The Plank

The Best Fiction of 2009

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The Thing Around Your Neck, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. A worthy follow-up to Adichie’s magnificent novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, this collection of short stories explores the lives of African women, at home and abroad. 

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi, by Geoff Dyer. The title sounds like a bad joke, but Dyer’s novel-in-two-parts, like his standout book of essays, demonstrates how deeply innovative a writer he is. 

Every Man Dies Alone, by Hans Fallada, translated by Michael Hoffman. This sweeping novel, originally published in 1947 and based on the Gestapo case file of a working-class Berliner’s modest efforts to resist the Nazis, forces a reconsideration of the idea of heroism.

Too Much Happiness, by Alice Munro. Though Munro has long been recognized as one of the greatest contemporary short story writers, her most recent work shows how willing she is to push the boundaries of the form. 

Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower. This unsparingly written first fiction collection offers a blunt, sinister view of men and their relationships.

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