I love and hate best-of-the-year lists. Love because I can’t resist reading them; hate because I abhor picking a favorite anything.
Please know that though I’m calling these my favorites, I’m holding them loosely. These are the best novels I read in 2015, no matter their publication date, and if this list is anything like those from previous years, I probably forgot at least one title I completely and utterly adored.
This is Nigerian novelist Adichie’s third novel, but the first I've read. The story centers around a smart, strong-willed Nigerian woman named Ifemelu. After university, she travels to America for postgraduate work, where she endures several years of near-destitution, and a horrific event that upends her world. She finds her way, winning a fellowship at Princeton, and gaining acclaim for her blog, called “Raceteenth or Various Observations About American Blacks (Those Formerly Known as Negroes) by a Non-American Black." A highlight: Adichie seamlessly weaves blog posts—about race, national identity, class, poverty, and hair—into the narrative. The novel grapples with difficult issues without becoming overwrought. I would not have read this based on the flap copy, but I was hooked from page one. Haunting, moving, incredibly well done. Terrific on audio.More info →