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Books: Best Books 2020: Home

These titles were selected by The New York Times, Library Journal, and The Washington Post as the Best Fiction of 2020. Click on any of the titles to reserve your copy.
*Denotes Titles Appearing on Multiple "Best" Lists

*A Children's Bible

This superb novel begins as a generational comedy — a pack of kids and their middle-aged parents coexist in a summer share — and turns steadily darker, as climate collapse and societal breakdown encroach.

*Deacon King Kong

At the center of this raucous novel by the National Book Award-winning author of “The Good Lord Bird” are a hard-drinking church deacon and a sudden, inexplicable act of violence. But that’s just one strand of McBride’s tour de force, a book resounding with madcap characters and sly commentary on race, crime and inequality.


Shakespeare’s son, Hamnet, died at 11, a few years before the playwright wrote “Hamlet.” O’Farrell’s wondrous new novel is at once an unsparingly eloquent record of love and grief and a vivid imagining of how a child’s death was transfigured into art.

*Homeland Elegies

The latest novel from Akhtar is about the dream of national belonging that has receded for American Muslims in the years since 9/11. At once deeply personal and unreservedly political, the book often reads like a collection of essays illustrating the author’s prismatic identity.

*The Vanishing Half

Bennett’s gorgeously written second novel, an ambitious meditation on race and identity, considers the divergent fates of twin sisters, born in the Jim Crow South, after one decides to pass for white.

Apeirogon: a Novel

Two fathers, a Palestinian and an Israeli, have each lost a beloved young daughter—one to a military error, the other to a suicide bomber. These two men improbably come together as “Combatants for Peace.” Based on a true story, this exquisite novel, filled with Middle Eastern history and a wealth of bird lore, suggests a path toward reconciliation.

*Leave the World Behind

A family vacation in an isolated part of Long Island is thrown into confusion when the home’s owners return claiming New York City is having a blackout.

Little Family

Five children, wise beyond their years and portrayed with exquisite tenderness and grace, band together for safety in an abandoned airplane in an unknown African country. They survive by stealing food by day and telling stories at night to tamp down the nightmares of buried memories. Then a new nightmare arrives as a sinister figure threatens the family’s fragilely constructed invisibility.


Set in an undefined near future, this arresting, lushly written work details ecological disaster and the longing for place as Franny Stone travels to Greenland so she can follow the world’s last flock of Arctic terns on its final migration. A consummate blend of issue and portrait, warning and affirmation, with an expertly folded-in mystery to heighten the tension.

*Transcendent Kingdom

Moving between Gifty, a sixth-year PhD candidate in neuroscience at Stanford University School of Medicine, and the tragedies of her Alabama-based Ghanaian American family, Gyasi’s illuminating novel portrays both inner turmoil and social issues while limning the conflict between science and religion.

Full List