The best books I have read this year are by three very different but similarly impressive female authors. Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing completely took my breath away, both as an exposé of the atrocities committed in the name of Chairman Mao’s Cultural Revolution and as a revelation of the transformative capacity of classical music. I evangelised about this book to everyone I met while I was reading it and for several months afterwards and am delighted to have gained it some additional fans, including the librarian at my local library. Juli Zeh’s Leere Herzen is another inspirational read which we reviewed in the last issue of NBG. It shines a light on some of the most pressing social and political issues of our time from a point in a dystopian not-too-distant future. Fiona Mozley’s Elmet was shortlisted for this year’s Man Booker Prize and is a really intriguing read about an unconventional family wrestling with issues of social conformity and gender identity, all of which are inflected through the most beautiful engagement with the English landscape.
Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Granta Books, 2016)
Juli Zeh, Leere Herzen (Luchterhand Literaturverlag, 2017)
Fiona Mozley’s Elmet (JM Originals, 2017)
Sheridan Marshall is a freelance translator and editor and is Editorial Consultant to New Books in German.