Top Three Novels of 2020

I’ve read lots of fiction this year, including a mix of great novels and short stories. I’ve been keeping track of everything through Goodreads, and I thought it would be a good idea to try to pick out the top three books I’ve read in 2020.

One of my favourite authors at the moment is Andrew Michael Hurley, and I’ve read all three of his novels this year, two of which definitely qualify for this list. However, to keep some variety, I’m going to limit myself to one book per author.

1st – Winner – Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley

Devil’s Day is a masterpiece of folk horror fiction from Andrew Michael Hurley, and one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read. Boiling the plot down to a single sentence, it’s the story of a man and his wife who return to his family farm for a funeral, and help with preparations for an annual festival in advance of bringing their sheep down from the moors for winter.

My full review of Devil’s Day.

2nd – The Discomfort of Evening by Marieke Lucas Rijneveld

The Discomfort of Evening is narrated by Jas, a ten year-old girl who lives on a dairy farm with her parents and siblings in a northern village in the Netherlands. Her brother dies after falling through ice while skating, and the family begins to fall apart as her parents become depressed, first over the death of a son, then over the loss of their entire herd during the foot and mouth outbreak. Jas tries to make sense of these events and deal with them through a series of uncomfortable rituals.

My full review of The Discomfort of Evening.

3rd – Luke and Jon by Robert Williams

Luke and Jon is a debut novel by Robert Williams, first published in 2010. Luke and his father, struggling after the death of Luke’s mother, move to a remote run-down cottage on the fell overlooking the northern town of Duerdale. They soon meet Jon, the strange boy with a secret who lives in the next house on the fell, wears 1950s clothes, and goes to the same school as Luke.

My full review of Luke and Jon.

There are a couple more novels that I loved, but didn’t quite make it into my personal top three for the year.

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People is the story of Marianne and Connell who grow up in a small town in the west of Ireland. The novel covers their relationship over four years as they finish school and go on to study at Trinity College in Dublin.

My full review of Normal People.

Friend Request by Laura Marshall

Friend Request is the story of a woman who receives a Facebook friend request from a girl she used to know at school. A girl who died twenty-five years ago.

My full review of Friend Request.

There are lots more novels on my want to read list on Goodreads. I can’t wait to get started in the new year.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash.

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