The Greatest British "Fiction" Books Since 2010

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books in literature. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 200 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed literary works. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details about the selection process can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes

    This novel revolves around a middle-aged man, Tony Webster, who is forced to reevaluate his understanding of his past when he unexpectedly receives a lawyer's letter that drags him back into his complex history with his university friends, Adrian and Veronica. The book explores themes of memory, history, and time, showing how our understanding of the past can be distorted by our own perceptions and emotions. As Tony delves into his past, he realizes that his memories may not be as accurate as he once believed, leading to a surprising revelation.

  2. 2. NW: A Novel by Zadie Smith

    This novel follows the lives of four Londoners - Leah, Natalie, Felix, and Nathan - as they navigate adulthood in the diverse, vibrant, and sometimes volatile neighborhood where they grew up. The narrative explores themes of identity, class, friendship, and the complex nature of urban life, intertwining the characters' stories in a way that reflects the interconnectedness and fragmentation of city living.

  3. 3. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

    "Life After Life" follows the story of Ursula Todd who is born and dies repeatedly in February 1910. Each time Ursula dies, her life restarts, with each successive life bringing different circumstances and decisions. The novel explores themes of fate, free will, and the infinite possibilities of existence. Through Ursula's many lives, the narrative provides different perspectives on significant historical events, including both World Wars.

  4. 4. There But For The by Ali Smith

    There But For The is a novel that explores the interconnectedness of people's lives through the story of a man who locks himself in a room of a house he was invited to for dinner, and refuses to come out. The man's actions cause a media frenzy and bring together four individuals who have links to him, each revealing their own stories and perspectives. The book is a commentary on contemporary life, exploring themes of identity, memory, time, and the nature of connection and disconnection in society.

  5. 5. Outline by Rachel Cusk

    "Outline" is a novel that follows the story of a woman who travels to Athens to teach a writing seminar and engages in a series of conversations with various people she encounters. These include fellow authors, students, and locals, each of whom share intimate details of their lives, allowing the protagonist to reflect on her own experiences and emotions. The book explores themes of identity, storytelling, and the complexities of human relationships.

  6. 6. Harvest by Jim Crace

    Set in a remote English village over a seven-day period, "Harvest" tells the story of a community on the brink of inevitable change. The village's way of life is threatened when three outsiders set up camp on the outskirts, and a fire at the manor house leads to suspicion and blame. As the villagers grapple with the intrusion and the resulting chaos, the imminent enclosure of the common land looms, signaling the end of the agrarian lifestyle they've always known.

  7. 7. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

    "Hamnet" is a deeply moving and beautifully written historical novel that reimagines the life of a young boy, Hamnet, who is the son of a glovemaker in Stratford-upon-Avon. The boy tragically dies at the age of 11, which leaves a profound impact on his family, particularly his father, who is inspired to write one of the world's most famous plays. The narrative alternates between the time leading up to Hamnet's death and the aftermath, providing an intimate portrait of grief, love, and the power of art.

  8. 8. Bring Up the Bodies: A Novel by Hilary Mantel

    This historical novel continues the story of Thomas Cromwell, advisor to King Henry VIII of England. The narrative follows Cromwell's rise in power and the political machinations that lead to the downfall of Anne Boleyn. It showcases the manipulative and treacherous world of the Tudor court, where a single misstep can lead to disgrace and execution. Despite the danger, Cromwell manages to navigate the treacherous waters, using his intelligence and cunning to survive.

  9. 9. At Last by Edward St Aubyn

    "At Last" is the final installment in a five-part series that follows the life of a man from a dysfunctional, upper-class English family. The protagonist attends his mother's funeral, where he reflects on his traumatic childhood, filled with abuse and neglect, and his subsequent struggles with drug addiction. Throughout the day, he interacts with a host of characters from his past and present, leading to introspection and revelations about his life and relationships. The book presents a scathing critique of the British aristocracy, while also exploring themes of recovery, redemption, and the possibility of change.

  10. 10. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

    "Home Fire" is a contemporary reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone set against the backdrop of modern-day London and Syria. The novel explores the lives of five characters caught in a complex web of love, loyalty, and sacrifice. The story revolves around two British-Pakistani families, each struggling with their own dilemmas related to identity, radicalism, and loyalty. One family is headed by a powerful politician who disowns his jihadist son, while the other consists of three orphaned siblings whose lives are turned upside down when their brother is accused of joining ISIS. The novel explores the consequences of their actions, questioning the extent to which one can go for love and loyalty.

  11. 11. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

    The novel is a vibrant portrayal of the lives of twelve different characters, primarily black British women, spanning over a century. Each character has their own unique story, tackling issues such as feminism, politics, sexuality, and identity. The narrative is a blend of poetry and prose, exploring the interconnected lives of these women and their personal struggles and triumphs. It is a powerful exploration of race, gender, and the changing face of Britain.

  12. 12. Autumn by Ali Smith

    "Autumn" is a post-Brexit novel revolving around the deep and complex friendship between an old man, Daniel, and a young woman, Elisabeth. Set in the United Kingdom, the story unfolds as Daniel lies in a care home slipping in and out of consciousness, and Elisabeth visits him, reading to him and reflecting on their shared past. The narrative weaves between the past and present, exploring themes of time, art, love, and political upheaval. It is a meditation on a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, on what harvest means.

  13. 13. Even The Dogs by Jon McGregor

    The novel delves into the lives of a group of society's marginalized individuals, bound together by their struggles with addiction and poverty. Through a fragmented narrative that weaves together various perspectives, the story unfolds around the death of a homeless man during a cold winter in a derelict apartment. As the authorities investigate the circumstances of his death, the interconnected tales of his companions—each grappling with their own demons and histories of loss, neglect, and trauma—come to light, painting a stark and haunting portrait of life on the fringes of society. The book is a poignant exploration of the human condition and the thin lines between visibility and invisibility in the urban landscape.

  14. 14. The Power by Naomi Alderman

    "The Power" by Naomi Alderman is a speculative fiction novel that imagines a world where women develop the ability to produce electrical shocks from their bodies, giving them a newfound physical power over men. The novel follows the lives of four characters as they navigate this new reality and the societal and political upheaval that comes with it. Through their experiences, the book explores themes of gender, power, and the corrupting nature of authority.

  15. 15. Fifty Shades of Grey: by E L James

    A young, innocent college student interviews a handsome, enigmatic billionaire for her campus newspaper and soon finds herself drawn into his world of dominance and submission. As she navigates the unfamiliar territory of BDSM, she must also grapple with her own desires and the emotional complexities of their unconventional relationship. This erotic romance novel explores themes of power, control, and the nature of love and desire.

  16. 16. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

    Mr. Fox is a novel about a writer who is challenged by his imaginary muse to stop killing off his female characters. This leads to a series of stories within stories, where reality and fantasy blur. The writer, his wife, and the muse navigate through these narratives, exploring themes of love, identity, and the power of storytelling. The novel is a mix of fairy tale, romance, and mystery, with a metafictional twist.

  17. 17. Capital by John Lanchester

    This book provides an insightful commentary on the financial crisis of 2008, focusing on the residents of a single street in London. It explores the lives of various characters, including a banker and his shopaholic wife, a Senegalese footballer, a Polish builder, and an 82-year-old woman who has lived in her house since birth. The narrative delves into their intertwined lives, their dreams, and their fears, providing a detailed snapshot of a society in flux due to the financial turmoil.

  18. 18. The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins

    In this psychological thriller, the story revolves around a troubled woman who becomes entangled in a missing persons investigation that promises to send shockwaves throughout her life. As she rides the train every day, she fantasizes about the seemingly perfect couple she sees from her window, until one day she witnesses something shocking in their backyard. Her decision to report it to the authorities leads her down a dark path of intrigue, as she struggles to piece together her fragmented memories and the tangled web of lies, deceit, and complicated relationships that surround the case. Her involvement becomes increasingly dangerous as she tries to prove not only what she saw, but also her own worth and sanity.

  19. 19. Rivers Of London by Ben Aaronovitch

    In this urban fantasy novel, a young London police constable discovers he has a unique talent for magic after encountering a ghostly crime witness. Recruited into a secretive unit that deals with supernatural threats, he finds himself navigating a world where magic is real, and the city's rich history comes alive in dangerous ways. As he learns to master his newfound abilities, he must solve a puzzling murder case that intertwines with dark magical forces, all while trying to maintain peace between the mundane and the magical realms that coexist within the vibrant and historic landscape of London.

  20. 20. Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

    In this enchanting tale, a young orphan girl, discovered as a baby in a cello case after a shipwreck, is raised by an eccentric scholar. When authorities threaten to take her away, believing no proper lady could be raised by a single man, the pair flee to Paris. There, the girl is drawn to the rooftops of the city, where she meets a gang of children who traverse the skyline. With their help, she embarks on a whimsical adventure to search for her long-lost mother, guided by the belief that if her mother was alive, she would be playing her cello. The story weaves a magical journey of hope, friendship, and the unyielding bond between a child and her guardian, set against the backdrop of the beautiful and mysterious Parisian rooftops.

  21. 21. Sea Monsters by Chloe Aridjis

    "Sea Monsters" is a captivating narrative that follows a 17-year-old girl who runs away from her comfortable life in Mexico City to join a group of Ukrainian dwarves who have escaped from a Soviet circus. Set in the 1980s, the story is a surreal exploration of freedom, self-discovery, and the blurred lines between reality and imagination. The protagonist's journey to a beach town in Oaxaca becomes an exploration of her inner world as much as the outer one, revealing her thoughts, dreams, and fears in a deeply introspective manner.

  22. 22. The Finkler Question: A Novel by Howard Jacobson

    The novel explores themes of identity, loss, and love through the lens of three friends - two Jewish and one who wishes he was. It delves into the psyche of the characters as they grapple with anti-Semitism, self-hatred, and their own personal tragedies. The protagonist, a man who starts to believe he is Jewish after a violent mugging, navigates his new identity with humor and introspection, leading to a poignant exploration of what it means to belong.

  23. 23. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

    The protagonist, a middle-aged man, returns to his childhood home for a funeral and is drawn to the farm at the end of the road where he encounters a pond that was once an ocean in his childhood memories. He recalls a series of strange and terrifying events that occurred when he was seven, involving the mystical Hempstock women who live on the farm and their battle against malevolent supernatural entities that threatened his existence. The book explores themes of memory, magic, and the darkness that lies beneath the surface of everyday life.

  24. 24. The North Water by Ian McGuire

    "The North Water" by Ian McGuire is a dark historical fiction novel set in the 19th century that follows the journey of a whaling ship called the Volunteer and its crew as they embark on a dangerous voyage to the Arctic. The protagonist, Patrick Sumner, a disgraced surgeon, joins the crew as they set out on the perilous journey. However, the voyage takes a disturbing turn when they encounter a psychopathic harpooner named Henry Drax, who is capable of unspeakable acts of violence. The novel explores themes of morality, survival, and the human condition in a harsh and unforgiving environment.

  25. 25. The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

    This novel weaves together the lives of diverse characters through a narrative that spans decades, centering on a teenage runaway with psychic abilities. As she becomes embroiled in a covert war between immortal factions, the story explores themes of mortality, power, and the interconnectedness of human lives. The intricate plot moves through different times and places, revealing a hidden world of mysticism and a looming apocalyptic crisis, all while examining the impact of our actions on the future of the planet.

Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download