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Best fiction 2006

November 28, 2006

General fiction

Leaving Home, by Anita Brookner (Random House, $23.95)

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Anita Brookner's psychological acuity and elegant prose style are fully on display in her 23rd novel, the story of a repressed young woman uneasy in her own life. (Reviewed 1/10/06)

The Accidental, by Ali Smith (Pantheon, $22.95)

A mysterious houseguest wreaks havoc on the lives of an unsuspecting family with problems of its own. (1/10/06)

Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes (Knopf, $24.95)

British master Julian Barnes bases his novel on the facts surrounding the life of Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle and Doyle's real-life involvement with a criminal case. (1/17/06)

The Inheritance of Loss, by Kiran Desai (Atlantic Monthly Press, $24)

Questions of identity weave throughout this rich, tragicomic novel (winner of the 2006 Man Booker prize) set in both India and New York. (1/24/06)

Gate of the Sun, by Elias Khoury (Archipelago Books, $26)

One Palestinian recites a string of interlocking tales to another in this tragic, yet deeply humane examination of the plight of the Palestinians. (2/21/06)

The Last of Her Kind, by Sigrid Nunez (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25)

A pair of 1960s college roommates is reunited decades later when one goes to jail and the other is determined to find out why. (2/21/06)

Black Swan, Green Swan, by David Mitchell (Random House, $23.95)

This brilliant coming-of-age tale follows a year (1982) of adolescent turmoil in the life of a poetic British teen struggling with a speech impediment. (4/21/06)

Suite Française, by Irène Némirovsky (Knopf, $25)

Two recently discovered novellas deliver a sharp, ironic view of the Nazi occupation of France, written as it was taking place. (4/25/06)

Digging to America, by Anne Tyler (Knopf, $24.95)

Anne Tyler cleverly critiques American culture by contrasting the lives of two US families both adopting Korean children. (5/9/06)

Theft,by Peter Carey (Knopf, $24)

Two brothers spin a tale of art, intrigue, and uneasy love in the latest novel by Man Booker-prize winner Peter Carey. (5/23/06)

Talk Talk, by T.C. Boyle (Viking, $25.95)

When a con artist lifts an identity in this novel by PEN Faulkner award- winner T. C. Boyle, the thief gets more than he bargained for as his deaf victim gives him chase. (7/11/06)

Cellophane, by Marie Arana (Dial Press, $24)

In this fanciful debut novel, the family of a Peruvian cellophanemaker learns the hard way that saying whatever pops into your head isn't necessarily the same thing as truth. (7/18/06)

The Lambs of London, by Peter Ackroyd (Nan Talese, $23)

The real lives of Charles and Mary Lamb are the inspiration for this story of a literary family undone by the supposed unearthing of a new work by Shakespeare. (8/1/06)

Special Topics in Calamity Physics, by Marisha Pessl (Viking, $25.95)