The Booker Prizes Awardees & Honorees

For over fifty years, The Booker Prize has honored excellence in English literature published in the United Kingdom or Ireland, bringing international acclaim to its winners. Expanding the Booker's scope in 2005, the International Booker Prize has been awarded annually to an outstanding work of UK or Ireland-published translated literature. This collection of study guides highlights fiction titles for adults, both past award winners and finalists.

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Femininity, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Family, Society: Immigration, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Safety & DangerTags Historical Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Gender / Feminism

Elif Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World was published in 2019. Shafak is an award-winning British Turkish novelist who advocates for women’s and LGBTQIA+ rights through her fiction. Shafak’s 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World examines the life of a sex worker who was murdered in Istanbul, Turkey, exploring key moments in her life while her friends desperately try to arrange her funeral. The novel investigates topics like violence against... Read 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Society: War, Relationships: MarriageTags Historical Fiction, British Literature, WWI / World War I

A Month in the Country is a fiction novel published in 1980 by the British author J.L. Carr, a retired schoolteacher and publisher. The novel tells the deceptively spare tale of Thomas Birkin, a veteran of World War One who, having just returned from overseas, accepts summer employment to restore a mural. Dating back nearly five centuries, the mural adorns the wall of an old country church in northern England. During the weeks he painstakingly... Read A Month in the Country Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Book, NonfictionThemes Natural World: Animals, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: ClimateTags Science / Nature, Psychology

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Historical Fiction, Military / War, Politics / Government, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Grief / Death, History: Middle Eastern, Social Justice

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Society: War, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Historical Fiction, Military / War, WWI / World War I, French Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: MothersTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Historical Fiction

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Climate Change, Grief / Death, Mental Illness, Science / Nature, American Literature

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: Immigration, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Relationships: FamilyTags Romance, Historical Fiction, Irish Literature, American Literature

Brooklyn is a 2009 historical fiction novel written by Colm Tóibín. The book follows Eilis Lacey as she emigrates from Ireland to Brooklyn in the 1950s, finding a job in a department store and falling in love with a young Italian man named Tony. Despite her new life in Brooklyn, Eilis makes a return to Enniscorthy, the same town Colm Tóibín was born and raised in, when her older sister Rose dies. While there, she... Read Brooklyn Summary


Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: The Past, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: Art, Life/Time: AgingTags Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Psychological Fiction, Gender / Feminism

Cat’s Eye is a 1988 coming-of-age novel by Canadian author Margaret Atwood that centers on Elaine Risley, a successful painter who is returning to Toronto for a retrospective show of her work. Throughout the novel, she has vivid recollections of her childhood and adolescence in the city during the postwar years—particularly of her friendship with Cordelia, who persecuted her in a way that had an indelible impact on her life. The novel was a finalist... Read Cat's Eye Summary


Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction, History: Middle Eastern

Celestial Bodies is a novel by Omani author Jokha Alharthi, translated into English by Marilyn Booth. Charting the lives of various generations of a family in the fictional town of al-Awafi, it depicts an evolving Omani society that is still coming to grips with the post-colonial world and the abolition of slavery. It won the 2019 Man Booker International Prize.Plot SummaryThe plot for Celestial Bodies skips around in time, alternating between Abdallah’s reminiscences on a... Read Celestial Bodies Summary


Publication year 1996Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Sexuality, Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Society: ColonialismTags Colonialism / Postcolonialism, LGBTQ, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Cereus Blooms at Night (1996) is the first novel-length work of fiction written by Shani Mootoo, a Canadian author who was born in Ireland and grew up on the island nation of Trinidad. The novel was originally published in Canada and received critical acclaim there and internationally. It was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and the Giller Prize and was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Mootoo is also a visual artist... Read Cereus Blooms At Night Summary


Publication year 1980Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Identity: Gender, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Siblings, Society: ColonialismTags Historical Fiction, Indian Literature, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Relationships

Clear Light of Day (1980) is Anita Desai’s sixth and—according to the author—most autobiographical novel. This novel was the first of three of Desai’s books to be nominated for the prestigious Booker Prize. Like other books in her corpus, such as Cry, the Peacock (1963) and Where Shall We Go This Summer? (1975), it deals with gender struggles in a modernizing India. Set against the backdrop of Indian Independence and Partition, it explores the lives... Read Clear Light of Day Summary


Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Society: Colonialism, Society: Class, Life/Time: The Future, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Social Justice, Anthropology, Class, Depression / Suicide, Finance / Money / Wealth, Politics / Government, Love / Sexuality, Race / Racism, Sociology, Religion / Spirituality

Cloud Atlas is a 2004 novel by British author David Mitchell. The sprawling narrative is composed of a series of nested stories, spanning centuries into the past and the future. In addition to winning numerous literary and science fiction awards, the novel was adapted into a 2012 film of the same name. This guide uses the 2014 Sceptre edition of Cloud Atlas.Content Warning: The novel and this guide depict slavery and discuss racism, death by... Read Cloud Atlas Summary


Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Identity: Gender, Identity: Sexuality, Relationships: FamilyTags Western, Historical Fiction, Military / War, LGBTQ, American Civil War, Race / Racism

Days Without End (2016) is a novel by Irish author Sebastian Barry. Days Without End is Barry’s ninth novel and received considerable critical acclaim. The novel won the 2017 Walter Scott Prize, was listed at number 74 on The Guardian’s list of the 100 best books of the 21st century (2019 edition), and made BBC News’s 2019 list of the 100 most influential novels. The novel also won the 2016 Costa Book Award, making Barry... Read Days Without End Summary


Publication year 2001Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Relationships: Family, Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Life/Time: Midlife, Values/Ideas: MusicTags Romance, Drama / Tragedy

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Emotions/Behavior: RevengeTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Fairy Tale / Folklore, Satire

Olga Tokarczuk is among Poland’s most famous and critically acclaimed contemporary authors. She has received multiple national and international literary awards, including the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her most well-known novels and their translation dates into English are House of Day, House of Night (2003), Primeval and Other Times (2010), Flights (2018), and The Books of Jacob (2021).Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead was published in Poland in 2009 but didn’t... Read Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of AgeTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh was published in 2015 and won the PEN/Hemingway award for debut fiction. The novel is set in 1964. It follows the story of Eileen, a woman planning to escape her life in the New England town of X-ville. Eileen is characterized by self-loathing, depression, and body dysmorphia, all of which developed due to her abusive and neglectful childhood. Before she leaves X-ville forever, Eileen must come to terms with her own... Read Eileen Summary


Publication year 1984Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Coming of Age, Society: War, Society: ColonialismTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Military / War, WWII / World War II

Empire of the Sun is a 1984 novel written by British author J.G. Ballard. In it, Jim, the 11-year-old son of a wealthy British family, is living in the International Settlement in Shanghai, China on the eve of Pearl Harbor, 1941. When Japanese forces attack the Settlement, Jim is separated from his parents. He survives for several weeks by scavenging food from abandoned houses, before being arrested by the Japanese. He is then taken to... Read Empire of the Sun Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Psychological Fiction, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Magical Realism, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2002Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Identity: SexualityTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, LGBTQ, Gothic Literature, Victorian Period, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Love / Sexuality

A thrilling tale of thievery, betrayal, and mistaken identity, Fingersmith, by Welsh author Sarah Waters, tells the story of two women from two very different stations of life whose fates are inextricably linked. Set in the 1860s, Fingersmith is narrated alternately by Sue Smith (also known as Sue Trinder) and Maud Lilly. One is a young “fingersmith”—slang for a thief—lovingly protected from the worst of her world by Mrs. Sucksby; the other is an aristocratic... Read Fingersmith Summary


Publication year 2007Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Immigration, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Travel Literature

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Gender, Identity: Sexuality, Values/Ideas: ArtTags Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Gender / Feminism, Arts / Culture

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Relationships: FriendshipTags Japanese Literature, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, Asian Literature, Psychological Fiction

Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Literature, Society: Class, Identity: DisabilityTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, British Literature

Publication year 2022Genre Short Story Collection, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Society: Immigration, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Identity: RaceTags Historical Fiction, Race / Racism, African American Literature

Publication year 2004Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Fame, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Society: ClassTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Magical Realism

Publication year 2017Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Society: War, Relationships: Fathers, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, Grief / Death, American Civil War, Religion / Spirituality, History: U.S., Race / Racism, American Literature

The novel Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, published by Random House in 2017, offers a portrait of an American legend in mourning, surrounded by a poignant but funny cast of 166 characters. It is Saunders’s debut novel, though he has been a notable author of short story collections for decades. The novel won the prestigious Man Booker Prize and was a New York Times best seller.Set in 1862, Lincoln in the Bardo is... Read Lincoln in the Bardo Summary


Publication year 1969Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Society: War, Natural World: Place, Values/Ideas: Music, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Historical Fiction, Action / Adventure, Military / War

Master and Commander is a historical novel by the English writer Patrick O’Brian. It was first published in 1969, although it is set in 1800. O’Brian’s work is meticulously researched, drawing upon documents from the time period such as naval logs, official letters, and memories of sailors who fought in the Napoleonic Wars. Many of the naval battles described in the novel are based on real events, particularly Lord Thomas Cochrane’s victory over the superior... Read Master and Commander Summary


Publication year 2018Genre Novel, FictionTags Realistic Fiction

Milkman is author Anna Burns’ third novel, as well as the winner of the 2018 Man Booker Prize in Fiction (widely regarded as one of the most prestigious awards in literature). Burns was the first Northern Irish writer ever to receive the award, and Milkman’s subject matter is inseparable from its author’s nationality. Like Burns herself, the novel’s protagonist grows up in 1970s Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles: a 30-year political, ethnic... Read Milkman Summary


Publication year 1987Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Historical Fiction, WWII / World War II, British Literature

Penelope Lively’s 1987 novel Moon Tiger is a work of historical fiction. Set primarily in England and Egypt during the 20th century, the novel is a frame story that joins protagonist Claudia Hampton on her deathbed as she reflects on the relationships, memories, and historical forces that shaped her life. The author was awarded the 1987 Booker Prize for the novel. Moon Tiger explores the subjective nature of memory, the difference between lived and linear... Read Moon Tiger Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: FateTags British Literature, Japanese Literature, Asian Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Never Let Me Go is a 2005 novel by Kazuo Ishiguro set in an alternative dystopian version of Great Britain in the 1990s in which cloning technology allows for the mass proliferation of organ donation. Medical problems like cancer are cured because organs are harvested from clones through a state-sanctioned program. The cloned “donors” have their organs taken one at a time until they die. The novel is narrated by Kathy, a clone who works... Read Never Let Me Go Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Identity: Race, Society: Class, Relationships: FriendshipTags Race / Racism, Poverty, LGBTQ, Black Lives Matter, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Relationships: Family, Life/Time: Mortality & DeathTags Humor, Fantasy, Technology

Publication year 2018Genre Novel, Fiction

Normal People is a novel by Sally Rooney, published by Faber & Faber in 2018. Rooney is also the author of the novel Conversations With Friends, and the winner of the 2017 Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award. Normal People is set in the author’s native Ireland. The two main characters are Connell Waldron, a boy from a lower-middle-class background, and Marianne Sheridan, who comes from a wealthy family. As disparate as their socioeconomic... Read Normal People Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Mental Health, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Mystery / Crime Fiction, Irish Literature, Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Relationships: Family, Relationships: Marriage, Life/Time: Aging, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Relationships: Mothers, Society: Class, Society: Community, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Siblings, Life/Time: Midlife, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Values/Ideas: Art, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Equality, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Identity: Masculinity, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Society: Education, Identity: Femininity, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Identity: Gender, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags British Literature, Race / Racism

On Beauty by the celebrated British author Zadie Smith was published in 2005. On Beauty was shortlisted for the prestigious Man Booker Prize and won the Orange Prize for Fiction. Smith is known for writing novels and essays that analyze the intersections of identity in the contemporary world with nuance, clarity, and empathy. She is also known to be influenced by the classic English author E.M. Forster. On Beauty is loosely based on Forster’s masterpiece... Read On Beauty Summary


Publication year 1994Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Self DiscoveryTags Historical Fiction, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman, African Literature

Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Relationships: Mothers, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Irish Literature, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Siblings, Relationships: Family, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Values/Ideas: Order & ChaosTags Realistic Fiction, Relationships

Publication year 2010Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Mothers, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Relationships: Grandparents, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Conflict, Emotions/Behavior: Nostalgia, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Joy, Values/Ideas: Literature, Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Values/Ideas: Fame, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Trust & Doubt, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Animals, Natural World: Environment, Natural World: Flora/plants, Natural World: Food, Natural World: PlaceTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, Psychological Fiction, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, Crime / Legal

IntroductionEmma Donoghue’s Room is a 2010 novel about a boy named Jack who lives in a single room with his mother, Ma. Room is a crime thriller novel that explores themes of trauma, innocence, and adaptability through the eyes of five-year-old narrator, Jack. Room has received many awards, including the ALA Alex Award, the Indies Choice Book Award for Fiction, and The New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year award. Room was... Read Room Summary


Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Fear, Emotions/Behavior: Apathy, Relationships: Family, Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Values/Ideas: Order & Chaos, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, British Literature, War On Terrorism / Iraq War

Saturday is a novel by Ian McEwan, first published in 2005 by Jonathan Cape. Ian McEwan is an acclaimed British author who has been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize numerous times, winning the award for Amsterdam in 1998. In Saturday, McEwan delves into the inner life of a single individual, Henry Perowne, a successful neurosurgeon living in London. The novel takes place over the course of a single day, February 15, 2003, against the... Read Saturday Summary


Publication year 1982Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Emotions/Behavior: Determination / Perseverance, Emotions/Behavior: courage, Emotions/Behavior: Hate & Anger, Identity: Race, Society: WarTags Historical Fiction, Holocaust, WWII / World War II, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Race / Racism, History: World, Immigration / Refugee, Incarceration, Military / War, Politics / Government, Social Justice, Sociology, Trauma / Abuse / Violence

Schindler’s List (originally titled Schindler’s Ark) is a 1982 historical novel by Australian author Thomas Keneally. It tells the story of Oskar Schindler, a member of the Nazi party who used his position as a German industrialist to save more than 1,200 people’s lives during the war. In protecting as many people as he could from the genocidal Nazi regime, Schindler risked being sent to a concentration camp himself. Keneally wrote the novel with the... Read Schindler's List Summary


Publication year 1983Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Society: Politics & Government, Society: NationTags Magical Realism, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Indian Literature

Written by Salman Rushdie in 1983, Shame takes place in a fictionalized version of the city of Quetta in Pakistan. Although several characters are based on historic Pakistani politicians, the novel incorporates elements of magical realism to create a richly nuanced fable whose philosophical message transcends the boundaries of the ordinary. The novel explores themes of Shame Versus Shamelessness, the partition of Pakistan through Partition and Duality, and The Systemic Misogyny of Patriarchal Societies. Shame... Read Shame Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novella, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Good & EvilTags Historical Fiction, Irish Literature, Holidays & Occasions

Publication year 2016Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Femininity, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Childhood & Youth, Relationships: Mothers, Self Discovery, Society: Colonialism, Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & BetrayalTags Music, Realistic Fiction, British Literature, Arts / Culture, Class, Finance / Money / Wealth, Gender / Feminism, History: African , History: European, Love / Sexuality, Race / Racism, Social Justice

Swing Time (2016) is renowned author Zadie Smith’s fifth novel. Inspired by classic movie musicals and Smith’s childhood passion for musical theater, Swing Time is a story about women, how forms of privilege warp our worldviews, and the ways in which history informs our present. The novel is divided into seven parts, each narrated by the same unnamed protagonist sometimes as a child and sometimes as an adult.One of the most respected literary voices of... Read Swing Time Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Loneliness, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Emotions/Behavior: Shame & Pride, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Life/Time: Midlife, Natural World: Environment, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Horror / Thriller / Suspense Fiction, Drama / Tragedy, Irish Literature

Publication year 2000Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Fate

Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin is actually three narratives in one. In the novel's frame narrative, we meet Iris Chase Griffen, one of the few surviving members of the once-wealthy Chase family of Port Ticonderoga, Canada. As the book opens, she is preparing to present a creative writing award endowed in memory of her deceased sister, Laura—the ostensible author of the novel-within-a-novel (also named The Blind Assassin). Now close to death herself, Iris decides to... Read The Blind Assassin Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Good & Evil, Emotions/Behavior: Hope, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Gender, Identity: Indigenous, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Life/Time: The Future, Natural World: Appearance & Reality, Natural World: Climate, Society: Class, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Fantasy, Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

The Bone Clocks (2014) is a work of literary fantasy and the sixth novel by English author David Mitchell. It was longlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize, and also received the 2015 World Fantasy Award.Spanning nearly 60 years and featuring five different narrators, The Bone Clocks follows Holly Sykes, a young woman from Kent, England, who becomes embroiled in a secret war between two groups of immortal beings called the Horologists and the Anchorites... Read The Bone Clocks Summary


Publication year 1984Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Love, Identity: Gender, Society: ColonialismTags Magical Realism, Colonialism / Postcolonialism

The Bone People (1984) by Keri Hulme was the first New Zealand novel to receive the Booker Prize. It also earned a number of other awards, including the 1984 New Zealand Book Award and the Pegasus Award for Maori Literature. A native of Christchurch, Hulme grew up on the South Island. She comes from a large, diverse, multicultural family of English, Scottish, and Maori descent. After finishing high school, the writer began working as a... Read The Bone People Summary


Publication year 2014Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Values/Ideas: Truth & Lies, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Emotions/Behavior: ConflictTags Historical Fiction, Auto/Biographical Fiction, Religion / Spirituality

Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Art, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Self Discovery, Values/Ideas: Beauty, Natural World: Appearance & RealityTags Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Fantasy

The Enchantress of Florence is a 2008 magical-realist novel by Salman Rushdie. The story incorporates many fantastical, folkloric elements as it portrays life in the Mughal Empire and Renaissance Florence in the 16th century. In the novel, a mysterious European man arrives in the Mughal court with a story which can only be told to the emperor. Rushdie described the novel as his most heavily researched work and The Enchantress of Florence was praised by... Read The Enchantress Of Florence Summary


Publication year 1992Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: War, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Life/Time: The Past, Identity: Race, Society: Community, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Historical Fiction, Romance, WWII / World War II

The English Patient (1992) is a historical romance novel by Canadian writer Michael Ondaatje. The novel explores the relationships between four dissimilar people living in an abandoned Italian monastery at the end of World War II. The eponymous English patient—actually a Hungarian count burned beyond recognition—tells Canadian nurse Hana the story of his forbidden romance with British amateur cartographer Katharine Clifton as their small team attempted, several years earlier, to map North African deserts. Using... Read The English Patient Summary


Publication year 1991Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Relationships: Fathers, Relationships: Mothers, Life/Time: Coming of Age, Values/Ideas: Power & GreedTags Magical Realism, Fantasy, African Literature, Poverty, Colonialism / Postcolonialism, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Written in a style that evokes the oral tradition of storytelling, The Famished Road, by Nigerian writer Ben Okri, follows the peripatetic adventures of Azaro, a young boy who is finding his way amid the poverty and political passions of a newly independent nation. Winner of the prestigious Booker Prize in 1991, the novel presents an allegorical tale of both the pitfalls and the promise latent in the post-colonial moment. Nigeria was one of the... Read The Famished Road Summary


Publication year 2023Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Identity: Race, Identity: Gender, Values/Ideas: EqualityTags Historical Fiction, Asian Literature, LGBTQ

Publication year 2005Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Hate & AngerTags Asian Literature, Indian Literature

The Inheritance of Loss, a 2006 book by Kiran Desai, explores immigration, identity, and relationships on both the interpersonal and international scale. Spanning India, England, and the United States, the novel details the conflict between traditional Indian ways of life and the shiny opulence of Western nations. The book won several awards, including the Man Booker Prize in 2006 and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award in 2007. Desai wrote the book in the... Read The Inheritance of Loss Summary


Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Identity: Gender, Society: Class, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

The Luminaries (2013) by Eleanor Catton is historical fiction written in the style of a 19th-century serial novel. It is set during the gold rush on the South Island of New Zealand in the 1860s. A whodunit told using two overlapping timelines and extensive flashbacks, it deploys motifs of astrology to paint a detailed portrait of class, gender, and conflict on the colonial frontier. The novel won the Man Booker Prize in 2013; at the... Read The Luminaries Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Historical Fiction, British Literature, Elizabethan Era, History: European

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Values/Ideas: FateTags Historical Fiction

Richard Flanagan’s 2014 novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North won the Man Booker Prize for fiction. It is an examination of the consequences of war, regret, loneliness, adultery, and love. The book unfolds through brief chapters that span five parts and multiple decades. The experiences of the men in the WWII Japanese POW camp mirror those of Richard Flanagan’s father, who was himself a prisoner of war. Although the novel has many characters—even... Read The Narrow Road to the Deep North Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Race, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Society: ColonialismTags Drama / Tragedy, Historical Fiction, History: African , Social Justice, Race / Racism, African Literature

Publication year 1989Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Society: Class, Self Discovery, Life/Time: Aging, Life/Time: The Past, Values/Ideas: Religion & Spirituality, Emotions/Behavior: GriefTags Historical Fiction, British Literature

The Remains of the Day is a novel by British writer Kazuo Ishiguro. Released in 1989, the novel tells the story of Stevens, who once worked as a butler at a stately home in England. In his old age, he returns to the house and reminisces about his experiences in the 1920-1930s. Most of the novel is told in flashback. The novel was adapted into a critically-acclaimed film of the same name, released in 1993.Plot... Read The Remains of the Day Summary


Publication year 1988Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Religion & SpiritualityTags Magical Realism, Fantasy

The Satanic Verses is a 1988 magical realism novel by Salman Rushdie. The novel weaves together different narratives spread across hundreds of years, framed by the story of two competing Indian Muslim actors. The publication of The Satanic Verses caused controversy, particularly due to the novel's supposedly blasphemous depiction of the prophet Muhammad. The book was burned, riots resulted in death, and a religious edict was issued against Rushdie in 1989 by the Ayatollah Ruhollah... Read The Satanic Verses Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Values/Ideas: Justice & Injustice, Identity: RaceTags Satire, Humor, Race / Racism, African American Literature

Paul Beatty is the author of the 2015 novel The Sellout—a satire that makes fun of contemporary norms around race and identity. In the novel, Beatty applies his no-holds-barred idea of comedy to segregation, slavery, police brutality, and countless tragic and fraught issues that people typically treat with extreme seriousness and sensitivity. Through the main character, Me, the book provides an ironic and unexpected take on themes like Racial and Personal Identity and Capitalism’s Power... Read The Sellout Summary


Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Relationships: Friendship, Emotions/Behavior: RegretTags Psychological Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction, British Literature, Post Modernism, Relationships

The Sense of an Ending (2011) is a novel by English author Julian Barnes. Composed of two chapters, the book follows the life of Tony Webster, a retired man looking back on his youth and reflecting on his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Veronica Ford, and an enigmatic friend, Adrian Finn. The title alludes to the meaning and closure Tony seeks as he nears the end of his life. The novel was met with critical acclaim... Read The Sense of an Ending Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: War, Emotions/Behavior: HopeTags Satire, Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Magical Realism, LGBTQ, Journalism

Publication year 2011Genre Novel, FictionThemes Identity: Masculinity, Life/Time: Mortality & Death, Society: CommunityTags Historical Fiction, Satire, Western, Allegory / Fable / Parable, Trauma / Abuse / Violence, History: U.S., Addiction / Substance Abuse, Gender / Feminism, American Literature, American Civil War

The Sisters Brothers is a 2011 novel by Canadian writer Patrick DeWitt. Set in 1851, it traces the journey of Charlie and Eli Sisters, two hired killers traveling from Oregon to San Francisco to find a man called Warm, who allegedly stole something from their boss, the Commodore. The darkly comic Western is in the picaresque genre, as the brothers’ episodic misadventures explore different communities populating the American West.The Sisters Brothers is divided into 64... Read The Sisters Brothers Summary


Publication year 2015Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Friendship, Identity: Femininity, Values/Ideas: LiteratureTags Historical Fiction, Italian Literature, Gender / Feminism

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante is the fourth and final book in the Neapolitan Novel quartet, which documents the lives and friendship of Elena Greco and Lila Cerullo. The book appeared in Italian in 2014 and was translated into English by Ann Goldstein in 2015. In 2016, it made the International Booker Prize Longlist. The quartet has achieved worldwide renown, causing the pseudonymous author to become a household name. In her... Read The Story of the Lost Child Summary


Publication year 2021Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Guilt, Emotions/Behavior: Memory, Identity: Masculinity, Identity: Race, Identity: Sexuality, Life/Time: The Past, Relationships: Marriage, Relationships: Daughters & Sons, Society: Community, Society: War, Values/Ideas: Safety & Danger, Natural World: Flora/plantsTags Historical Fiction, LGBTQ, Race / Racism, American Civil War, African American Literature, Grief / Death, History: U.S., Love / Sexuality, Post-War Era

Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction

The Testaments is Margaret Atwood’s 2019 sequel to her dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale. The Testaments chronicles resistance efforts against the ultra-religious authoritarian nation, Gilead, through the perspectives of two teenage half-sisters and the leader of Gilead’s women’s sphere.The Testaments begins 15 years after the conclusion of The Handmaid’s Tale, in which the Handmaid Offred escaped Gilead with her baby, Nicole. Gileadean society continues under the oppressive thumb of the ultra-religious Commanders and Aunts. In... Read The Testaments Summary


Publication year 2012Genre Novel, FictionThemes Emotions/Behavior: Grief, Emotions/Behavior: Forgiveness, Relationships: FamilyTags Allegory / Fable / Parable, Magical Realism, British Literature

The international bestseller The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry (2012) is the first novel by author Rachel Joyce and the first in a trilogy, followed by The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (2014) and Maureen Fry and the Angel of the North (2022). The novel was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Young also wrote the screenplay for the novel’s film adaptation, which stars Jim Broadbent as Harold... Read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Summary


Publication year 2019Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Community, Natural World: Climate, Natural World: EnvironmentTags Science-Fiction / Dystopian Fiction, Climate Change

John Lanchester’s The Wall (2019) is dystopian cli-fi (climate science fiction) novel set in a near-future in which severe weather events and rising sea levels destroyed all the shores in the world and created a refugee crisis in countries of the Global South. The United Kingdom’s response is the ethically-dubious decision to build a Wall and to kill or press into labor people who make it there. Defenders like the protagonist, Joseph Kavanagh, are tasked... Read The Wall Summary


Publication year 2008Genre Novel, FictionThemes Society: Globalization, Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Loyalty & Betrayal, Society: Politics & Government, Society: Class, Relationships: Family, Self DiscoveryTags Indian Literature, Poverty, Class, Coming of Age / Bildungsroman

Aravind Adiga’s The White Tiger was published in 2008. Adiga’s first novel, The White Tiger won the Man Booker Prize and was adapted into a movie in 2021. Born in Chennai, India, Adiga has lived in India and Australia, and attended Columbia University in New York and Oxford University in England. A coming-of-age story told through a first-person narrator and letters addressed to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, The White Tiger examines the conflict between tradition... Read The White Tiger Summary


Publication year 2022Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Power & Greed, Values/Ideas: Truth & LiesTags Historical Fiction, Mystery / Crime Fiction

Publication year 2013Genre Novel, FictionThemes Relationships: Family, Emotions/Behavior: Love, Natural World: Animals, Emotions/Behavior: MemoryTags Psychology, Incarceration, Animals, Relationships, Realistic Fiction

We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves is Karen Joy Fowler’s seventh novel. The book was first published in 2013. The following year, it won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Fowler said that the book takes inspiration from a real 1930s experiment. In an interview with Carmen Maria Machado published in The American Reader, Fowler states that she believes that using animals for research purposes is wrong, and... Read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Summary


Publication year 2020Genre Novel, FictionThemes Values/Ideas: Science & Technology, Natural World: Space & The Universe, Natural World: Environment, Life/Time: The FutureTags Historical Fiction, Science / Nature, History: World, Philosophy

Publication year 2009Genre Novel, FictionTags Historical Fiction

Hillary Mantel’s Wolf Hall is the first in a trilogy of historical novels depicting life in the court of King Henry VIII. The story takes place in England during the tumultuous 1520s, and is told from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, one of the king’s most trusted advisors. Mantel conducted extensive research to ensure historical authenticity and continuity, providing a rich account of the events leading up to the beginning of the English Reformation. Wolf... Read Wolf Hall Summary