Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2018

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Poll Results

Normal People by Sally Rooney 5
Milkman by Anna Burns 5
Circe by Madeline Miller 5
All Among The Barley by Melissa Harrison 3
Theory Of Bastards by Audrey Schulman 3
And Their Children After Them by Nicolas Mathieu 1
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner 1
My Year Of Rest And Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh 1
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi 1
The Discomfort Of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld 1
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje 0
French Exit by Patrick deWitt 0
At Night All Blood Is Black by David Diop 0
Who Killed My Father by Édouard Louis 0
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green 0
Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri 0
At The Wolf's Table by Rosella Postorino 0
The Ballad of Ayesha by Anisul Hoque 0
Doom 94 by Jānis Joņevs 0
Sugar Money by Jane Harris 0
The Only Story by Julian Barnes 0
Middle England by Jonathan Coe 0
Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday 0
Moustache by S. Hareesh 0
Severance by Ling Ma 0
Witchmark by C.L. Polk 0
Kudos by Rachel Cusk 0
The Silence Of The Girls by Pat Barker 0
1 The Road by AI 0
The Cabin At The End Of The World by Paul Tremblay 0
My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite 0
Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko 0
Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir 0

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 7 January 2022 10:52 (five months ago) link

Read Circe and Normal People, both solid.

Daniel_Rf, Friday, 7 January 2022 10:53 (five months ago) link

All Among The Barley is really, really great - absolutely voting for that. If Rooney wins this I'm FPing the lot of you

imago, Friday, 7 January 2022 11:11 (five months ago) link

(Not read it but I'm rooting for our robot author overlords here)

imago, Friday, 7 January 2022 11:17 (five months ago) link

Normal People is great, Circe pretty decent as well. Own Milkman but haven’t read it. Wasn’t going to vote until I read imago’s comment so I’m voting Normal People.

mardheamac (gyac), Friday, 7 January 2022 11:20 (five months ago) link


it's probably not even that bad, I just got a bad taste from skimming her previous book and she absolutely seems to totemise the solipsistic, diaristic, What We Are All Doing Now strain in contempo lit. perhaps this is unfair

imago, Friday, 7 January 2022 11:28 (five months ago) link

Normal People is fantastic but I went with Milkman.

toby, Friday, 7 January 2022 11:29 (five months ago) link

I didn't like Normal People - or I didn't like the characters, who needed a good shake. It's a toss-up between Circe and Milkman for me; Kudos also good but not the best of her trilogy, All Among the Barley and Theory of Bastards worthy entries, The Silence Of The Girls was disappointing.

two sleeps till brooklyn (ledge), Friday, 7 January 2022 11:35 (five months ago) link

have read the two greek retellings

Circe by Madeline Miller
The Silence Of The Girls by Pat Barker

and many more of their ilk recently (penelopiad, 1000 ships, song of achilles...) and i can't remember which of the iliad adjacent ones i prefer, but Circe (which is more odyssey-adjacent) is probably better than all of them

koogs, Friday, 7 January 2022 11:43 (five months ago) link

A Theory of Bastards is amazing and I have ILB to thank for putting me on to it

Jimmy Iovine Eat World (bernard snowy), Friday, 7 January 2022 12:03 (five months ago) link

I've not read Severance, my mom liked it and lent me her copy, I can see it now at the bottom of a pile on my end table

Jimmy Iovine Eat World (bernard snowy), Friday, 7 January 2022 12:04 (five months ago) link

I enjoyed Severance and thought it a great first novel but Theory of Bastards is getting my vote.

Jaq, Friday, 7 January 2022 15:01 (five months ago) link

Severance is great

horseshoe, Friday, 7 January 2022 15:12 (five months ago) link

Milkman is not for everyone (some people seem really put off by the character names) but I really liked it.

Chris L, Friday, 7 January 2022 15:30 (five months ago) link

I thought Who Killed My Father was devastating but I haven’t read anything else on the list. I liked Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss a lot.

JoeStork, Friday, 7 January 2022 18:26 (five months ago) link

Oh, definitely voting Milkman. Really evocative of a time period and I identified a lot with the flat affect. With regard to Chris L's comment, I actually found the descriptive names to be much easier to follow than giving people normal names - you know exactly who's being talked about at any given time with "maybe-boyfriend" and "actual milkman", rather than having to remember who Mark or James or whoever was.

emil.y, Friday, 7 January 2022 20:00 (five months ago) link

Uncharacteristically, I've actually read some of these. To wit: "Normal People", "My Year of Rest and Relaxation", and "Middle England". I also recently finished Sigrid Nunez's "The Friend", which is from this year but not listed. I enjoyed them all to varying degrees. Hard to pick one. Probably between "My Year of Rest and Relaxation" and "Normal People".

o. nate, Friday, 7 January 2022 20:32 (five months ago) link

I enjoyed Normal People right enough but I think I'll chuck a vote to Melissa Harrison because she has a great book in her and it's not like Sally Rooney needs a boost.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 7 January 2022 20:38 (five months ago) link

Which is to say, All Among the Barley is great but feels like it has been argued out of the ragged folk horror it could have been.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 7 January 2022 20:40 (five months ago) link

It sort of passes over from that into psych horror, the epilogue puts it into poignant context. Ofc it is also a Brexit Novel in its own way, but without being remotely obnoxious about it

imago, Friday, 7 January 2022 20:56 (five months ago) link

Moshfegh for me.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Friday, 7 January 2022 21:01 (five months ago) link

i recall liking french exit, the movie vers less so

johnny crunch, Friday, 7 January 2022 21:02 (five months ago) link

Xp From what I've read the prologue/epilogue were suggestions that involved a complete rewrite? I could be misremembering.

Vanishing Point (Chinaski), Friday, 7 January 2022 21:04 (five months ago) link

Of the four I’ve read, easily milkman

I wouldn’t have voted for it but I think daisy johnson’s everything under prob deserves to be here

Nerd Ragequit (wins), Friday, 7 January 2022 21:22 (five months ago) link

I agree with every good and every bad thing said about Rooney above, and an artist should have a range, right? Incl. of quality, in some cases---that's what keeps people coming back to Nico, Dylan, Young. Normal People certainly has that, and I enjoyed it more than not, so voted for it (also yet another list where I've only read the one).

dow, Saturday, 8 January 2022 01:36 (five months ago) link

Would liked to have known more about and from POV of some other characters, especially the leading guy's mother. Still other characters, mostly some of their friends and associates from Trinity on, were p. 1-D, like the bad boyfriend and the ho friend.

dow, Saturday, 8 January 2022 02:41 (five months ago) link

Read quite a few of these and like them all. Circe is perhaps more easily read than some others, but also the one that's stuck with me the most, the world is so delicately and longingly described I want to dive into it forever.

abcfsk, Saturday, 8 January 2022 10:23 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Monday, 10 January 2022 00:01 (five months ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll's results are now in.

System, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 00:01 (five months ago) link

Another three-way! Kind of/and yet not embarrassed to have voted Rooney (that's Rooney for you), but glad to have read y'all's takes on Milkman's affectless clarity and Circe's delicacy x longing, will read them too!

dow, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 03:46 (five months ago) link

imago's post made Rooney winning a foregone conclusion imo

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 11:06 (five months ago) link

Not an outright win; I'll be merciful

imago, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 11:08 (five months ago) link

Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2019

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:16 (five months ago) link

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