The best 13 Literary Fiction books

Enter the world of literary fiction with this curated book list. Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of stories, characters, and emotions crafted by some of the most talented authors in the genre.
From timeless classics to contemporary masterpieces, these books will transport you to different worlds and provoke deep thoughts and introspection. Whether you're a passionate reader or looking for a captivating read, this collection has something for everyone.

The best 13 Literary Fiction books
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1
Literary Fiction Books: Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie
3.8 (107 ratings)
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What's Midnight's Children about?

Midnight’s Children (1981) is the tale of Saleem Sinai, a child born at the stroke of midnight on August 15, 1947 – the exact moment of India’s independence. This biographical and historical coincidence shapes his destiny, connecting him to a thousand other midnight’s children endowed with miraculous powers and intertwining his own fate with that of his nation. 

Who should read Midnight's Children?

  • Readers who enjoy historical fiction with a touch of magical realism
  • Individuals interested in exploring the themes of identity, nationalism, and postcolonialism
  • Those looking to delve into a complex and imaginative narrative that challenges conventional storytelling

What's The Razor's Edge about?

The Razor's Edge is a novel that follows the journey of Larry Darrell, a young American who sets out on a quest for meaning and enlightenment after World War I. Through his travels and encounters with various characters, the book explores themes of spirituality, self-discovery, and the search for ultimate truth. It delves into the complexities of human existence and the different paths one can take in pursuit of a fulfilling life.

Who should read The Razor's Edge?

  • Individuals seeking a deeper understanding of life's purpose and meaning
  • People who are interested in exploring different paths to personal fulfillment and happiness
  • Readers who enjoy thought-provoking and introspective novels

What's Homegoing about?

"Homegoing" is a powerful novel that traces the lives of two half-sisters and their descendants, spanning over 300 years and multiple generations. Set in Ghana and America, the book explores the legacy of slavery and the impact it has on the lives of the characters. It is a deeply moving and thought-provoking story about family, identity, and the interconnectedness of our past and present.

Who should read Homegoing?

  • Readers who enjoy historical fiction that explores the lasting impact of slavery and colonialism
  • Those interested in exploring themes of identity, family, and cultural heritage
  • People who appreciate multi-generational narratives that span continents and centuries

What's Giovanni's Room about?

Set in 1950s Paris, "Giovanni's Room" is a powerful novel that explores themes of identity, love, and societal expectations. The story follows an American man named David as he grapples with his feelings for both a man named Giovanni and a woman named Hella. Through beautiful prose and complex characters, James Baldwin delves into the complexities of human relationships and the struggle to find one's true self.

Who should read Giovanni's Room?

  • Readers who are interested in exploring themes of identity, sexuality, and societal expectations
  • People who enjoy character-driven stories with complex relationships and introspection
  • Those who appreciate lyrical and evocative writing that delves into the complexities of human emotions

What's Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close about?

This novel tells the story of a young boy named Oskar Schell who embarks on a journey to uncover the secrets of his father's death in the 9/11 attacks. Through a series of letters, photographs, and encounters with strangers, Oskar learns about love, loss, and the power of human connection. The book explores themes of grief, resilience, and the search for meaning in the face of tragedy.

Who should read Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close?

  • People who enjoy unconventional storytelling and unique narrative formats
  • Readers interested in exploring themes of grief, loss, and resilience
  • Individuals curious about the effects of historical events on personal and collective memory

6
Literary Fiction Books: City on Fire by

City on Fire

The Forgotten Disaster That Devastated a Town and Ignited a Landmark Legal Battle

What's City on Fire about?

City on Fire is a gripping account of the 1969 fire at the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, and its profound impact on the environmental movement. Through meticulous research and compelling storytelling, Bill Minutaglio explores the events leading up to the fire, the aftermath, and the political and social changes it sparked. This book sheds light on the power of grassroots activism and the urgent need for environmental reform.

Who should read City on Fire?

  • Readers who enjoy immersive non-fiction narratives
  • People interested in understanding the complex dynamics of urban politics and social movements
  • Anyone looking to gain a deeper insight into the history and culture of New York City in the 1970s

What's Fathers and Sons about?

"Fathers and Sons" is a novel by Ivan Turgenev that explores the generational divide between fathers and their sons in 19th century Russia. Through the complex relationships and contrasting beliefs of the characters, the book delves into themes of nihilism, tradition, and the changing social and political landscape of the time. It offers a thought-provoking examination of the tensions and misunderstandings that can arise between different generations.

Who should read Fathers and Sons?

  • Readers looking for a timeless classic with deep and complex characters
  • Those interested in exploring the themes of love, generational conflict, and intellectualism
  • People who appreciate thought-provoking literary works that offer cultural and historical insights

What's Narcissus and Goldmund about?

Narcissus and Goldmund is a novel by Hermann Hesse that explores the contrasting lives and philosophies of two friends, Narcissus and Goldmund. Set in medieval Germany, the book delves into themes of self-discovery, spirituality, and the pursuit of meaning in life. Through their unique journeys, the characters ultimately come to understand and appreciate the different paths they have chosen. It is a thought-provoking and introspective tale that delves into the complexities of human existence.

Who should read Narcissus and Goldmund?

  • Readers who are interested in exploring the complexities of human nature
  • Individuals seeking philosophical insights and reflections on art, love, and self-discovery
  • Those who appreciate beautifully crafted storytelling and lyrical prose

What's Notes from the Underground about?

"Notes from the Underground" is a novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that delves into the inner thoughts and feelings of an unnamed narrator living in 19th-century St. Petersburg. Through a series of fragmented and philosophical musings, the book explores themes of alienation, free will, and the nature of existence, offering a profound and thought-provoking examination of the human condition.

Who should read Notes from the Underground?

  • Readers who enjoy introspective and philosophical literature
  • Individuals who are intrigued by human behavior and psychology
  • Those who appreciate thought-provoking and deep exploration of the human condition

What's Cloud Atlas about?

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell is a captivating novel that weaves together six different stories, spanning from the 19th century to a distant post-apocalyptic future. Each story is linked to the next, creating a mesmerizing tapestry of interconnected lives. Through its unique structure and thought-provoking themes, the book explores the power of human connection, the ripple effects of our actions, and the enduring nature of storytelling.

Who should read Cloud Atlas?

  • Readers who enjoy intricate, multi-layered narratives
  • Those with an interest in exploring themes of interconnectedness and reincarnation
  • Individuals who appreciate unique storytelling techniques and unconventional structures

What's Atonement about?

Atonement by Ian McEwan is a gripping novel that delves into the complexities of guilt, redemption, and the power of storytelling. Set in England during World War II, it follows the lives of three characters whose fates become intertwined after a tragic misunderstanding. With beautiful prose and a thought-provoking narrative, this book challenges our perceptions of truth and the consequences of our actions.

Who should read Atonement?

  • Readers who enjoy intricate, character-driven narratives
  • People interested in exploring themes of guilt, redemption, and the nature of memory
  • Those who appreciate literary fiction with a stunning and thought-provoking prose

What's Barbara Johnson 3-In-1 about?

Barbara Johnson 3-In-1 is a collection of three hilarious and heartwarming books by Barbara Johnson. With her trademark wit and wisdom, Johnson shares her personal stories and insights on finding joy in the midst of life's challenges. From dealing with loss and grief to embracing the absurdities of everyday life, this book offers encouragement and laughter for anyone in need of a pick-me-up.

Who should read Barbara Johnson 3-In-1?

  • Readers who enjoy humor and lightheartedness

  • Those looking for inspiration and encouragement in facing life's challenges

  • People who appreciate personal stories and insights


What's One Indian Girl about?

One Indian Girl is a thought-provoking novel by Chetan Bhagat that delves into the complexities of gender equality and societal expectations. The story follows Radhika Mehta, a successful banker who struggles to find her own identity and balance her career, relationships, and family pressures. Through Radhika's journey, the book challenges traditional norms and raises important questions about the role of women in Indian society.

Who should read One Indian Girl?

  • Readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with a strong female protagonist

  • Individuals interested in exploring themes of gender equality and societal expectations

  • People who appreciate a mix of romance, career challenges, and personal growth in a novel


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 FAQs 

What's the best Literary Fiction book to read?

While choosing just one book about a topic is always tough, many people regard Midnight's Children as the ultimate read on Literary Fiction.

What are the Top 10 Literary Fiction books?

Blinkist curators have picked the following:
  • Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

Who are the top Literary Fiction book authors?

When it comes to Literary Fiction, these are the authors who stand out as some of the most influential:
  • Salman Rushdie