This has been a wonderful year for me. My debut novel, “A Line Intersected,” has won many awards, and I’ve been featured in several publications and have spoken at book signings, book clubs, and book festivals. But like all writers, I read many books each year and I’m always humbled by the talent I discover. I could not let the year end without mentioning some of the brilliant fiction I have enjoyed from other writers. I let no artificial rules bind me; publication dates, genres, fame or fortune, -I don’t give a damn. If the book blew me away, I listed it. The only thing I did was limit my list to five (and that was difficult!). So, here is my list of the Top Five Works of Fiction I have enjoyed this year (in no particular order):
“The Adventures of Joe Harper” by Phong Nguyen. Awesome. A ballsy and terrifically courageous effort to carry on Mark Twain’s literary legend. And Mr. Nguyen nailed it. A great read.
“The Hemingway Files” by H.K. Bush. Stunningly brilliant.There were passages in this novel that made me stop reading a moment, just so I could savor the words I had just read.
“The Spectator Bird” by Wallace Stegner. A writer I had not heard of, recommended to me, and that then made me realize how much brilliance I had let pass by in my ignorance of his existence. Awesome novel.
“Train Wreck Girl” by Sean Carswell. A novel that I read straight through, that made me feel wholly inadequate as a writer. A novel that twisted my heart and gut.
“The Unfinished Child” by Charles D.J. Case. A novel published by Fat Dog Books, the same publisher that published “A Line Intersected,” and the novel that made me extra proud to be part of the same family of authors at Fat Dog. This novel intimidated me with its brilliant complexity and pathos. Absolutely awesome.
So that’s my list. I’d love to include more, but the Twitter Generation likes things short and sweet, and who am I to buck the trend?
-David Grant Urban