It’s a Wrap: 2016

Back once more to my best-of year list in no particular order.

War Crimes for the Home: Liz Jensen. Irreverent, darkly funny, a tale of poisonous sibling rivalry during WWII.

The Stranger Next Door: Amélie Nothomb. So you’ve retired and want to move to a quiet life in the country? Think again.

The Flight: Gaito Gazdanov. Trying to escape fate never works.

The Ted Dreams: Fay Weldon. What can I say? Fay Weldon is a GODDESS.

All Things Cease to Appear: Elizabeth Brundage. Who says crime fiction can’t be literary? A haunting novel of crimes, decades apart, that take place in the same house.

Memories: From Moscow to the Black Sea: Teffi. I can’t say that I wish I’d lived through the Russian Revolution, but Teffi’s memories bring some powerful experiences to life.

Siracusa: Delia Ephron. Two unhappily married couples and one precocious child on holiday in Italy. What can go wrong?

The Wicked Go to Hell: Frédéric Dard. Three Dard books from Pushkin Vertigo this year, and this was my favourite.

Bye-Bye Blondie: Virginie Despentes. Who can resist a Kamikaze woman?

The Moving Toyshop: Edmund Crispin. Funny and fast moving, the best of all the Golden Age mysteries I read this year.

Sweet William: Beryl Bainbridge. William could give Casanova a run for his money.

Willful Disregard:Lena Andersson. Obsession and delusion in a relationship break-up.

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25 Comments

Filed under Bainbridge, Beryl, Brundage Elizabeth, Crispin Edmund, Dard Frédéric, Ephron Delia, Fiction, Gazdanov Gaito, Jensen Liz, Nothomb Amélie, Teffi, Weldon, Fay

25 responses to “It’s a Wrap: 2016

  1. I like the sound of the Amélie Nothomb novel – Ive read only one novella by her (set in japan) and really enjoyed it. So have added The Stranger Next Door to my watch list now

  2. I have to read this Fay Weldon, I love her dark humour:)
    Best wishes for the festive season, I love your blog:)

  3. Thanks Lisa. Making the list drove me back to Fay Weldon once more, so I’m reading Female Friends.

  4. I thought the Beryl Bainbridge was magnificent too!

  5. I had Elizabeth Brundage’s novel down as one of my favourites – hopelessly underrated, but very elegant and haunting. And I haven’t read this particular Virginie Despentes, but I enjoy her fiery humour and rants. In fact, a very tempting list indeed…

    • I read that one very early in the year which sometimes I think is a disadvantage when it comes to making these lists, but when I went over the books I’d read in 2016, the Brundage stood out. This is the fourth novel I’ve read of hers.

  6. I’m with you on Wilful Disregard and The Flight. Also loved Amelie Nothomb’s Fear and Trembling.

  7. Some great titles. I have a feeling some will turn up on my blog next year. Especially Dard and Brundage.

  8. Yes the Northumberland, and of course Weldon particularly stick out for me, but overall a fascinating list, all of which I imagine I would like.

  9. A great list that shows how diversified your reading is.
    I like Amélie Nothomb. She’s an extravagant character and her books are different from one another and yet she publishes A LOT.

    Virginie Despentes is definitely someone to follow. I didn’t like her last one Vernon Sullivan but I might have read it at a wrong time.

    I still have to read Fay Weldon and Beryl Bainbridge. Some day…

    • This was my first Nothomb and I was very surprised by it. Loved it basically. All these books, with the exception of The Moving Toyshop, are rather dark in different ways. There’s one scene in Siracusa I can’t get out of my head (in a good way)

  10. Lots of interesting choices here, Guy. I read my first Bainbridge this year and really enjoyed it, so ‘Sweet William’ could be one for the future. Also hoping to read more Gazdanov next year, probably ‘An Evening with Claire’ which I’ve had for a while.

  11. A great list! This page has been bookmarked for future reference!

  12. I read Sweet William again this year. He is so terrible and the book is so funny. Thanks for this list it reminds me I’ve got a Gazdanov I haven’t read – The Buddha’s Return.

  13. I’d missed this post Guy, it came out just as I was heading off for Christmas I think. Great list. I’ll be bookmarking this as there’s some I want to check out in slower time for future reference.

    Regarding Teffi, I’ve not hugely taken to her short stories so far. I seem to be in a tiny minority on that though. Perhaps just a tonal thing. I’ll try them again later in the year (I know it’s the memoirs here, but the reference reminded me).

    • I read one of her stories in the recent Russian Christmas collection, and found it just ok. This was a memoir, and I think I got the best of it on this one. Perhaps wrong, but the memoir conveyed the loss, the chaos and the madness.

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