Book List

Best Fiction of 2012: The Top 25

  • FICTION

    HOPE: A TRAGEDY

    JAN. 12, 2012

FICTION

HOPE: A TRAGEDY

by Shalom Auslander

Brutal, irreverent and very funny. An honest-to-goodness heir to Portnoy’s Complaint. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    BLASPHEMY

    OCT. 2, 2012

FICTION

BLASPHEMY

by Sherman Alexie

Whether recent or from his earliest period, these pieces show Alexie at his best: as an interpreter and observer, always... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    KINGDOM COME

    MARCH 5, 2012

FICTION

KINGDOM COME

by J.G. Ballard

Ballard writes brilliantly about the nightmarish underside of modern life, and this novel makes us poignantly aware of the... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    LAZARUS IS DEAD

    SEPT. 25, 2012

FICTION

LAZARUS IS DEAD

by Richard Beard

Beard’s take on Lazarus is nothing less than astonishing—and he respects the reader by taking religion and religious... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE SANDCASTLE GIRLS

    JULY 17, 2012

FICTION

THE SANDCASTLE GIRLS

by Chris Bohjalian

A gruesome, unforgettable exposition of the still too-little-known facts of the Armenian genocide and its multigenerational... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME

    JUNE 19, 2012

FICTION

TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME

by Carol Rifka Brunt

There is much to admire in this novel. The subtle insight on sibling rivalry and the examination of love make for a poignant... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    TELEGRAPH AVENUE

    SEPT. 11, 2012

FICTION

TELEGRAPH AVENUE

by Michael Chabon

The evocation of “Useless, by James Joyce” attests to the humor and ambition of the novel, as if this were a Joyce-an remix... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE INVESTIGATION

    JULY 10, 2012

FICTION

THE INVESTIGATION

by Philippe Claudel ; translated by John Cullen

A technocratic Kafka nightmare—heavy on surreal diagnosis of the world’s ills, light on the traditional rewards of... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING

    JUNE 19, 2012

FICTION

A HOLOGRAM FOR THE KING

by Dave Eggers

Even so, Eggers’ fiction has evolved in the past decade. This book is firm proof that social concerns can make for resonant... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS

    SEPT. 4, 2012

FICTION

THE GARDEN OF EVENING MISTS

by Tan Twan Eng

Grace and empathy infuse this melancholy landscape of complex loyalties enfolded by brutal history, creating a novel of... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    GONE GIRL

    JUNE 5, 2012

MYSTERY & DETECTIVE

GONE GIRL

by Gillian Flynn

One of those rare thrillers whose revelations actually intensify its suspense instead of dissipating it. The final pages are... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    CANADA

    MAY 22, 2012

MYSTERY & DETECTIVE

CANADA

by Richard Ford

At the start of the novel’s coda, when Dell explains that he teaches his students “books that to me seem secretly about my... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    BILLY LYNN'S LONG HALFTIME WALK

    MAY 1, 2012

  • FICTION

    ARCADIA

    MARCH 1, 2012

FICTION

ARCADIA

by Lauren Groff

As a follow-up to Groff’s well-received debut (The Monsters of Templeton, 2008), this novel is a structural conundrum,... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    AEROGRAMMES

    APRIL 5, 2012

FICTION

AEROGRAMMES

by Tania James

At every turn, James’ prose is crisp, observant and carefully controlled; unlike the narrator of “Escape Key,” who grows... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    ZOO TIME

    OCT. 16, 2012

FICTION

ZOO TIME

by Howard Jacobson

Guy’s not a lucky guy, to be sure, but if there’s justice, Jacobson will enjoy best-sellerdom in his place with this latest... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED

    SEPT. 11, 2012

FICTION

THE 100-YEAR-OLD MAN WHO CLIMBED OUT THE WINDOW AND DISAPPEARED

by Jonas Jonasson

A great cure for the blues, especially for anyone who might feel bad about growing older. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    DEAR LIFE

    NOV. 13, 2012

FICTION

DEAR LIFE

by Alice Munro

The author knows what matters, and the stories pay attention to it. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE COLDEST NIGHT

    APRIL 3, 2012

FICTION

THE COLDEST NIGHT

by Robert Olmstead

An exceptionally fine study of love, war and the double-edged role of memory, which can both sustain and destroy.... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    THE COVE

    APRIL 10, 2012

FICTION

THE COVE

by Ron Rash

Even better than the bestselling Serena (2008), for here Rash has elevated melodrama to tragedy. Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    WISH YOU WERE HERE

    APRIL 17, 2012

FICTION

WISH YOU WERE HERE

by Graham Swift

Profound empathy and understated eloquence mark a novel so artfully nuanced that the last few pages send the reader back to... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    BUILDING STORIES

    OCT. 2, 2012

GRAPHIC NOVELS & COMICS

BUILDING STORIES

by Chris Ware

A dazzling document, beautifully if most idiosyncratically drawn; in this iteration, sure to become a collector’s item,... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >
  • FICTION

    HOSTAGE

    AUG. 24, 2012

FICTION

HOSTAGE

by Elie Wiesel & translated by Catherine Temerson

Nobel Peace Prize winner Wiesel continues to remind us of the brilliant possibilities of the philosophical and political... Full review >

FULL REVIEW >

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