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15 Books for the Literary Fiction Lover

15 Books for the Literary Fiction Lover


Discover the timeless allure of literary fiction through 15 exceptional novels that go beyond  storytelling to offer profound insights into the human experience. From evocative prose that stirs the soul to complex characters whose journeys resonate with our own, these books exemplify the power of literature to transport us to different worlds, challenge our perspectives, and leave an indelible mark on our hearts and minds.

 Covenant of Water 

"The Covenant of Water" by Abraham Verghese spans generations in Kerala, South India, where an unusual family affliction ties them to water. From a poignant wedding journey in 1900, the narrative unfolds through joy, loss, faith, and love, led by Big Ammachi. This epic novel, praised by Oprah Winfrey, magnificently captures a changing India, celebrating progress in medicine and human understanding. Verghese crafts a mesmerizing testament to ancestral sacrifices for the present. A literary masterpiece, this saga showcases Verghese's storytelling prowess and secures its place among recent literary triumphs.

A Little Life

Hanya Yanagihara's "A Little Life" paints a profound portrait of enduring friendship and unconventional families. Four college friends, driven by ambition, navigate the complexities of addiction, success, and pride in pursuit of fame and fortune in New York. Their unbreakable bond centers around Jude, scarred by a harrowing childhood. This National Book Award finalist and Kirkus Prize winner beautifully explores love in the modern era, celebrating both the families we are born into and the ones we create along the way. Yanagihara's novel stands as a powerful testament to the strength of human connections in the 21st century.

A Man Called Ove

Backman's heartwarming and humorous novel follows the life of Ove, a grumpy and seemingly irritable old man. Set in a small Swedish neighbourhood, the story unfolds as Ove navigates his daily routine with a strict adherence to rules and routines. Despite his gruff exterior, Ove's life takes an unexpected turn when new neighbour's disrupt his solitude. Readers discover the layers of Ove's past and the reasons behind his curmudgeonly demeanour. Through a series of comical and poignant events, the novel explores themes of friendship, community, and the transformative power of human connection.

The Librarianist

Bob Comet, a retired librarian in Portland, Oregon, spends his days in a min coloured house surrounded by books. One morning, his routine takes an unexpected turn when he assists a confused elderly woman lost in a market, leading him to volunteer at the senior centre where she resides. As he forms connections with a peculiar community, Bob's seemingly straightforward demeanour unravels to reveal a complex past—a runaway adventure during the last days of World War II, a tale of love gained and lost, and the fulfillment found in his role as a librarian. Full of comedy and melancholy, Bob's life unfolds as a unique narrative, punctuated by encounters and a chance confrontation.

North Woods

North Woods" is a captivating novel that spans centuries, centred around a single house nestled in the woods of New England. The narrative weaves through time, revealing the lives of various inhabitants who have called the house home. Beginning with two young lovers who escape a Puritan colony, the story unfolds to encompass an English soldier turned apple farmer, spinster twins facing the challenges of war and famine, a crime reporter uncovering ancient mysteries, and a diverse array of characters including a lovelorn painter and a stalking panther. The novel  explores the wonders and mysteries of its setting while vividly portraying the rich tapestry of the past that continues to resonate in the present.

The Marriage Portrait

Set in Florence during the 1550s, this  novel follows Lucrezia, the third daughter of the grand duke, as she navigates an unexpected turn of events. After her older sister's sudden death, Lucrezia finds herself thrust into the spotlight when the ruler of Ferrara, Modena, and Reggio requests her hand in marriage. Unaccustomed to the intricacies of court life and still in the early stages of womanhood, Lucrezia faces the challenge of adapting to an unfamiliar environment and an enigmatic husband, Alfonso. Against the backdrop of Renaissance Italy, the novel explores themes of identity, duty, and the precarious balance between personal desires and societal expectations.

The Fraud 

The Fraud revolves around the Tichborne Trial—a legal case that divided the nation. Mrs. Touchet, the housekeeper and cousin to William Ainsworth, serves as the lens through which the narrative unfolds. A woman of diverse interests and skepticism, Mrs. Touchet questions her cousin's talent, Charles Dickens' character, and the authenticity of English society. The trial, centered on the claim of a lower-class butcher from Australia to be the rightful heir of a substantial estate and title, captivates both Mrs. Touchet and the entire nation. Amidst themes of justice, class, and deception, the characters grapple with the complexities of discerning truth in a world filled with hypocrisy and self-deception. 

Study For Obedience

Bernstein crafts a haunting narrative that follows a young woman relocating from her birthplace to the isolated northern region of her family's origins. Taking on the role of housekeeper for her brother,  she finds herself at the center of a series of mysterious and unsettling events in the remote countryside. From collective bovine hysteria to inexplicable occurrences like a ewe's demise and a local dog's phantom pregnancy, the community's suspicion toward newcomers intensifies, particularly directed at her. Through a sharp and lyrical voice, Bernstein delves into themes of complicity, power dynamics, displacement, and inheritance.

Snow Road Station

In the winter of 2008, against the backdrop of relentless snowfall, an actress in a Beckett play experiences a memory lapse, prompting her to escape the theater and retreat into her past. This leads her to Snow Road Station, a nearly invisible spot on the Ontario map. The protagonist, Lulu Blake, in her sixties and well-versed in taking risks, finds herself out of work and humiliated, entering the final act of her life. In Snow Road Station, she initially decides to eschew drama but soon discovers that it continues to entwine with her existence. While the global financial meltdown of that autumn looms in the background, the foreground is painted with family gatherings, weddings, sap harvests, love affairs, and personal turmoil. 

This Other Eden

In 1792, the formerly enslaved Benjamin Honey and his Irish wife, Patience, discover an island where they can build a life together. Over a century later, the Honeys' descendants, along with a diverse community, face desperate poverty and isolation on the island, yet find a sanctuary from mainland hostility. In the tumultuous summer of 1912, Matthew Diamond, a retired and idealistic schoolteacher turned missionary, disrupts the delicate balance by attempting to educate the community's children. This draws the attention of mainland authorities influenced by eugenics thinking, leading to a forced evacuation, institutionalization, and plans to develop the island as a vacation destination. 

The Bee Sting

The Barnes family is grappling with a series of troubles. Dickie's once-thriving car business is collapsing, yet he's consumed with building an apocalypse-proof bunker in the woods with a rebellious handyman. Imelda, his wife, is selling her jewelry online while fending off advances from a charismatic cattle farmer named Big Mike. Their teenage daughter, Cass, once a top student, is now on a path of self-destruction through binge drinking during her final exams. Meanwhile, twelve-year-old PJ is on the verge of running away. The novel delves into the family's complex history, exploring pivotal moments in their lives in a tragicomic family saga set in postcrash Ireland.

Western Lane

In "Western Lane," eleven-year-old Gopi has been immersed in the world of squash since she could first hold a racket. When her mother passes away, her father channels his grief into a rigorous training regimen for Gopi, and the game becomes her sole focus. This intense dedication leads to a growing distance between Gopi and her sisters. Her life becomes a rhythmic sequence of serves, volleys, drives, shots, and their echoes on the court. Despite the solitary nature of her pursuit, Gopi is not truly alone; she shares the court with her father, her peer Ged, a talented thirteen-year-old, and the echoes of players who came before her.  

The Witching Tide 

Set in East Anglia in 1645, Martha Hallybread, a midwife and healer, has lived quietly in the seaside village of Cleftwater for over four decades. Having lost her voice as a child, Martha hasn't spoken in years. The peaceful village is disrupted when Silas Makepeace, a menacing witchfinder, arrives, terrorizing the coastal community. Women are swiftly captured, and Martha, unable to speak out, is coerced into assisting with the hunt by searching the accused for "devil's marks." Caught between fear, suspicion, and betrayal, Martha faces a moral dilemma—whether to shield herself or condemn the women of the village. Desperate, she turns to a wax witching doll that once belonged to her mother for protection, but as secrets unravel, the gallows loom.

The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store 

In 1972, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, a construction project unexpectedly uncovers a skeleton at the bottom of a well, unveiling a long-held secret within the community of Chicken Hill. This dilapidated neighbourhood is home to both immigrant Jews and African Americans who coexist, sharing dreams and hardships. The story revolves around Moshe and Chona Ludlow, their involvement in integrating a theatre, and Chona's operation of the Heaven & Earth Grocery Store. When the state seeks to institutionalize a deaf boy, Chona and Nate Timblin, a Black janitor and community leader, unite to protect him.

Crook Manifesto

The story unfolds across three tumultuous years in New York City. In 1971, amidst rising crime, economic crisis, and a war between the NYPD and the Black Liberation Army, Ray Carney, a furniture store owner with a criminal past, tries to maintain a legitimate life. Fast forward to 1973, the counter-culture is reshaping society, but Carney's partner in crime, Pepper, remains a constant. They struggle to assemble a crew for illegal activities and Pepper takes on a security job in the world of Blaxploitation filmmaking in Harlem. In 1976, Harlem is in turmoil, and the country prepares for Bicentennial celebrations. When a fire injures one of Carney's tenants, he enlists Pepper to investigate. Together, they navigate a crumbling city ruled by corruption and violence, as they unravel the mystery behind the fire.

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