2021 has been a banner year for great fiction. Between the reading I do for MPR News and the reading I do just for fun, I’ve read between 75 and 85 novels this year. And I wish I could’ve crammed in more. I keep thinking about writer Lauren Groff confiding at Talking Volumes that she reads 300 books a year!
But if your reading life allows for a novel a month, then I’m here with three from 2021 that I don’t want you to miss.
The first is Richard Powers’ “Bewilderment.” Powers is a marvel. He’s a Pulitzer Prize winner and ought to be shortlisted for a Nobel. He is animated by some of the deepest scientific questions of our age and gifted with the capability of creating human stories around the answers to those questions. “Bewilderment “ tackles environmental destruction and the intricacy of brain chemistry and memory. You can find my interview with Powers, in which we talked about our mutual admiration for Robin Wall Kimmerer.
My second must-not-miss novel for 2021 is “The Sentence” by Louise Erdrich. I’ll just say this: What’s not to love? A bookstore, a ghost and Louise Erdrich. And don’t miss my interview with Louise on my podcast.
And finally, I don’t want you to miss Viet Thanh Nguyen’s “The Committed.” In fact, I don’t want you to miss anything that Viet Thanh Nguyen writes. He’s fantastic. Now, I’m going to level with you. This is a big burly book with political crosscurrents and complex themes. Take it in small bites over a few weeks.
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