Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review of 2009: Fiction

It's that time of the year where all forms of media indulge in their general summing why not?

2009 was the year of the bloodsucker in so many ways. I even found myself reading a vampire novel — Guillermo del Toro's The Strain — on holiday in Mexico.

I've delved a bit more into genre fiction than I have lately been accustomed, and found the experience generally rewarding. James Lee Burke's Swan Peak, perhaps the most outstanding of several detective novels I read, only just fell outside the top ten and not far behind it were Michael Connelly's Nine Dragons and his own The Tin Roof Blowdown.

In contrast some of the literary fiction I took in this year was a tad disappointing; most notably Slow Man by J.M. Coetzee and Mentira by Enrique de Hériz.

1) Los Detectives Salvajes — ROBERTO BOLAÑO
2) The Year Of The Flood — MARGARET ATWOOD
3) Breath — TIM WINTON
5) Jeff In Venice, (Death In Varanassi) — GEOFF DYER
6) Dance Dance Dance — HARUKI MURAKAMI
7) White Tiger — ARAVIND ADIGA
8) The Remains of the Day — KAZUO ISHIGURO
9) El Búfalo De La Noche — GUILLERMO ARRIAGA
10) Ordinary Thunderstorms — WILLIAM BOYD

Once again I seem to have failed to review all of the titles in the list and my response to The Savage Detectives is still something of a work in progress.

Geoff Dyer's two part novel fully deserved a place here in spite of the fact that I've only actually completed the Jeff in Venice stage!

It may come as a surprise to some that The Remains of the Day features so low in the list, but I've come to this excellent novel somewhat late with my expectations informed by the film, and the chart is a personal ranking based as much on what I got out of each individual work as its inherent literary qualities.

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