Following Madame Mayo’s rich selection the other week, I offer my own Top 5 Books Read in 2007:
#1. Tree of Smoke
Denis Johnson had me hooked since Fiskadoro. In his hands, a novel about the CIA in Vietnam gains mystery, epic scale and fully-dimensional characters on both sides.
#2. In Case We’re Separated
In Alice Mattison’s collection of linked short stories, a family’s characters span decades and reappear in surprising situations.
#3. The Great Fire
Shirley Hazzard’s fine novel set in Japan just after World War II, like Tree of Smoke, gives an intimate portrayal against a broad canvas. Other favorites in fiction this year were Away by Amy Bloom, and You Won’t Remember This by Kate Blackwell (full disclosure: a good friend). But with just two slots left, I’ll make a case for nonfiction:
#4. The Omnivore’s Dilemma
Michael Pollan combines a strong narrative voice with a fascinating analysis of the food industry and how we eat.
#5. Maximum City
by Suketu Mehta is a mind-blowing picture of Mumbai (that’s right, Bombay) through vivid portraits of a few of its residents. Truly a glimpse into a city of tomorrow.
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