Books of the Year

The Guardian has posted the books that have most excited writers this year. Here’s a couple of extracts:

Purple Hibiscus writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie –

In Red Dust Road (Picador) Jackie Kay writes lucidly and honestly about being the adopted black daughter of white parents, about searching for her white birth mother and Nigerian birth father, and about the many layers of identity. She has a rare ability to portray sentiment with absolutely no sentimentality. Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns (Random House) is a fresh and wonderful history of African-American migration. Chang-rae Lee’s The Surrendered (Little, Brown) is a grave, beautiful novel about people who experienced the Korean war and the war’s legacy. And David Remnick’s The Bridge (Picador) is a thorough and well-written biography of Barack Obama. The many Americans who believe invented biographical details about Obama would do well to read it.

Jackie Kay


Kazuo Ishiguro writes brilliantly about nostalgia. In Nocturnes (Faber), his rich and satisfying quintet of stories – each playing a different piece of music – the characters’ voices are as rich as the music itself, striking true notes about the nature of love, regret, choices and roads not taken.


Another wonderful collection of stories to emerge was Petina Gappah’s An Elegy for Easterly (Faber): an impressive cast of characters and stories emerge in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, with fighting spirit, making you think about survival, love and grief.


Rupert Thomson’s moving memoir This Party’s Got to Stop (Granta) is a surprisingly funny study of grief. Three brothers move back into their father’s house. It’s a riot and tear-jerkingly sad.



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