Christmas 2019: Our Fiction Picks

The novel has been defying ominous predictions of its impending death for almost as long as it has existed. And it still seems as vigorous as ever, encompassing a near infinite number of genres and styles, and tackling everything that life or death has to throw at it. Here are some recent highlights from our shelves and tables.

Girl, Woman, Other

Bernardine Evaristo

Clare Bucknell writes:

It’s opening night at the National Theatre. The radical writer and director Amma Bonsu, snubbed for decades by the cultural establishment for her uncompromising work ...

Agent Running in the Field

John le Carré

From the publisher:

THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER ‘Le Carre delivers a tale for our times . . . a demonstration of the British spy thriller at its unputdownable best’ Robert McCrum, Observer ...

The Topeka School

Ben Lerner

From the publisher:

Adam Gordon is a senior at Topeka High School, class of ’97. His parents are psychologists, his mom a famous author in the field. A renowned debater and orator, an aspiring ...

The Man Who Saw Everything

Deborah Levy

Lidija Haas writes:

The world according to Deborah Levy is like an emotionally charged dream or joke. A man accepts soup from an elderly neighbour and retches, catlike, on a mouthful of grey ...


Caleb Klaces

From the publisher:

Fatherhood is the debut novel from award-winning poet Caleb Klaces, combining prose and poetry in a work of verse fiction.

Olive, Again

Elizabeth Strout

Tessa Hadley writes:

In Olive, Again, her seventh book, Elizabeth Strout returns to her character Olive Kitteridge, a maths teacher in small-town Maine. A number of the chapters in Strout’s ...

Grand Union

Zadie Smith

From the publisher:

‘Zadie Smith is the best writer of our generation’ Gary Shteyngart ‘Her dialogue is pitch-perfect, her comic timing masterful... [And] she also delivers a ...

Rabbits for Food

Binnie Kirshenbaum

From the publisher:

‘A bitingly funny, and occasionally heartbreaking, look at mental illness, love and relationships’ The New York Times ‘Razor-sharp, astutely observed and acerbically ...


Nell Zink

From the publisher:

Two generations of an American family come of age – one before 9/11, one after – in this moving and original novel from the “intellectually restless, uniquely funny” ...