novels of the year

All ladybooks. And it’s not like I didn’t read dudebooks all year; I did. It’s just that the ladies were all, oh, freer and looser and madder. They were all resurrecting the dead and overthrowing the state and having relations with animals. They were appropriating true stories and speaking with the voices of drunks and historical personages and even First Ladies! They were taking bold risks and those risks were paying off! Dudes are going to have to step up if they want to write like the ladies. You should read any of these but ideally all of them because they are each of them intricately constructed WORLDS UNTO THEMSELVES. So brilliant! Kudos, ladies!

Oh Pure and Radiant Heart

A Japanese photographer assigned to Nagasaki after the bombing said this of the scene he surveyed: “I tried climbing up onto a small hill to look. All around the city burned with little elf-fires, and the sky was blue and full of stars.”


Patsy MacLemoore came to on a concrete shelf in a cell in the basement of the Altadena Sheriff’s department. Her hair had woken her up. It stank.

She had said she would rather die than come back here. She’d said that both times she’d been here before.

A Place of Greater Safety

The child particularly presented an insoluble problem. It seemed inaccessible to the processes of legal reasoning. He smiled at it, and it learned to smile back; not with the amicable toothless grin of most infants, but with what he took to be a flicker of amusement. Then again, he had always understood that the eyes of small babies did not focus properly, but this one – and no doubt it was entirely his imagination – seemed to look him over rather coolly. This made him uneasy. He feared, in his secret heart, that one day in company the baby would sit up and speak; that it would engage his eyes, appraise him and say, “You prick.”

The Haunting of Hill House

The only person in the world she genuinely hated, now that her mother was dead, was her sister. She disliked her brother-in-law and her five-year-old niece, and she had no friends.

The Little Stranger

I wasn’t a spiteful or destructive boy. It was simply that, in admiring the house, I wanted to possess a piece of it…

Niagara Falls All Over Again

Though both men are rotten marchers, they make it to the altar, where a minister opens a Bible in a chiding way; because there’s no good reason to be late to your own wedding, even if the bride is a pony. Which she is, a chubby, sway-backed roan pony whose hindquarters keep shifting – she’s not thrilled about the match either.


She sucked in her breath and waited; then, when they were close to the dock she saw that what she had thought was true: the house was a classic Fowler’s octagon.

“Wow,” she said.

“Pretty fine, isn’t it?”

“It’s not mentioned in the textbooks. There’s an index of houses like that.”

“Oh, we’re pretty cagey, up here…”

Blackout / All Clear

For a moment after the siren started its up-and-down warble, Polly simply stood there with the stockings box still in her hand, her heart pounding. Then Doreen said, “Oh, no, not a raid! I thought for certain we’d get through today without one.

We did, Polly thought. There must be some mistake.

American Wife

Have I made terrible mistakes?


Eggsnake is more longer than all around Room, we’ve been making him since I was three, he lives in Under Bed all coiled up keeping us safe.

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