For the first time I have kept a list of the books that I have read throughout the year. It is not comprehensive, I have only listed novels (and no doubt I didn’t list all the books I read). Excluded specifically were all poetry books, all short stories and non-fiction.
So here is my list: ‘My Best Books of 2013’ – or more realistically ‘My Best Novels of 2013 from the List of those that I Remembered to Write Down’.
The best book I read: A Land More Kind than Home by Wiley Cash
This is also the first book that I read in 2013. (It was published in 2012). It is a tragic tale of what happens when there are secrets in families and communities. It is only when people no longer choose to look away that things can change.
Here is the synopsis of the book from the author’s website: Wiley Cash
‘Families are supposed to shield children from the horrors of the world, but one Sunday nine-year-old Jess Hall watches as his autistic brother is called into a little church in the mountains of North Carolina. What happens next forces Jess to question everything he once believed. Clem Barefield, the local sheriff, arrives to find a group of charismatic believers who are unwilling to utter a word about the things Jess has seen. At the center of the mystery is Carson Chambliss, a snake handling ex-convict turned preacher whose past is just as mysterious as the power he claims to possess.
Told by three resonant and evocative characters—Jess; Adelaide Lyle, the town midwife and moral conscience; and Clem Barefield, A Land More Kind than Home is a literary thriller, thick with characters connected by faith, infidelity, addiction, and a sense of hope that is as tragic as it is unforgettable. These are masterful portrayals, written with assurance and truth, and they show us the extraordinary promise of this remarkable first novel.’
He has a new novel coming out in 2014 – This Dark Road to Mercy.
All the other “best” books I read in 2013 – this is the order in which I read them (not all were published in 2013):
Maggie O’Farrel – Instructions for a Heatwave
Amina Forna – The Hired Man
Ron Irwin – Flat Water Tuesday
Margie Orford – Water Music
Rachel Joyce – Perfect
Lauren Beukes – The Shining Girls
Khaled Hosseini – And the Mountains Echoed
Wessel Ebersohn – The Classifier
Teju Cole – Open City