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  • Writer's pictureChener Books

Miranda’s Musts – must read novels from recent and not so recent years.

1. The Sea the Sea by Iris Murdoch

Impossibly compelling, despite possessing one of the most extraordinary and in many

ways despicable central characters. Eccentric and wonderful, worth it for the food

descriptions alone.

1. What I loved by Siri Hustvedt. 

As heartbreaking as it is gripping. For me, Hustvedt’s best novel, a classic ‘good read’ –

love, death and art in New York.

1. Dirt Music by Tim Winton 

All the best Winton trademarks – damaged but painfully loveable characters, intense

evocation of the Australian landscape and culture, plus gripping plot.

1. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout 

Restrained brilliance from Strout – she gently pulls you in from the first page. A pared-

down and beautiful depiction of a complex mother daughter relationship.

1. The Wind Up Bird Chronicle  by Haruki Murakami.

Murakami at his best – pure escapism via his distinctive brand of magic realism. Part

detective story, part science fiction fairytale, and of course the obligatory mysterious


1. Drive your Plow over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarzuc

Totally bizarre. Dead people (possibly murdered by animals), dead animals too,

astrology, ecology, Blake and more. Charming and uncategorisable greatness from the

wonderful Fitzcarraldo Press.

1. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson

Utterly terrifying, in every possible way.

1. Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh

Also utterly terrifying, but in a less ghostly way. A dark, murky, unsettling novel, with a

gloriously strange central character. At times grim, but also gripping and ultimately


1. The Lesser Bohemians by Eimer Mc Bride

McBride’s use of language is miraculous in this book, she creates something so

claustrophobic and immersive I almost couldn’t bear to read on at points. The story,

of a young woman falling for an older man is nothing new, but the telling itself is


1. The Secret History by Donna Tart

A sure fire winner – pure literary thriller enjoyment.

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