The best fiction books of 2018
Every year our staff vote for their favourite books, albums, films and TV shows of the past 12 months. Here are our top 10 fiction books of the year, voted for by Readings’ staff, and displayed in no particular order.
(You can find all our best picks for books, CDs & DVDs of 2018 here.)
Too Much Lip by Melissa Lucashenko
Kerry Salter is on the run so plans a quick pit stop back home in Bundjalung country – but things don’t quite go to plan… This novel is a humorous, bristling family saga, covering intergenerational trauma, land rights and the racism of white Australia. Melissa Lucashenko is a gem of an author who writes unforgettable characters.
– Ellen Cregan
Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2018. This beautifully written novel follows the complex relationship between Connell and Marianne. They meet at high school, but over the years their relationship changes in terms of power and sexual dynamics. Sally Rooney’s portrait of university life at Trinity College in Dublin is superb.
– Annie Condon
The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton
Tim Winton takes us on a journey through the Western Australian desert country with Jaxie Clackton, who flees the scene of the accidental death of his father, convinced that the police will blame him for the death. Utterly compelling, this is a novel you read for the prose as well as the story.
– Bernard Vella
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
On receiving an invitation to his ex-lover’s wedding, failed novelist Arthur Less flees the country and sets off on an ill-advised world tour. Both a witty ode to the travel memoir and a tenderhearted love story, Less is the kind of novel I’ll be recommending for years to come – charming, joyful and terribly funny.
– Bronte Coates
Cedar Valley by Holly Throsby
Holly Throsby’s writing emboldens you to tour a particular country town and meet its people. Before you know it, you too are swept up into the mystery of the man who died in the main street for everyone to see. The end result is a perfect cliffhanger, and all about love.
– Chris Gordon
Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata (translated by Ginny Tapley Takemori)
Keiko is happiest when working at the convenience store, but her family wants her to get a proper job, and a new co-worker disrupts her well-ordered existence. In prose as eerie and harshly revealing as the fluorescent-lit store, Sayaka Murata captures the essence of retail work: that strange transformation of the individual into the perfect worker.
Motherhood by Sheila Heti
The fraught concepts of motherhood and childlessness are uniquely interrogated in this groundbreaking book. Part fiction, part philosophical essay, the narrator is a writer wrestling with the decision whether to have children and the result is an astonishing work of art that will challenge the reader’s own prejudices.
– Kara Nicholson
Love is Blind by William Boyd
A piano tuner, a nineteenth-century evangelist, a mad Irish pianist, a Scottish impresario, a glamorous Russian opera singer, Edinburgh, Paris, Nice, Trieste, St Petersburg, the Andaman Islands, and duels. Put all these together and you have the perfect holiday read; an adventure story and a tragic love story. Unputdownable!
– Mark Rubbo
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh
Our narrator, a beautiful, educated, and privileged young woman living in New York pre-9/11, decides to take a break. Loading up on pharmaceutical narcotics, she takes a year off from life. This book is brutally honest, smart, and darkly funny. It offers scathing social critique and is a page-turner to boot.
– Michael McLoughlin
Boy Swallows Universe by Trent Dalton
While this debut from Trent Dalton borders on the downright bleak, the darkness of this coming-of-age novel, set in 1980s Brisbane, is offset by fleeting moments of tenderness and magic realism. This is an addictive read, one for fans of Christos Tsiolkas or Craig Silvey.
– Nico Callaghan