Garbo Laughs, by Elizabeth Hay
Hay’s second novel is not at all like her first (A Student of Weather), except that it, too, is beautifully written and thoroughly engaging.
The Hot Kid, by Elmore Leonard
Leonard changes his venue (from Detroit and Miami to Oklahoma) and his period (from the present to the 1920s and 1930s), but it’s the same old Elmore. That is to say, a ripping good read.
Lunch at the Picadilly, by Clyde Edgerton
The “dark side” of Clyde. A rather more realistic view of old people than than one gets in Edgerton’s earlier novels (as I remember them).
Case Histories, by Kate Atkinson
A funny, sad tale of interlocking mysteries, with a semi-hapless hero and a great supporting cast. Brits do it best.
Amsterdam, by Ian McEwan
Inferior to McEwan’s Atonement, but “inferior” is a relative thing. McEwan is such a good writer that I can still recommend this short romp through London’s music and journalistic scenes.
A Desert in Bohemia, by Jill Paton Walsh
A novel of ideas, which also features compelling characters and dramatic tension. Along the way, Walsh — who may be an idealistic socialist, for all I know — lays bare the hypocrisy and brutality of state socialism as it was practiced behind the Iron Curtain. Yet another brilliant Brit.
What Was She Thinking? (Notes on a Scandal), by Zoe Heller
A creepy, clinging narrator and a self-centered protagonist. A match made in a sadist’s heaven. More brilliant Brit prose.