Thursday, January 31, 2008

overdue: books in 2007

The best read of the year was, for me, the excellent ‘In The Country of Men’ by Hisham Matar, a brilliant fictional insight into the world of Gaddafi’s Libya; it was tender, direct and raw. Back in March I called it a "humane work of genius".

Also impressive this year was ‘Exit Wounds’, a beautifully rendered and moving graphic novel by Rutu Modan (reviewed by me here), Indra Sinha’s massively lively ‘Animal’s People’, and ‘The Lay of The Land’, an elegiac Richard Ford novel.

I loved dipping in to Nicola Barker’s huge ‘Darklands’ (but didn’t finish it) and Peter Ackroyd’s even-huger ‘Thames: Sacred River’.

I read a bunch of books on the Middle East and Islam in 2007, and the best were Ed Husain’s excellent ‘The Islamist’ and ‘Desperately Seeking Paradise’ by the brilliant Zia Sardar.

Of the other Booker novels, Anne Enright’s ‘The Gathering’ was good, as was Lloyd Jones’s ‘Mister Pip’. ‘On Chesil Beach’, a slight, clunky and much-praised novel by Ian McEwan, wasn’t.

Worst read of the year was Chuck Palahniuk’s awful ‘Rant’.

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