New York Times-bestselling "enduring masterpiece" about a lifelong friendship between two women from Naples (The Atlantic).
The engrossing epic novel—a #1 bestseller in Norway—of a young woman whose fate plays out against her village’s mystical church bells
As long as people could remember, the stave church’s bells had rung over the isolated village of Butangen, Norway. Cast in memory of conjoined twins, the bells are said to ring on their own in times of danger.
The #1 New York Times bestseller!
Now a Hulu original series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.
“I read Little Fires Everywhere in a single, breathless sitting.” —Jodi Picoult