Contemporary British Novels You Need to Read Now

Charlotte Mendelson – Almost English

The novel about family and identity.

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize and the Booker prize, Almost English is a novel about five women, living together in a tiny apartment. Mendelson’s enticing writing follows a sixteen-year-old girl called Marina who lives with her mother and her three Hungarian relatives in London. This book deals with concepts of identity, family, social class and education. It vividly highlights the mother-daughter relationships which can, sometimes, prove to be problematic.

Deborah Levy – Swimming Home

The novel about the realism of depression.

Swimming Home was shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize of 2012. Levy’s novel is one of those books that makes it hard to put down before it is completely finished from cover to cover. Swimming Home deals with the effects of depression on the mental state of stable human beings. It is set in a French summer villa and the novel’s events happen over a single week. Levy’s linguistic prose is exceptional and the unexpected conclusion gives this book a brilliant twist.

Jim Crace – Being Dead

The novel tackling the concepts of death.

Being Dead starts off with the bodies of a middle-aged couple, Celice and Joseph, who have been married for more than 30 years. Their bodies lie undiscovered in the sand, subject to crucial weather conditions and deterioration. The reader is taken back in time to before this couple’s death and their actions, which will ultimately lead, to their demise. However, Crace’s novel is not about how this couple was murdered but rather about death, in itself. Being Dead portrays the concept of death like never before. While the subject of death might seem morbid, Crace’s linguistic ability in retelling it, and the events happening around it, is breathtaking. His attention to detail is one of the things that makes this novel so extraordinary.

Ian McEwan – The Child in Time

The novel by the best-selling author.

Famously known for being the author of Atonement, Ian McEwan’s novel, The Child in Time, is about a missing child who maintains a fixed position in her parents’ minds from the moment of her shocking disappearance. The reader witnesses the parents’ grief and devastation throughout the lonely passage of time. McEwan’s passionate writing gives life to this devastating and realistic event. Ian McEwan writes, yet another, bestselling novel of our time.

Ali Smith – Autumn

The novel on the concept of time.

Published in 2016, Autumn is a novel written by the Scottish author Ali Smith. Smith’s new novel was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. Autumn is the first instalment of the four seasonal standalone books. Smith’s prose is beautiful and she avidly engages with various play-on-words and streams of thought. The novel attempts to explore the concept of time and how we experience it. Autumn also deals with the concepts of ageing, love, time and the retelling of stories.