PW's Top Ten Novels of 2005
Zadie Smith (Penguin Press)
A smart, funny, ambitious novel that expertly encompasses all the big themes—love, lust, race, class, religion.
E.L. Doctorow (Random)
Powerful novel showing the epic destruction of the Civil War while providing intimate, complex portraits of real historical figures, including Gen. Sherman.
Mary Gaitskill (Pantheon)
A wrenching reflection on beauty, power and cruelty as a former model, now sick and aging, looks back on her life.
Christopher Sorrentino (FSG)
Deft blend of history and fiction based on the Symbionese Liberation Army's 1974 kidnapping of heiress Patty Hearst; joins Doctorow and Gaitskill as NBA finalists.
Never Let Me Go
Kazuo Ishiguro (Knopf)
Exquisitely observed cautionary tale of science outpacing ethics.
Andrea Levy (Picador)
Captivating novel of emigration, loss and love in post–WWII England; winner of the Orange Prize and the Whitbread Book of the Year.
The English Teacher
Lily King (Atlantic Monthly)
A single mother who teaches at an exclusive private high school is the focus of this intense character study.
Ian McEwan (Doubleday/Talese)
Wise and poignant novel covers one day in the life of a London surgeon post 9/11.
Neil Gaiman (Morrow)
A brilliant mix of the mundane and fantastic, in which a man discovers bizarre facts about his brother and late father.
Melania Mazzucco, trans. by Virginia Jewiss (FSG)
Sweeping novel of early 20th-century Italian-American immigrants; winner of Italy's Strega Prize in its original language