Each year, when best-of lists start popping up all over promptly on Dec. 1, it feels too soon. Really? We’re saying goodbye to the year already? It’s barely 11/12ths over!
For 2016, many have been wishing it gone for some time already. It will have taken with it Prince, David Bowie, Gene Wilder, Alan Rickman, and the dream of a first female president of the United States (for the foreseeable future).
But let’s look back on the good ― nay, the transcendent. This year may not have been the all-time greatest, but there was some all-time great literature published since we wrapped up 2015. Subtle, shimmering short fiction; sprawling family sagas; searing portraits of social trauma: 2016 had it all.
Though we read many wonderful works of fiction this year, these 18 novels and collections were particularly outstanding:
- "The Vegetarian" by Han KangHogarth
- "Another Brooklyn" by Jacqueline WoodsonAmistad
- "The Seed Collectors" by Scarlett ThomasSoft Skull Press
- "Ninety-Nine Stories of God" by Joy WilliamsTin House Books
- "Zero K" by Don DeLilloScribner
- "The Association of Small Bombs" by Karan MahajanViking
- "Goodnight, Beautiful Women" by Anna NoyesGrove Atlantic
- "The Underground Railroad" by Colson WhiteheadDoubleday
- "Private Citizens" by Tony TulathimutteWilliam Morrow
- "The Past" by Tessa HadleyHarper
- "The Red Car" by Marcy DermanskyLiveright
- "Problems" by Jade SharmaCoffee House Press
- "Imagine Me Gone" by Adam HaslettLittle Brown and Company
- "Pond" by Claire-Louise BennettRiverhead
- "The Bed Moved" by Rebecca SchiffKnopf
- "The Nix" by Nathan HillKnopf
- "The Girls" by Emma ClineRandom House
- "Swing Time" by Zadie SmithPenguin Press