Favorite fiction of 2009 from the L.A. Times
There are 25 books in the list of the Los Angeles Times 2009 fiction favorites. It includes some authors you might expect -- Orhan Pamuk and Alice Munro -- as well as new talents like Maile Meloy, above.
LA Times 2009 fiction favorites
"The Angel’s Game" by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
A struggling young writer in 1920s Barcelona accepts a lucrative, diabolical assignment commissioned by a shadowy client.
Meet Paul Chowder, a poet, editor and procrastinator whose character sheds autobiographical light on his creator.
"The Book of Genesis Illustrated" by R. Crumb
An honest, powerful and violent rendering of Genesis by the artist.
"Asterios Polyp" by David Mazzuchelli
An intriguing hybrid graphic novel about a paper architect "whose reputation rested on his designs, rather than on the buildings constructed from them."
"Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It" by Maile Meloy
Explorations of the lives of ranchers, farmers and others in the American West in a collection of diamond-hard stories.
"Chronic: Poems" by D.A. Powell
Love, the poet writes, has the ability to turn a person inside out.
"The City & The City" by China Mieville
A detective investigates a crime in an Eastern European-flavored fantasy world in which cities and realities overlap in unexpected ways.
"The Collected Stories of Lydia Davis" by Lydia Davis
Spanning 20 years, the four story collections here show the author in full command of language and imagery, playing the reader like a master.
"Everything Matters!" by Ron Currie Jr.
In rural Maine, a young man struggles with his family, and his prophetic powers, as the world braces for the apocalypse.
"The Financial Lives of the Poets: A Novel" by Jess Walter
A husband and father turns to the drug trade to try to get out of a financial hole after he gets laid off from his reporting job in this darkly funny novel.
...more fiction favorites after the jump
"Inherent Vice" by Thomas Pynchon
Thomas Pynchon goes noir ..... or sort of, in this novel that takes place in late 1960s L.A.
"It’s Beginning to Hurt" by James Lasdun
Devastating stories of the petty, malicious moments in people’s lives that signal graver changes to come.
"Lark & Termite" by Jayne Anne Phillips
Streams of consciousness converge as two siblings struggle with the lasting consequences of the Korean War on memory and their family.
"Love and Summer: A Novel" by William Trevor
A married woman is at the mercy of her passions for a photographer in a story by a contemporary Irish master.
"Love in Infant Monkeys" by Lydia Millet
Stories of our relationship to nature and the ways we foolishly try to stand outside it.
"The Museum of Innocence" by Orhan Pamuk
The protagonist of the Nobel Prize-winning author’s new novel takes romantic attachment to the extremes in a sensuous tale set in Istanbul.
"Once the Shore" by Paul Yoon
Stories spanning 50 years about the effects of love, war and loss -- each rendered with careful lyricism.
"The Signal: A Novel" by Ron Carlson
An estranged couple’s wilderness trek results in harrowing encounters with strangers, secret missions -- and some unexpected hope.
"The Sky Below: A Novel" by Stacey D'Erasmo
After his father abandons him, a young artist yearns for transformation — and pays the bills as a half-baked obituary writer.
"Sunnyside: A Novel" by Glen David Gold
Charlie Chaplin is central to this epic-sized novel about early Hollywood and Los Angeles, movie storytelling and the arrival of modernity.
"The Thing Around Your Neck" by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
The Nigerian writer’s third book portrays individuals struggling for freedom but who are caught at the ends of invisible tethers.
"This is Where I Leave You" by Jonathan Tropper
After his father dies and his wife leaves him for his boss, a man spends seven long, excruciating days with his dysfunctional family.
"Too Much Happiness" by Alice Munro
Munro's short stories tackle the strokes of fate that so often determine the shape of a life.
"Usher: Poems" by B.H. Fairchild
Fairchild adopts the voices of the poet Hart Crane; Rasputin's daughter, Maria; and others to evoke a territory between perseverance and despair.
"A Village Life: Poems" by Louise Glück
A collection captures the subtleties of society and meaning in a pastoral setting.
Photo: Maile Meloy, whose debut, the short story collection, is among the Los Angeles Times 2009 fiction favorites.