What were some of the best reads of 2015?
1. A REUNION OF GHOSTS BY JUDITH CLAIRE MITCHELL
(FOURTH ESTATE/ PAPERBACK/ 388 PAGES/$28.89/ MAJOR BOOKSTORES)
A Reunion Of Ghosts is a woman’s history of the 20th century, a novel about scientific advancement, sexual inequality and the suicidal impulse of humanity to move from disaster to disaster in the name of progress. Yet it is more comedy than tragedy, despite being told from the point of view of three sisters ready to kill themselves on the last day of 1999.
2. THE WAY THINGS WERE BY AATISH TASEER
(PICADOR/ PAPERBACK/ 572 PAGES/$33.10/BOOKS KINOKUNIYA)
This read is a riveting family saga, a page-turning drama and a haunting primer on India today.
The rise and decline of a royal family mirrors the evolution of the subcontinent from a place associated with spirituality and the Kama Sutra to its current hard- headed, business-minded avatar.
3. A LITTLE LIFE BY HANYA YANAGIHARA
(DOUBLEDAY/ HARDCOVER/ 720 PAGES/$32.95/ MAJOR BOOKSTORES)
It is impossible to come away unscathed from this novel about four friends who go from their luminous 20s to life-scarred 50-somethings in New York.
A Little Life is a paean to the importance friendship plays in a society where many choose not to form traditional family structures, but rely on friends for emotional and literal support.
The novel is also a heart-breaking exploration of the consequences of child abuse. It was shortlisted for and tipped as the favourite to win the Man Booker Prize this year, but lost to Marlon James’ Jamaican thriller, A Brief History Of Seven Killings.
Akshita Nanda, The Straits Times, December 27, 2015