Top 10 Fiction Books of 2017 So Far

11 August 2017

If you're looking for brand new fiction to lose yourself in, look no further. This list features some of the best novels of the year so far, including sensational short stories, heart-pounding adventures and riveting romances. See below for the top 10 fiction books of 2017 - so far...

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1. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Arundhati Roy

This richly moving novel takes readers on an intimate journey across the Indian subcontinent, from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi to the snowy mountains and valleys of Kashmir. The story follows two characters: Anjum, a transgender woman who comes into her own only to find herself struck down by tragedy, and Tilo, an architect who travels to Kashmir to revive her turbulent love affair with Musa, a freedom fighter. Immerse yourself in this poignant and powerful account of people who have been broken by the world and then rescued, healed by hope and love.

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2. Men Without Women

Haruki Murakami

Across seven stirring tales, Haruki Murakami explores the lives of men who, for one reason or another, have found themselves alone. Here you'll find vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Infused with the author's trademark wry humour, this novel is a contemporary classic and a must-read.

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3. The Book of Bera

Suzie Wilde

This enthralling Viking fantasy follows Bera, a young woman who is struggling to control her invisible twin spirit and develop her inherited gift of Sight. On a dark winter's night, Bera is left to defend her village alone, and loses her childhood friend, Bjorn, to the ensuing battle. Soon after, her father weds her to the chieftain of a rival clan, and Bera realises the unthinkable: his second-in-command is responsible for Bjorn's death. As she learns to be a wife and stepmother in her brutal new clan, Bera resolves to hone her gifts and get revenge. But her visions of looming disaster grow more and more distressing. Will she choose revenge, or lead her people to safety before it's too late?

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4. Anything is Possible

Elizabeth Strout

Delve into the lives of an unforgettable cast of characters and the ways they cope with love and loss in this stunning novel. It explores the whole spectrum of human emotion through intimate dramas and the stories of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Travel to the dusty, rural Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful writer who finally returns to this tiny town to visit the siblings she left behind. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family and the hope that comes with reconciliation, this rich novel is sure to captivate you.

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5. The Refugees

Viet Thanh Nguyen

In this eye-opening novel, Viet Thanh Nguyen gives a voice to those whose lives lead them between two worlds. It features a selection of moving short stories and compelling characters, from a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he goes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose half-sister returns from America, having accomplished everything she never will. Discover the lives, dreams and hardships of those whose stories are all too often lost in the chaos.

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6. Exit West

Mohsin Hamid

Journey from the Middle East to London and beyond in this extraordinary story of love, hope and war. Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing: fall in love in a world turned upside-down. Civil war has come to the city that they call home. Before long, they will have to leave their motherland behind and join the great exodus of people fleeing a crumbling city, looking for their place in a shattered world.

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7. The Day I Died

Lori Rader-Day

This gripping novel follows a mother's desperate search for a lost boy. Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves just by looking at their handwriting. Hired by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn looking for happiness, Anna likes to keep other people's issues at arm's length, on paper. But when she is asked to examine a note left behind at a murder scene, the crime rips open Anna's cloistered life for all to see. To save her son - and herself - she will need to face her every fear and the past she thought she'd rewritten...

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8. The Idiot

Elif Batuman

Selin - a tall, highly-strung, Turkish-American from New Jersey - arrives at Harvard and quickly finds herself overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood. She studies linguistics and literature, teaches ESL and ponders what languages can and cannot do. Along the way, she befriends Svetlana, a cosmopolitan Serb, and obsesses over Ivan, a mathematician from Hungary. Their hilarious relationship culminates with Selin heading to a Hungarian village to teach English for the summer, and enduring a series of surprising excursions. Throughout her adventures, Selin questions how culture and language shape who we are - and how baffling love is. Clever and clueless, Batuman's heroine shows us with perfect humour and soulful curiosity just how messy it can be to forge an identity.

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9. All Grown Up

Jami Attenberg

Single and childless, 39-year-old Andrea must attempt to navigate family, friendships, sexuality and a career she never wanted whilst battling with desires few people would want to confront. With powerfully honest language that shimmers with frustration and intimacy, All Grown Up poses such questions as: what if I don't want to hold your baby? Can I date you without hearing about your divorce? What can I demand of my mother now that I'm an adult? At what point does drinking become a drinking problem? And why does everyone keep asking me why I'm not married? With wicked wit and intelligence, this brilliant book delves into the psyche of a captivating modern character.

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10. What We Lose

Zinzi Clemmons

Lose yourself in this short yet intensely moving debut novel about race, identity, sex and death. Thandi is a black woman, but often mistaken for Hispanic or Asian. She is American, but doesn't feel as American as some of her friends. She is South African, but doesn't belong in South Africa either. And her mother is dying...

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Need more inspiring modern stories? Check out our full range of the best contemporary novels.

  • AWXFY
    • £14.89
    • RRP £14.99
    From the winner of the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction 'Nguyen's eight heart-wrenching and hopeful stories ought to be required reading for every politician in this era of wall-building and xenophobia' the Guardian In The Refugees, Viet Thanh Nguyen gives voice to lives led between two worlds, the adopted homeland and the country of birth. From a young Vietnamese refugee who suffers profound culture shock when he comes to live with two gay men in San Francisco, to a woman whose husband is suffering from dementia and starts to confuse her for a former lover, to a girl living in Ho Chi Minh City whose older half-sister comes back from America having seemingly accomplished everything she never will, the stories are a captivating testament to the dreams and hardships of immigration. The second piece of fiction by a major new voice, The Refugees is a beautifully written and sharply observed book about the aspirations of those who leave one country for another, and the relationships and desires for self-fulfillment that define our lives. 'With anger but not despair, with reconciliation but not unrealistic hope, and with genuine humour that is not used to diminish anyone, Nguyen has breathed life into many unforgettable characters, and given us a timely book focusing, in the words of Willa Cather, on "the slow working out of fate in people of allied sentiment and allied blood"' the Guardian
  • AXDII
    (1)
    • £14.69
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    Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017, Mohsin Hamid's Exit West is a story about two ordinary people - fundamentalist Nadia and Saeed - who attempt to do the extraordinary thing of falling in love in a world turned upside down.

    Although a love story at its heart, this is also book about how we live in modern times and how two humans will negotiate their way through a world in the midst of a crisis. Civil War now engulfs the city Nadia and Saeed call home and they know they will have to leave... but many others have the same idea.

    Will any of them be able to find their place in the world?
  • BCWGF
    • £15.19
    • RRP £18.99
    • Save £3.80Save 20.00%
    Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a No.1 bestseller that has been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. Original, emotional and profound, it is Roy's first novel in 20 years - and it's been well worth the wait.

    The story spools from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi through to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India, where war is peace and peace is war. It's a place where 'normalcy' is declared on an occasional basis.

    An aching love story about heroes who have been broken by the world they live in and subsequently rescued and mended by love and hope. This is a timely tale from a master storyteller...
  • BCXON
    • £16.19
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £0.80Save 4.00000000000000003552713678800500929355621337890625%
    Selin, a tall, highly strung Turkish-American from New Jersey turns up at Harvard and finds herself dangerously overwhelmed by the challenges and possibilities of adulthood. She studies linguistics and literature, teaches ESL and spends a lot of time thinking about what language - and languages - can and cannot do. Along the way she befriends Svetlana, a cosmopolitan Serb, and obsesses over Ivan, a mathematician from Hungary. The two conduct a hilarious relationship that culminates with Selin spending the summer teaching English in a Hungarian village and enduring a series of surprising excursions. Throughout her journeys, Selin ponders profound questions about how culture and language shape who we are, how difficult it is to be a failed writer, and how baffling love is. At once clever and clueless, Batuman's heroine shows us with perfect hilarity and soulful inquisitiveness just how messy it can be to forge a self.
  • AXKJX
    • £13.49
    • RRP £16.99
    • Save £3.50Save 20.000000000000000142108547152020037174224853515625%
    The Book of Bera is a Viking adventure fantasy novel which follows the saga of Bera, a young Viking woman who is struggling to control her invisible twin spirit and develop her inherited gift of Sight. On a long winter night, Bera is left to defend her stark village alone, and in the ensuing battle, her dear childhood friend, Bjorn, is killed. When soon after her father weds her to the chieftain of a rival clan, Bera realises the unthinkable: his second-in-command is responsible for her friend's death. Though she must now learn how to be a wife and a stepmother to a hostile boy, Bera vows her revenge and sets off on a path to grow in power and hone her skills in the rough, macho clan into which she has been sold. As her gifts continue to grow, her visions of looming disaster become more and more ominous until she has to make the ultimate choice: Will she choose revenge? Or will she succeed in leading her people to safety before it's too late? The Book of Bera is a work of great character, imagination and considerable drive that will take you on an epic journey of duty, vengeance and salvation.
  • AYDMC
    • £12.29
    • RRP £12.99
    • Save £0.70Save 5.00000000000000010658141036401502788066864013671875%
    Andrea is a single, childless 39-year-old woman who tries to navigate family, sexuality, friendships and a career she never wanted, but battles with thoughts and desires that few people would want to face up to. Told in gut-wrenchingly honest language that shimmers with rage and intimacy, All Grown Up poses such questions as: - What if I don't want to hold your baby? - Can I date you without ever hearing about your divorce? - What can I demand of my mother now that I am an adult? - Is therapy pointless? - At what point does drinking a lot become a drinking problem? - Why does everyone keep asking me why I am not married? Powerfully intelligent and wickedly funny, All Grown Up delves into the psyche of a flawed but mesmerising character. Readers will recognise themselves in Jami Attenberg's truthful account of what it means to be a 21st century woman, though they might not always want to admit it.
  • AZMXS
    • £10.39
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    An unforgettable cast of small-town characters copes with love and loss from the No. 1 New York Times bestselling and Man Booker long-listed author of My Name is Lucy Barton Recalling Olive Kitteridge in its richness, structure, and complexity, Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others. Anything is Possible tells the story of the inhabitants of rural, dusty Amgash, Illinois, the hometown of Lucy Barton, a successful New York writer who finally returns, after seventeen years of absence, to visit the siblings she left behind. Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout's place as one of America's most respected and cherished authors.
  • BBBZW
    • £8.09
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    From the award-winning author of Little Pretty Things comes this gripping, unforgettable tale of a mother's desperate search for a lost boy. Anna Winger can know people better than they know themselves with only a glance-at their handwriting. Hired out by companies wanting to land trustworthy employees and by the lovelorn hoping to find happiness, Anna likes to keep the real-life mess of other people at arm's length and on paper. But when she is called to use her expertise on a note left behind at a murder scene in the small town she and her son have recently moved to, the crime gets under Anna's skin and rips open her narrow life for all to see. To save her son-and herself-once and for all, Anna will face her every fear, her every mistake, and the past she thought she'd rewritten.
  • BANCA
    • £13.59
    • RRP £16.99
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    "I find writing novels a challenge, writing stories a joy. If writing novels is like planting a forest, then writing short stories is more like planting a garden." Across seven tales, Haruki Murakami brings his powers of observation to bear on the lives of men who, in their own ways, find themselves alone. Here are vanishing cats and smoky bars, lonely hearts and mysterious women, baseball and the Beatles, woven together to tell stories that speak to us all. Marked by the same wry humor that has defined his entire body of work, in this collection Murakami has crafted another contemporary classic.
  • BGJPB
    • £11.29
    • RRP £12.99
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    A short, intense and profoundly moving debut novel about race, identity, sex and death Thandi is a black woman, but often mistaken for Hispanic or Asian. She is American, but doesn't feel as American as some of her friends. She is South African, but doesn't belong in South Africa either. Her mother is dying. `Zinzi Clemmons's debut novel signals the emergence of a voice that refuses to be ignored' Paul Beatty, winner of the Man Booker Prize 2016 `Navigates the many registers of grief, loss and injustice ... acutely moving' Margo Jefferson, author of Negroland `Wise and tender and possessed of a fiercely insightful intimacy' Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine