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Best novels of 2008

The Monitor’s annual gift guide to the best fiction books of 2008.

December 2, 2008

For a slideshow of the Monitor's fiction book jackets from 2008, click here.

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A Golden Age
By Tahmima Anam (HarperCollins, 288 pp., $24.95)
Bangladeshi author Tahmima Anam’s moving debut novel tells the story of a widowed mother’s fight to keep her son and daughter safe during Bangladesh’s war for independence. This beautiful work celebrates Anam’s love for her homeland. (1/10/08)

The Konkans
By Tony D’Souza (Harcourt, 320 pp., $25)
Blond, ponytailed Peace Corp worker Denise marries an Indian villager because she has fallen in love with his country. They eventually return to the US, creating identity problems for themselves and their children in this resonant series of interconnected stories set in India and Chicago in the 1960s and ’70s. (2/19/08)

The Blue Star
By Tony Earley (Little, Brown & Co, 304 pp., $23.99)
This sequel to “Jim the Boy” continues the story of Jim Glass, now a teenager, who is being lovingly raised by his widowed mother and a trio of uncles in Aliceville, N.C., on the eve of World War II. This novel is a rarity: a good story, simply told, without fuss or flourish. (3/11/08)

All Shall Be Well; And All Shall Be Well; And All Manner of Things Shall Be Well
By Tod Wodicka (Pantheon, 266 pp., $21.95)
Bert Hecker is a 60-something medieval reenactor who wanders around in robe and sandals and refuses to consume coffee, French fries, or chocolate because they’re “OOP” – out of period. This darkly comic yet tender debut novel chronicles Bert’s struggles after losing his wife as he works to reconnect with his children. (3/18/08)

So Brave, Young, and Handsome
By Leif Enger (Atlantic Monthly Press, 285 pp., $24)
An aging outlaw and a stalled author hit the road together on an unlikely quest in this charming, deft tale set in the Western US in the early 1900s. (4/30/08)

The Plague of Doves
By Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, 311 pp., $25.95)
Past and present, innocence and guilt, overlap in the latest novel from National Book Circle Critic Award-winner Louise Erdrich. Set in the fictional town of Pluto, N.D., this lyric and ultimately redemptive work examines the way a horrific act of violence shapes lives for at least three generations. (5/6/08)


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