Best Fiction ’16

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booktree1-550x550It makes me sad that most of the “best of” lists are so awful, because I imagine a potential fiction lover taking the NYT 10 best list, for example, and reading all five novels only to ask is that all there is? The answer is no. Some amazing and wonderful novels were published this year, but unfortunately none of them made it onto the list. It’s not that I’m a better critic, it’s just that I devote way more time than other people to reading and thus feel like can better compare the results and come up with a list with more integrity. I suspect many of these lists are made up by a group of people. Because of this and perhaps because each person picks a favorite from a relatively small pool, it’s only logical that their choices feel random and inconsistent. Although the year is not over and I still have many more books to get through, here is my best fiction list for ’16 so far (including the entire pool — which I wish other critics would divulge as it would provide a better context for their selections).

Great Novels of ’16:
1. “Hystopia” by David Means – Review posted earlier
2.”Hot Milk” by Deborah Levy – Review posted earlier
3. “Here I Am” by Jonathan Safran Foer – Review posted earlier
4.”Nicotine” by Nell Zink – Review posted earlier
5.”Another Brooklyn” by Jacqueline Woodson – Review posted earlier
6.”Innocents and Others” by Dana Spiotta – Review posted earlier
7. “Commonwealth” by Ann Patchett
8. “Heroes of the Frontier” by Dave Eggers – Review posted earlier
9. “Moonglow” by Michael Chabon
10.”Swing Time” by Zadie Smith – Review posted earlier
11. “The Nix” by Nathan Hill
12. “All That Man Is” by David Szalay
13. “Zero K” by Don DeLillo – Review posted earlier
14. “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles – Review posted earlier
15. “The Lesser Bohemians” by Elmer McBride

Good Novels of ’16:
“The Gambler’s Anatomy” by Jonathan Lethe
“The Girls” by Emma Cline
“The Sport of Kings” by C. E. Morgan – Review posted earlier
“Throwback Special” by Chris Bachelor
“Sweetbitter” by Stephanie Danler
“Why We Came to the City” by Christopher Jarsma
“Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead
“A Gentleman in Moscow” by Amor Towles
“The Vegetarian” by Han Kang
“War and Turpentine” by Stefan Hermans
“The Association of Small Bombs” by Karan Mahajan – Review posted earlier
“The Past” by Tessa Hadley
“Shelter in Place” by Alexander Maksik
“Cannibals in Love” by Mike Roberts
“Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi
“My Name is Lucy Barton” by Elizabeth Strout – Review posted earlier
“Shelter” by Jung Yun
“The Muse” by Jesse Burton

Disappointing Novels of ’16:
“The North Water” by Ian McGuire
“The Noise of Time” by Julian Barnes
“Modern Lovers” by Emma Straub
“Alice and Oliver” by Charles Bock
“Eligible” by Curtis Sittenfeld – Review posted earlier
“The Nest” by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
“The Atomic Weight of Love” by Elizabeth J. Church
“Work Like Any Other” by Virginia Reeves
“The Lost Time Accidents” by John Wray

Nicole Charbonnet

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