Wherein We Elect Our Favourite Novels of 2019

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Poll Results

The Lying Life Of Adults by Elena Ferrante 3
The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead 3
Ducks, Newburyport by Lucy Ellman 2
The Topeka School by Ben Lerner 1
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo 1
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes 1
Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson 1
The Old Drift by Namwali Serpell 1
Not Everybody Lives the Same Way by Jean-Paul Dubois 0
Girl by Edna O'Brien 0
Reproduction by Ian Williams 0
The Freedom Artist by Ben Okri 0
Lost Property by Laura Beatty 0
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak 0
The Death Of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee 0
David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa 0
The Yield by Tara June Winch 0
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine 0
Osebol by Marit Kapla 0
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams 0
Breasts And Eggs by Mieko Kawakami 0
Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout 0
Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James 0
The City In The Middle Of The Night by Charlie Jane Anders 0
House Of Assassins by Larry Correia 0
The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste 0
Out Of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah 0

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:16 (one week ago) link

The Bernadine Evaristo is great; I've read a lot of novels recently where every chapter is from a different perspective and she's very good at it.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:17 (one week ago) link

I haven’t read Girl, Woman, Other yet but there’s absolutely no way that The Testaments deserved to share the Booker prize with it. The Testaments was such a mistake! It’s everything The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t: bloated, forgettable, bland (can you imagine finding The Handmaid’s Tale bland?!) and she shouldn’t have written it. Easily one of the most disappointing things she’s written in years.

mardheamac (gyac), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:28 (one week ago) link

Also I think I may have heard of this at the time but must've memory-holed, holy shit at this:

Annelies is a 2019 novel by David R. Gillham, which has a depiction of Anne Frank surviving her term in the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and reuniting with her father, Otto Frank.

A project of obvious moral turpitude but the reception section of wikipedia is a doozy too:

Susan Ellingwood of The New York Times stated that Gillham "does a good job" in showing an Anne affected by survivor's guilt, but that the scenario between Anne and Otto annoyed her and "leave the reader disappointed with this girl they once loved." Ultimately Ellingwood believed the readers were already well-served by the original Diary of Anne Frank

Disappointed with a dead girl because some dead dude made up a fictional life for her? And readers being "already well-served by the original", like this was some reboot of an old sci-fi franchise or something.

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:28 (one week ago) link

er, the dude lives, sorry for that stray dead

Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:29 (one week ago) link

The Testaments was such a mistake! It’s everything The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t: bloated, forgettable, bland

Hard agree, and the conversion of Aunt Lydia was desperately unconvincing.

I enjoyed the multiple perspectives of Girl, Woman, Other though I think that style does makes it hard to fully lose oneself in the book. The Old Drift was even more discombobulating with nine different and long sections featuring three different generations of three different characters/families.

The Lying Life Of Adults: 'the most about a bracelet that a book has ever been' (Patricia Lockwood). Breasts And Eggs took a while but really won me over long before the end, very eye opening about gender attitudes in japan (lots of women complaining about their good for nothing / absentee husbands). Olive, Again is as good as if not better than Olive.

Runaway winner for me though is Ducks, Newburyport. I started it two or three years ago and inexplicably abandoned it about half way through, when I picked it up again last year I just swam through it, love the way the story (such as it is) imperceptibly builds up from fragments, and how all those "the fact that"s fade into the background the deeper you get into it. Still not exactly sure who Abby is though.

two sleeps till brooklyn (ledge), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:47 (one week ago) link

I read a bit about Breasts and Eggs having never heard of it and it sounds like something I’d like so I’ll order it the next time I’m in town. Thanks!

mardheamac (gyac), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 14:55 (one week ago) link

This is a great year! Torn between Ducks, Newburyport and Nickel Boys.

Breasts and Eggs is on my list; I’ve heard great things.

I liked Girl, Woman, Other; it is a fun read but kind of…slight?

horseshoe, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 15:38 (one week ago) link

I do not think the Lying Life of adults is great, although parts of it are v good.

horseshoe, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 15:39 (one week ago) link

write in for animalia by jean baptiste del amo

devvvine, Tuesday, 11 January 2022 16:05 (one week ago) link

Whitehead by default.

Legalize Suburban Benches (Raymond Cummings), Tuesday, 11 January 2022 21:44 (one week ago) link

Automatic thread bump. This poll is closing tomorrow.

System, Thursday, 13 January 2022 00:01 (one week ago) link

I think this is the first year where I've read (or finished) nothing. I did start The Topeka School, having enjoyed Lerner's previous two novels, but I couldn't get into it.

Zelda Zonk, Thursday, 13 January 2022 00:06 (one week ago) link

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

System, Friday, 14 January 2022 00:01 (six days ago) link

damn this closed fast. black leopard, red wolf was the only of these i've read but it made enough of a mark on me that i would've thrown it a vote

roflrofl fight (voodoo chili), Friday, 14 January 2022 00:04 (six days ago) link

I can't remember whether I remembered to vote in this! Would have voted Lying Lives so if I DIDN'T vote then that's the unofficial winner.

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 14 January 2022 01:06 (six days ago) link

Topeka School had its moments but didn't live up to 10:04 or Atocha Station for me, felt too much like Lerner taking a big windup and delivering his Big Book

Guayaquil (eephus!), Friday, 14 January 2022 01:07 (six days ago) link

write in vote for nell zink's 'doxology'

roflrofl fight (voodoo chili), Tuesday, 18 January 2022 15:33 (two days ago) link

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