Expandable vocabulary: 12 best novels of the XXI century in English

If you have already good command of the English language, then books is the best way to expand vocabulary. Especially if these books are really interesting. Several dozen literary critics and reviewers, from The New York Times, Time, Newsday, Bookslut, The Millions and other publications picked the best, in their opinion, novels, published from 1 January 2000 in the English language. To see the TOP 12 of these books offers the air force.

Расширяем словарный запас: 12 лучших романов XXI века на английском языке

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12. Jeffrey Eugenides “the Average floor” (2002) — Jeffrey Eugenides “Middlesex”

“I was twice born: first girl in Detroit, a surprisingly clear day of January 1960, and then, in August of 1974, the — guy-a teenager is in the hospital in Petosky, Michigan”.

So begins a novel by the American author of Greek origin, George. Of eugenides.

In 14 years the calliope Stephanides finds that she has a rare genetic mutation, according to which it is pseudohermaphroditism. Saying that she has a “male brain”, she changes sex and becomes Callum.

The novel is full of allusions to ancient Greek mythology, explores the theme of fate and free will. It is both a story of growing up Calla and a story about the entrepreneurial rise of his parents, Desdemona and Lefty (which have their own genetic mysteries).

In the end, as cal gives him an almost divine ability to see the world simultaneously with female and male perspectives.

“Middle floor” managed to win and critical acclaim (in 2003, the novel won the Pulitzer prize), and to achieve commercial success. It became a bestseller and was translated into many languages.

11. Uh, Zadie Smith “White teeth” (2000) — Zadie Smith “White Teeth”

Smith broke into the literary world at the age of 23, his first novel showing the scope, originality and wit a serious writer.

The novel “White teeth”, which received numerous awards including The Guardian award for best first novel, is a story about friends, Archie Jones and Samal Iqbal, the who met at the front during the Second world war.

“White teeth” is a colorful portrait of post-colonial multicultural London, full of vivid scenes and characters.

Critics noted and the following two novel writer — NW (2012), who took 18th place in the BBC Culture and On Beauty (2005).

10. Chimamanda Ngozi adichi of “Half of a yellow sun” (2006) — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie “Half of a Yellow Sun”

Fearless and bright second novel by a young Nigerian writer tells about the events of the recent past of its country, which directly affected her family.

“Half of a yellow sun” is one of the reasons the flag of Biafra, the state that existed in Nigeria during the 1967-1970 civil war years.

Ethnic conflict of the peoples of Gauss and Igbo, which affected and grandfather of the writer, influenced the fate of the main characters of the novel.

“The novel by Adici written with extraordinary skill, artistic and intellectual — notes critic Walton Muyumba. Is also a serious political novel about love in times of war”.

Another novel by the writer — “Americana”/”Americana”/”Americanah” (2013) — also made the list of the BBC Culture.

9. Ian McEwan Atonement (2001) Ian McEwan “Atonement”

The events of the novel one of the most recognized British authors begin in the summer of 1935. 13-year-old, Brioni, girl with a rich imagination, who dreams of becoming a writer, becoming a witness to scenes of love his sister Cecilia and her boyfriend, the maid’s son Robbie.

Not realizing what was happening, Brioni decides that Robbie is a sex maniac, and later testifies against him to the police.

After a few years, starting the Second world war, and Robbie from prison and drafted into the army. Already an adult, Brioni knows that he has ruined the lives of Cecilia and Robbie. She works hard as a nurse in the hospital, trying to redeem himself.

McEwan follows the fate of the characters over six decades. The quest for redemption, Brioni turn into reflections about the power of art.

8. Ben fountain “a Long walk Billy Lynn during the break of a football match” (2012) — Ben Fountain, “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk”

Debut novel of the author, who received the award National Book Critics Circle, you’ll be “wisdom and wit”, notes critic Steven Kelman.

Eight new recruits of the American army, who had just returned from Iraq, where one of their comrades was killed and another was disabled, participate in Patriotic television show on the Fox News channel.

Their two-week promotur ends with fireworks at halftime of a football match in Dallas. They will then return to the war.

The author puts the story in the mouth of 19-year-old Billy Lynn, who sounds passion, confusion and PTSD.

“That’s strange, says Billy, the fan of Dallas Cowboys, when you get honored for the worst day of your life.”

7. Jennifer Egan’s “a Visit of the pen thugs” (2010) Jennifer Egan’s “A Visit from the Goon Squad”

Novel Jennifer Caan, who received the Pulitzer prize and the National Book award Critics Circle, devoted to a reflection on time, fame and music in the spirit of Proust.

“Time is the most treacherous cutthroat, you don’t notice it, because it takes the thugs right in front of you,” says the writer. In the center of the narrative of the novel — a former punk rocker, and now a music producer Bennie Salazar, his light-fingered assistant Sasha, and the circle of careerists, former stars and hangers-on.

The editor of the Tampa Bay Times, Colette Bancroft noted that the novel is “visionary, wonderful, wise and awesome.”

Расширяем словарный запас: 12 лучших романов XXI века на английском языке

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6. Michael Chabon “Amazing adventures of Cavalier and Clay” (2000) — Michael Chabon “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”

The novel received the Pulitzer prize and received many other awards, tells the story of a Czech artist of Jewish origin Joe Chevalier and his American cousin of the writer Sammy clay.

In 1939, Knight escapes from Nazi-occupied Prague to new York. Together with Glue, they become key figures in the comic book industry from its beginnings to the Golden age.

“Extremely emotional, touching and multi-layered novel Shabana is a kind of historical bridge between the XX and XXI centuries in how it depicts world war II and the birth of comics as a new and potent form of mass myth-making”, — said the chief editor of Booklist Donna Seaman, which gave the product SABONA first place in the list.

“Amazing adventures of Cavalier and Clay” is also a timeless exploration of our tragic commitment to hatred and war, our constant need for stories and our persistent pursuit of magic and transcendence “, she added.

5. Jonathan Franzen The Corrections (2001) — Jonathan Franzen “The Corrections”

Local family Saga, which brought the Franzen worldwide fame, was one of the first novels that captured the Zeitgeist of the first years of the new century.

Alfred and Enid Lambert and their three grown children gather for the last Christmas of the twentieth century. Alfred progressing Parkinson’s disease, the United States is on the verge of economic collapse.

This is the story of a family from the Midwest, told with irony, love and scale of this epic, where the fate of several generations of Americans.

The corrections Jonathan Franzen brilliantly predicted the turmoil that will take place in American society after September 11.

4. Marilyn Robinson’s “Gilead” (2004) — Marilynne Robinson — Gilead

This is a lyrical story of a priest from the town in Iowa, John Ames, in which he shares with his young son the story of his life and the fight against slavery.

“Gilead” is the first novel of the trilogy, the next two are “Home” and “Lila”.

“It’s hard to think of another living author who would be so subtle and penetrating wrote about faith in God. This topic has become almost taboo in modern literature,” said critic don Raffel.

“Robinson manages to combine innovative ideas with exquisite prose, exploring the big questions in the intimate space of the family and society,” wrote Karen R. long, former editor of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Gilead” will read in 100 years”, she added.

3. Hilary Mantel “Wolfhall” (2009) — Hilary Mantel “Wolf Hall”

A novel, Hilary Mantel is a bold new look at events in sixteenth-century Europe, told from the point of view of Thomas Cromwell (of Henry VIII as a secondary character).

“Wolfhall” have been awarded the Man Booker and National Book Critics Circle, has been adapted for the stage and filmed as a BBC miniseries.

“I’ve never felt such a complete immersion in the consciousness of the hero, moreover, a hero who lived in a distant era,” said Mare Ann Gwinn, the literary editor of the Seattle Times.

The sequel, “Bring the body”, also received the critics.

2. Edward Paul Jones “the Known world” (2003) — Edward P. Jones “The Known World”

The novel is set in 1955 on the plantation of Henry Townsend, formerly a slave, now slave-owner.

The “known world” is a triumph of sympathy, the novel immerses the reader in a period of difficult times, giving simple conclusions.

Feeling near death, Townsend ponders the fate of his 50-acre plantation in Virginia and the slaves who he treated as taught by his mentor.

The “known world” is the best American novel published in the twenty-first century, is an interesting study of the experiences of people in the days of American slavery,” said critic Moomba Walton, author of The Shadow and The Act.

1. Juno Diaz “Short and wonderful life of Oscar ALM” (2007) — Junot Diaz “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao”

The winner in the BBC Culture was the debut novel of an American of Dominican descent on the eccentric Oscar, who lives in the ghetto in new Jersey and dreams of becoming the American Tolkien.

“It was hard for me to fall in love with the novel, whose DNA consists of science fiction, fantasy and testosterone,” said Elizabeth Taylor, the literary editor of the Chicago Tribune.

“This is only the second book of the Latin American author who received the Pulitzer prize in fiction,” notes critic and author Rigoberto Gonzalez.

“Oscar WAO is proof of the strong ties that Hispanic support with the culture, language and history of their ancestors. The novel also raises the important question of who are Americans and what it means to be an American” — said critic and playwright Gregg Barrios.

“The story of Dias full of Dominican history, comics, science fiction, magic realism art and quotes is pure pleasure”, he added.

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