Here is a list of everything I read during the year, along with links to any reviews I’ve written.

72. Emmanuel Carrère, The Moustache (France, 1986 tr. 1988). An everyday cosmetic change leads the protagonist into a spiral of paranoia. [***]

71. Djuna, Counterweight (South Korea, 2021 tr. 2023). Brisk SF thriller about buried identity. [****]

70. Manya Wilkinson, Lublin (USA, 2024). Three boys head out on a journey in the shadow of the twentieth century. [***]

69. George Orwell, Animal Farm (England, 1945). A first-time read for me: it still has claws. [****]

68. Nathacha Appanah, Nothing Belongs to You (Mauritius/France, 2021 tr. 2023). Short novel about trauma resurfacing. [***]

67. Maylis de Kerangal, Canoes (France, 2021 tr. 2023). A collection of stories about women’s voices. [***]

66. Iain M. Banks, The Player of Games (Scotland, 1988). Re-read: As richly strange as I remember. [****]

65. Benjamin Myers, Cuddy (England, 2023). Shapeshifting novel about St Cuthbert and Durham Cathedral. [****]

64. Abi Silver, The Aladdin Trial (England, 2018). Legal thriller about the mysterious death of a hospital patient pushed off the roof. [***]

63. Nolwenn Le Blevennec, As the Eagle Flies (France, 2021 tr. 2023). The story of an affair. [***]

62. Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House (USA, 1959). Re-read: I appreciated the writing more this time. [***]

61. Mike McCormack, This Plague of Souls (Ireland, 2023). From the opening of a front door to a wager with reality hanging in the balance. [****]

60. Anna Kavan, Ice (England, 1967). An apocalypse of the mind, whose protagonist wanders through a frozen world that mirrors his psyche. [***]

59. H. Gareth Gavin, Never Was (England, 2023). A strange limbo-world gives characters space to work through their childhood and their deepest feelings about themselves. [***]

58. Richard Milward, Man-Eating Typewriter (England, 2023). An anarchist’s freewheeling memoir in Polari jostles for space on the page (and a claim on reality) with the publishing company who have other ideas. [****]

57. Paul Griffiths, let me go on (Wales, 2023). Ophelia forges a new life for herself, using the same set of words – but Griffiths’ writing is so dextrous, the constrint hardly shows. [****]

56. Paul Griffiths, let me tell you (Wales, 2008). Ophelia from Hamlet breaks out of her life, narrating with only the 481 words given her by Shakespeare. [****]

55. Bohumil Hrabal, Too Loud a Solitude (Czechia, 1976 tr. 1990). The life and dreams of a waste-paper compactor. [****]

54. Ladislav Fuks, The Cremator (Czechia, 1967 tr. 2016). Chilling tale of a decent man sliding passively into collaboration during the German occupation of Czechoslovakia. [****]

53. Narine Abgaryan, Three Apples Fell from the Sky (Armenia/Russia, 2015 tr. 2020). A quiet rural tale that manages to be life-affirming and dark at the same time. [***]

52. Claudia Piñeiro, A Little Luck (Argentina, 2015 tr. 2023). A woman returns to her home city to face the past she thought she’d left behind. [***]

51. Karel Čapek, War with the Newts (Czechia, 1936 tr. 1937). A striking satire that’s open to multiple interpretations, and still carries a powerful warning today. [****]

50. Reverse Engineering II (Various, 2023). An anthology of short stories and interviews with the authors about how they were written. [***]

49. Lars Iyer, My Weil (England, 2023). A new arrival challenges the convictions of a group of PhD students. [***]

48. Charlie Hill, The State of Us (England, 2023). Tales of distilled reality: highly enjoyable. [****]

47. Berta Dávila, The Dear Ones (Spain, 2020 tr. 2023). An account of ambivalent motherhood. [***]

46. Karosh Taha, In the Belly of the Queen (Germany/Iraq, 2020 tr. 2023). Two novellas explore the same imaginative space from different angles. [****]

45. Tomasz Jędrowski, Swimming in the Dark (Germany/Poland, 2020). A tale of love and coming-of-age in 1980s Poland.  [***]

44. Victor Heringer, The Love of Singular Men (Brazil, 2016 tr. 2023). Splendidly fluid tale of a man looking back on a lost childhood love and contemplating drastic action in the present. [****]

43. Amy Arnold, Lori & Joe (England, 2023). A day in the company of a darting consciousness who would prefer not to think certain thoughts. [****]

42. Kevin Barry, That Old Country Music (Ireland, 2020). Re-read: I still love the rhythms of Barry’s tales, and have a new appreciation of the darkness within them. [****]

41. Eleanor Catton, Birnam Wood (New Zealand/Canada, 2023). Sadly, doesn’t recapture the magic of her first two novels for me. [***]

40. Louise Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God (USA, 2017). A bit too diffuse for my taste. [***]

39. Raphaela Edelbauer, The Liquid Land (Austria, 2019 tr. 2021). A region out of time finds ways to hide the dark parts of its history. [****]

38. Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (USA, 2013). Re-read: I just can’t get along with the voice. [***]

37. Lisa Pike, Industrial Roots (Canada, 2023). Linked snapshots of life in working-class Ontario. [***]

36. Herbert Clyde Lewis, Gentleman Overboard (USA, 1937). Comic and tragic, banal and affecting, extremes of emotion are here in the tale of a man who slips off the edge of a ship. [****]

35. Saneh Sangsuk, Venom (Thailand, 2001 tr, 2023). A young boy grapples with a snake and oppressive authority in this short, engaging work. [****]

34. Sigrún Pálsdóttir, History. A Mess. (Iceland, 2016 tr.2019). A PhD student loses her footing on reality in a novel that collapses into conjecture. [***]

33. Douglas Bruton, With or Without Angels (Scotland, 2023). Reality fades into memory and imagination as an ageing artist completes his final work. [***]

32. Jeremy Cooper, Brian (England, 2023). A love letter to the cinema, in which a reclusive council worker discovers the world of film. [****]

31. Chris Carse Wilson, Fray (Scotland, 2023). A vivid tale of a narrator working through their grief. [****]

30. Daniel Kehlmann, Tyll (Germany/Austria, 2017 tr. 2020). Re-read: still hit-and-miss for me. [***]

29. Han Kang, Greek Lessons (South Korea, 2011 tr. 2023). Two characters forge a connection through the intimacy of language. [****]

28. Andrew Hunter Murray, The Last Day (England, 2020). Earth has stopped spinning in this odd thriller. [**]

27. Guadalupe Nettel, Still Born (Mexico, 2020 tr. 2022). An exploration of changing feelings about motherhood, through the lives of two thirtysomething women. [***]

26. Andrey Kurkov, Jimi Hendrix Live in Lviv (Ukraine, 2012 tr. 2023). Typically quirky stuff from Kurkov. [***]

25. Amanda Svensson, A System So Magnificent It Is Blinding (Sweden, 2019 tr. 2022). A big, digressive novel about mismatched triplets and possible coincidences. [***]

24. Zou Jingzhi, Ninth Building (China, 2010 tr. 2022). Snapshots of the author’s youth during the Cultural Revolution. [***]

23. Clemens Meyer, While We Were Dreaming (Germany, 2007 tr. 2023). A chronicle of teenage boys’ lives and dreams in the wake of German unification. [***]

22. Georgi Gospodinov, Time Shelter (Bulgaria, 2020 tr. 2022). A powerful and engaging novel about memory and the perils of nostalgia. [****]

21. Virginia Woolf, Orlando (England, 1928). Re-read: oddly enough, I didn’t care for it as much this time. [***]

20. Eva Baltasar, Boulder (Spain, 2020 tr. 2022). Short and intense study of a woman facing a crossroads in life. [****]

19. Laurent Mauvignier, The Birthday Party (France, 2020 tr. 2023). A novel that manages to be both densely written and a proper page-turner. [****]

18. Perumal Murugan, Pyre (India, 2013 tr. 2016). The tale of a couple who are of different castes, and the village that turns against them. [***]

17. Vigdis Hjorth, Is Mother Dead (Norway, 2020 tr. 2022). A woman returns to her home city and hopes to reconcile with her mother, though all is not as it seems. [****]

16. Maryse Condé, The Gospel According to the New World (France/Guadeloupe, 2021 tr. 2023). A new messiah may, or may not, have been born in this parody of the gospels. [***]

15. Liu Cixin, The Three-Body Problem (China, 2006 tr. 2014). Started off interesting, but eventually I just got bored. [**]

14. Derek Owusu, Losing the Plot (England, 2022). The tale of a mother’s journey from Ghana to the UK, and her son’s attempt to tell her story. [****]

13. Eva Aldea, Singapore (Poland/Sweden, 2023). A woman finds expat life is not all she thought it might be, and gives rein to her darker impulses. [****]

12. Éric Faye, The Ghost of Frédéric Chopin (France, 2019 tr 2021). Enjoyable mystery about a woman who seemingly receives posthumous compositions from Chopin. [***]

11. Cherry Smyth and Craig Jordan-Baker, If the River Is Hidden (Ireland/England, 2023). Poetry and prose combine as two writers travel through Northern Ireland to connect with their roots. [***]

10. Fatima Daas, The Last One (France, 2020 tr. 2022). The tale of a young French-Algerian woman piecing together the different aspects of her identity. [***]

9. Cheon Myeong-kwan, Whale (South Korea, 2004 tr. 2022). A kaleidoscopic dance of a novel exploring recent Korean history. [****]

8. Daniel Keyes, Flowers for Algernon (USA, 1966). Re-read this novel about a man who undergoes experimental intelligence enhancement. Still as sharp as ever. [****]

7. Meena Kandasamy, The Book of Desire (India, 2023). New translation of an ancient work of Tamil love poetry. [****]

6. David Constantine, Rivers of the Unspoilt World (England, 2022). Three historical novellas that were just not my thing on the day. [***]

5. Philippe Claudel, German Fantasia (France, 2020 tr. 2023). A powerful cycle of stories on themes of history, memory and complicity. [****]

4. Ryūnosuke Akutagawa, Hell Screen (Japan, 1917-25 tr. 2006). I read this after seeing the film Rashomon (which is based on two of the stories). I enjoyed Akutagawa’s combination of darkness, wry humour and unreliable narrators. [***]

3. Tarjei Vesaas, The Birds (Norway, 1957 tr. 1968). Re-read: I appreciated even more this time the subtlety and insight of the characterisation. [*****]

2. Gertrude Trevelyan, Appius and Virginia (England, 1932). The premise of this novel sounds whimsical (a woman tries to raise an orang-utan as a human child), but actually it’s a chilling portrait of the impossibility of knowing another mind. [*****]

1. Horatio Clare, The Light in the Dark (Wales, 2018). Candid journal of a British winter, touching on nature and the author’s mental health. [***]