My favorite fiction books of 2012

by on November 23, 2012 at 7:06 am in Books | Permalink

Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl.

Nell Freudenberger, The Newlyweds.

Alonso Cueto, The Blue Hour.

Peter Sis, The Conference of the Birds.  Mostly illustrated, beautiful in any case.

Alice Munro, Dear Life: Stories.  I can confidently put this on my list without having read it yet.

I was disappointed by most of the well-known novels to have come out this year, including the Tom Wolfe (unreadable, alas) and the McEwan (OK but not distinguished).  Mantel is somehow too dense for me and I do not enjoy it, the fault may be mine.

The Cueto was my favorite of the lot.

Pensans November 23, 2012 at 8:00 am

Wolfe was unreadable and unPC. How convenient for the MSM suckup.

Benny Lava November 23, 2012 at 9:03 am

I can confidently put this on my list without having read it yet.

This is such a Tyler statement it is almost self parody.

emmelin November 23, 2012 at 10:04 am

i agree mantel is virtually indecipherable. the convulated flood of pronouns masked as distinctive prose… it was just too problematic after awhile. good to hear an expert reader such as tyler felt the same.

karl November 23, 2012 at 10:59 am

Goodness gracious. I’m also not fond of density (except my own) but very much enjoyed the new Mantel. Every page or two one of those pronouns would throw me but the next line or two would bring it into context — is that really your idea of “indecipherable”?

I don’t want to seem snarky, but… No, no snark today.

Benoit November 23, 2012 at 11:40 am

First link is broken

Steve Sailer November 23, 2012 at 3:32 pm

Wolfe’s novel is certainly not an easy read, but it’s hilarious. I had to put the book down to laugh for 30 seconds or more a few dozen times. Readers not familiar with Wolfe’s immense career may not get the jokes, however.

cthulhu November 23, 2012 at 7:57 pm

I mostly enjoyed it, but it felt somewhat slapped together, and in particular the ending was much less complex and much less stinging than either “The Bonfire of the Vanities” (his second best novel IMHO) or “A Man In Full” (his best novel IMHO; if you haven’t read it, you are missing something – e.g., the prison scenes are among the most poignant and powerful stuff Wolfe – or any American novelist – has ever written). Some marvelous individual scenes, but it often feels rushed. Wolfe’s best work remains nonfiction (too numerous to list here), although his first two novels get close to that level at times.

Matt November 23, 2012 at 8:02 pm

Tyler aren’t you fluent in Spanish? Do you have any thoughts on when it’s best to read a book in its original language vs a English translation? I’m getting quite proficient and am curious to read the original La Hora Azul, although I started working my way through Bolano’s 2666 in Spanish and it hasn’t been as rewarding as I’d hoped so far.

Matt November 23, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I just found this old post of yours – http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2010/11/what-works-really-ought-to-be-read-in-their-original-language.html

It sounds like for you it mostly depends on the individual author – but is that assuming a 100% native speaker’s level of fluency? I would suspect one’s fluency to be the more important factor most of the time.

Matt November 24, 2012 at 1:08 pm

How do you find so much time to read? Do you have a defined reading schedule?

Saturos November 25, 2012 at 8:31 am
Sam November 26, 2012 at 1:04 pm

What about Yellow Birds?

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