2020. The year of strife. The year that observed the emergence of the first pandemic of the 21st century. Also the year in which fiction novels like “the Vanishing Half” and “the City We Became” hit the shelves. As the age-old saying goes, every cloud has a silver lining. The chance of being stuck in the lockdown gave us the golden opportunity to explore books that made history- the kind that made you laugh and cry effortlessly- the kind that would be known as “classics” to the coming generations. Here’s to those great books that touched and moved our hearts and helped us move through the dark, sticky mud that was corona virus toward the bright, beautiful clearing.
Here are the top 5 fictional novels of 2020 which you should consider reading.
- The Vanishing Half by Britt Bennet
The most talked about book of the year, this masterpiece is set in the 1950s. It is the story of 2 light skinned black sisters in the USA. It moves you when you thought you couldn’t be moved, and digs deep into the black-white feud the States is notoriously known for. This is the second book of Bennet. A question I am frequently asked is, “Is it like the Mothers?” I say to those people, “No, it is better.” Comparing “the Mothers” and “the Vanishing Half is like comparing “the Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns”, both books authored by genius story teller Khaled Hosseini.
- The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
A most wonderful and delightful book by Jemisin. It is, yet again, all about the white supremacy ideals that still hold strong in many white people’s minds. The white supremacy has been cleverly being posed as the Enemy- and the storyline, in a nutshell, is the people of the country fighting against the Enemy. It is a dystopian novel, a genre loved and favoured by most people, especially the young generation. It has been developed from the spark ignited by Bennet’s short story, “The City Born Great” by further kindling the flames and developing them into a full-fledged fire, conquering all those who cross her path.
- Deacon King Kong by James McBride
By far the funniest fiction novel in the top 5 books of 2020, it is the one you cannot afford to miss. This book takes these people, grabs a magnifying glass, and uses it to enlarge their lives- all, somehow, part of a shooting involving a drug dealer and a Christian deacon. Beware, readers- once you pick it up, you will be unable to put it down.
- The Shadow King by Maaza Mengiste
A novel that is a truly delightful treat for those who are fans of historical fiction. It is based off the 1935’s Italy’s invasion of Ethiopia. This book is packed with action sequences, if that sort of thing appeals to you. It is the second novel of Mengiste, the first being the best-seller “Beneath the Lion’s Gaze” – yet another tempting book which can be pursued by those who find “the Shadow King” enjoyable.
- The Mirror And The Light by Hilary Mantel
Yet another treat for the history fanatics, this much awaited book documents the highs and lows of the last four years of Thomas Cromwell’s life. It is the final instalment of Mantel’s trilogy, first part being “Wolf Hall” and “Bring Up The Bodies”. A question I am often asked is, “Can this book be read as a stand-alone?” The answer is yes, but it is not advisable. The author divided the saga into 3 parts, and in order to enjoy the books thoroughly, you must follow the narrative set by the author.
These were the top 5 books of 2020. Happy reading!