I have only read a fraction of the books I wanted to this year, but there were some gems. In Billy Keane's The Ballad of Mo & G (Liberties Press), heartbreak and comedy, tenderness and savagery meld into a beautiful, mad narrative delivered in a voice that's completely real. I could not put it down.
Alison Jameson's Little Beauty (Doubleday Ireland) is a starkly beautiful and haunting work, a precise and unsentimental tale of a "fallen" woman in an island community.
Paul Lynch combines wonderfully inventive use of language and cinematic vision in Red Sky in Morning (Quercus) to create a startlingly original page-turner.
In Between Dog and Wolf (Lilliput Press) Elske Rahill presents a darkly compelling triptych of crystalline portraits of undergraduate students struggling in early adulthood.
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne (Doubleday Children's Books) is the best kind of children's book: one that has universal appeal. I'm glad books like this are in my children's futures.
Next: Eimear McBride's books of the year
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