Top Ten Literary Fiction Books of 2013

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It's been a good year for literary fiction and we've chosen our favourites. We've not included books which have appeared on major prize long lists and shortlists as we suspect that you already know about them. If you don't then you might like to have a look at this year's Man Booker Prize.

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson


One of those rare times when a book with a strong literary style is also highly readable. Spanning 1910 to 1967 the book explores the small changes that potentially change the outcomes for the Todd family and particularly Ursula Todd who both dies before she is born and who goes on to live several remarkable outcomes. Innovative, profound but compulsively readable, this is a quite remarkable book. Full review...

The Year of Miracle and Grief by Leonid Borodin


A twelve-year-old newcomer to the shores of Lake Baikal explores the notorious Dead Man's Crag and there discovers the secret of the mountain that looks like a ruined castle. A magical tale of hurt and love laced with the remote wonder of Siberia. Full review...

Call of the Undertow by Linda Cracknell


Tragedy drives cartographer Maggie Thame to seek solace in the remotest place in Britain, the far northern coasts of Scotland. There an unexpected friendship with an odd local child changes both of their lives. Beautiful, haunting and highly recommended. Full review...

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler


Narrated by Fowler's imagined voice of Zelda Fitzgerald, this is both a balanced view of events and a touching and ultimately tragic love story of Zelda and her husband, F Scott Fitzgerald. Like much of their life, reality played like an F Scott Fitzgerald novel - full of glamour, alcohol and bad behaviour. Full review...

I Am Forbidden by Anouk Markovits


A novel tracing a Hassidic Jewish family across Europe between 1939 and 2012, demanding to be read. The New Yorker says Stunning while we're just stunned. Full review...

The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis


A rich, beautiful, heart-wrenching debut novel spanning 60 years and a family of individuals struggling against odds and upbringing. It blew us away and left us wishing that Hattie had even more children so we could stay with them longer. Full review...

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell


Exquisite writing, perfect evocation of place, characters you know and a great story. What more can you ask? Highly recommended. Full review...

The Forrests by Emily Perkins


A beautiful, subtle but addictive study of a family through the lifetime of one of its members. A novel that will surreptitiously grab you till it's over and even then you may spend a while afterwards in its thrall. Full review...

The Other Typist by Suzanne Rindell


A stunning historical novel. Outstanding, a definite recommendation for all, particularly those with an interest in the Jazz Age. Full review...

Sketcher by Roland Watson-Grant


A wonderful book based around the Louisiana swamps for all those who never thought they'd read a wonderful book based around the Louisiana swamps. Touching, funny, simply told and yet deceptively deep, although we may not want them living next door, the Beaumonts are a family from whom we'd like to hear more. Full review...


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