This page lists all the books I have read in 2019, along with links to where I’ve written about them¤. I’ll be updating this list throughout the year.

22. Novuyo Rosa Tshuma, House of Stone (Zimbabwe, 2018).A family’s story, set against the background of Zimbabwean history.

21. Emilie Pine, Notes to Self (Ireland, 2018). A raw, powerful collection of personal essays. [****]

20. Leïla Slimani, Lullaby (France /Morocco, 2016 tr. 2018). The tale of a murderous nanny. [***]

19. Hwang Jungeun, I’ll Go On (South Korea, 2014 tr. 2018). A novel of coming to terms with (or breaking away from) the past, told by two sisters and their childhood friend. [****]

18. Chris Beckett, Dark Eden (England, 2012). Re-read for book group. I feel much the same way as I did the first time, enjoying Beckett’s portrait of an abandoned society on a distant colonised planet. [***]

17. Trevor Mark Thomas, The Bothy (England, 2019). Claustrophobic tale of a young man hiding from the bounty that his girlfriend’s family has placed on his head. [***]

16. Robert Menasse, The Capital (Austria, 2017 tr. 2019). There’s a pig on the loose in Brussels, and a theme is needed for the celebration of the European Commission’s 50th anniversary. [***]

15. Sue Rainsford, Follow Me to Ground (Ireland, 2018). The strange and haunting tale of a not-quite-human daughter and father with mysterious healing powers. [****]

14. Lillian Li, Number One Chinese Restaurant (USA/China, 2018). Portrait of the owners and staff of a Maryland restaurant at a moment of pressure and change. [***]

13. Rachel Cusk, Outline (England, 2014). Re-read for book group. I appreciated more of what the novel was doing this time (creating a portrait of the narraror in the interstices of dialogue with other characters), but I still don’t feel any closer to it. [***]

12. Alan Parks, February’s Son (Scotland, 2019). Harry McCoy returns in the sequel to Bloody January. Another enjoyable slice of crime fiction set in 1970s Glasgow. [***]

11. Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita (Russia, 1967 tr. 2008/18). I enjoyed the playfulness of this, even though ultimately I didn’t follow it and don’t really know what to say about it… One to re-read another time, perhaps. [***]

10. Agustín Fernández Mallo, Nocilla Lab (Spain, 2009 tr. 2019). Third part of the Nocilla Trilogy. Takes the idea of a de-centred universe and applies it to the protagonist’s individual identity. Brilliant translation, too, mutating in style with each section. [****]

9. Ricky Monahan Brown, Stroke (Scotland, 2019). Touching memoir about the author’s recovery from a stroke at age 38. [***]

8. Mathias Enard, Tell Them of Battles, Kings and Elephants (France, 2010 tr. 2018). A tale of Michelangelo designing a bridge in Constantinople, suspended between history and fiction. [****]

7. Catherine Chidgey, The Beat of the Pendulum (New Zealand, 2017). A disorienting novel of found texts and conversations. [***]

6. Rita Indiana, Tentacle (Dominican Republic, 2015 tr. 2018). A pre- and post-apocalyptic novel of climate change, told across three intersecting timelines. [***]

5. Ted Chiang, Stories of Your Life and Others (USA, 2002). A collection from the author of ‘Understand’, which I reviewed ten (ulp!) years ago; the title story was adapted into the 2016 film Arrival. I enjoyed the book: a couple of stories were a little dry for me, but most were as thought-provoking as I want science fiction to be. [****]

4. Magda Szabó, Katalin Street (Hungary, 1969 tr. 2018). A subtle, reflective account of lives changed on one Budapest Street in the mid-20th century. [***]

3. Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending (England, 2011). Re-read for book group. I actually liked it less this time: it seemed quite dry. [***]

2. Nihad Sirees, States of Passion (Syria, 1998 tr. 2018). A bureaucrat listens to an old man’s tale of family secrets, in this nest of stories. [***]

1. Oyinkan Braithwaite, My Sister, the Serial Killer (Nigeria, 2018). The story of a woman who bumps off her boyfriends, and the sister who helps her clean up afterwards. [***]