Best of 2009: Top 10 Fiction

It took two rounds of voting and several discussions, but we’ve finally distilled the long list of wonderful novels published in 2009 into a list of 10. Unlike a certain book trade publication, we went overwhelmingly female with this list, which nonetheless includes a variety of genres and combines old favorites with new names.

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein
A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Lark and Termite by Jayne Ann Phillips
The City & The City by China Mieville
The Girl Who Played with Fire by Steig Larsson

14 Responses to Best of 2009: Top 10 Fiction

  1. dorie fox says:

    You should have read “Little Bee” – it was on Oprah’s top 10 books of ’09. It’s #1 on my ’09 list after reading 30 books during the year 1009.

  2. Nadia says:

    Great list! I really enjoyed The Help and I’m about to start Her Fearful Symmetry. Also glad you included Mantel’s Wolf Hall.

  3. CJ says:

    I loved The Help and enjoyed Her Fearful Symmetry, but those are the only two I’ve read! Sounds like I better get back to the book case.

  4. Melissa Mc says:

    I’m the only reader on the planet that didn’t like The Help — I had a hard time dealing with a white author trying to portray a uniquely african-american experience. Call it a credibility issue. Oh well!

    I’m on the wait list at the library for Wolf Hall. And I got A Short History of Women as a gift!

  5. Joyce Blume says:

    Working my way through your list, but still rate
    “Wife of the Gods” by Kwei Quartey as my best read of the year.

  6. Ti says:

    I’m surprised that Her Fearful Symmetry made the list. I know there was a lot of anticipation over it coming out but it was my first experience with Niffenegger and I didn’t think it was top ten worthy even though I enjoyed the first half of it quite a bit. I did like her writing style though so I will definitely read The Time Traveler’s Wife.

    • Kate says:

      There was some debate here at BookPage over whether or not to include that one. I think I was the one who loved it the most, as much for the deliciously creepy atmosphere as for the suspenseful story. I know some of us felt the main characters were rather flat, but to me that seemed like a conscious choice on Niffenegger’s part, and it was one that I thought worked well with the story she was telling. I do think you might enjoy The Time Traveler’s Wife even if you didn’t love Her Fearful Symmetry.

      What other book(s) would you put on the list in its place?

  7. […] for BookPage since long before my tenure here) writes that Last Night in Twisted River contains “some of the most entertaining and intellectually playful storytelling of Irving’s career,&#… I sit up and take notice. Though it didn’t make our Top 10 list for 2009, this novel would […]

  8. […] Children’s Book narrowly missed our 2009 Fiction Top 10 and was a personal favorite of mine this year—if I haven’t gone on about it enough to […]

  9. […] share of press this fall and winter—Booker Prize notwithstanding, it also earned a place on our top 10 fiction list and a glowing review from contributor Lauren Bufferd—but I couldn’t resist adding one more […]

  10. I’m reading Lark and Termite now, but otherwise, haven’t read the Top Ten you’ve recommended yet. My own 2009 Top Ten would definitely include The Children’s Book by A.S. Byatt and A Gate at the Top of the Stairs by Lorrie Moore.

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