The Best Fiction of 2009

Sex, ghosts, long-lost twins, baby monkeys inhabit Salon's picks
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 9, 2009 12:09 PM CST
"The Children's Book" by AS Byatt.   (
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(Newser) – The frankly subjective list of the year's best fiction from Salon avoids the obvious Wolff Hall, Hillary Mantel's latest and the Man Booker Prize winner. Laura Miller names five others that, too, offered “a sojourn, however brief, into another world”:

  • The Children’s Book by AS Byatt: “This is a classic Byatt fusion of fact and uncannily luscious imagery, mixed in the ideal proportions: not too hot, not too cold—just right.”

  • Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon: An “elegant page-turner” that explores “identity and the theft thereof, but also our national dream of jettisoning our old selves and becoming someone new.”
  • Chronic City by Jonathan Lethem: Characters in a “near-future/alternative-now metropolis” version of Manhattan “stumble through a city riddled with unreliable rumors, insufficiently explained disasters, dilettante millionaires, imperious celebrities and other signs and wonders.”
  • Love in Infant Monkeys by Lydia Millet: This story collection “takes a motley assortment of famous or pseudo-famous figures,” including David Hasselhoff, “and gives each a transformative encounter with an (often imperiled) animal.”
  • The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters: “Waters takes one of narrative literature's most venerable genres—the ghost story—into fresh territory.”

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