The New York Times' 5 Best Books of 2008 (Fiction)

shelved under Best of... and Fiction

It's that time of year again... the time of year when the Gray Lady — that is, the New York Times — comes out with what they think are the best novels of 2008. Here they are; what do you think?


A Mercy

by Toni Morrison

Kim Thornton says:

I just recently read this. While it can be difficult to get into, it's well worth it. The story is tragic, the writing beautiful, and the characters heart-wrenching. Finally, it's very different, and the colonial backdrop is unusual — not the typical picture one has of the colonial lifestyle.

This book also appears on A Collection of Books on Sorrow and Loss



by Joseph O'Neill

Seachanges says:

This book — so well written and full of unease and questioning about where one lives or belongs — made it to the long list of the Booker Prize. Despite the title, the story is mainly set in New York and England, although there is a wonderful evocation of the main character skating along the empty canals, as I have done, away from school. There's a question throughout about what and who we are, when we so dislocate ourselves. The title is a clever play on The Netherlands and at the same time evokes the underworld, unknown existences that people lead when dislocated. The setting is New York, cricket, immigrant communities, and a failing marriage. It’s a great book.



by Natasha Wimmer, Roberto Bolano

Jon Jeffryes says:

This book is one of the most ambitious novels I've ever read... it's not perfect, but it's daring and exciting and alive. Bolano tells five different stories, using of all sorts of recognizable storytelling styles (noir, academic comedies, mystery, etc.) that fit seamlessly together. It's not an easy book summarize what it's "about", but the experience of reading it will stay with you for a while.


Unaccustomed Earth

by Jhumpa Lahiri

Monera from Menlo Park, CA says:

These eight stories are like art photographs; snapshots with a back story but still leaving you wanting more. She writes well and it is a peek into a world that seems sometimes closed off to outsiders. Reminds me of an Indian Amy Tan.

This book also appears on Every Book by Jhumpa Lahiri