The best fiction of | Books | The GuardianW e asked you to nominate your favourite books of and here, in no particular order, are the results - the 10 books that attracted the most consensus. A story that begins with the simple premise of a mother and daughter taking in paying guests to help with financial difficulties. It turns into a page-turning extraordinary thriller. Waters describes housework, lesbian sexuality among ordinary people, and untold class and money issues created by the first world war and its aftermath. Who could make up a story as interesting and moving as this? It is suspenseful, sometimes chilling, humane and wise.
The best book we've read all year: Guardian writers and readers look back
He interprets it as at the work of a generation and looks closely at diaries, love letters and family connections. The Paying Guests Virago by Sarah Waters is so evocative and compelling that all the time I was reading, I had a feeling it was me who had done something terrible, instead of her characters. I thought Euphoria Picador by Lily King was pretty much perfect. I also admired the intelligent way the novel Astonish Me Harper Collins by Maggie Shipstead took me into the world of professional ballet and various kinds of deceit. This is wonderful verse: muscular, astringent, tender and deeply felt. It sounds terrific.
The long-awaited followup to his bestseller One Day , it featured another ill-matched couple, this time a staid husband and a wilder wife, embarked on a last-chance grand tour of Europe with their teenage son. Nick Hornby also published his first novel in five years: Funny Girl Viking was a warm recreation of the swinging 60s and the glory days of the British sitcom. This intense tale of the horrors experienced by PoWs forced into slave labour by the Japanese army, and the damage carried into peacetime by survivors, has become an Australian modern classic. It was also the year that Elena Ferrante came to wider notice — though nobody knew who was behind the name. The story ranges from teenage angst in 80s Essex to the collapse of western civilisation in near-future Ireland, by way of love, loss, family, war and a wicked satire on the publishing industry. Visit bookshop.
Colm Toíbín | Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland 1890-1923 by RF Foster
Not an easy read, but a hugely rewarding one. This was a year for books that comfortably bridged the literary-commercial divide. Both are tightly-woven psychological thrillers, with Mosse offering a characteristic hint of the gothic and Waters painting a jaw-droppingly detailed historical portrait of a doomed love affair. InterRail meets marriage guidance. Original, thought-provoking and, importantly, fun. Note: I am not an Amis obsessive. Worth buying just to read the acknowledgments, where he goes to great lengths to attempt to justify the arrogance of writing a quasi-satirical novel set in a Nazi concentration camp.
I'm afraid I don't go in much for holidays. I once saw a postcard from Brian Friel, on holiday in France, who wrote: "Here for two weeks. One, with good behaviour. For in these pages, frolics abound. Four writers I love, four brand new works, a surfeit of elegance and intelligence. Could summer get any better? First line: "A sweltering, muggy midday.