Natalia’s Books of the Year 2023
Selected by Natalia de la Ossa
The most unexpected book of the year for me was Ten Planets by Yuri Herrera (translated by Lisa Dillman): his first collection of short stories, Ten Planets combines science-fiction with detective work, immigration and our endless need to find a space where we belong. Close second was Tomás Nevinson, Javier Marias’s last book (tr. Margaret Jull Costa) about an ageing detective brought back from the fringes to find and kill a suspected terrorist amongst three possible suspects.
Whale by Cheon Myeong-kwan (tr. Chi-Young Kim), was a another surprising experience, a bit of science fiction, a bit of fairy tale and a lot of transformative experiences in one family’s history. Seicho Matsumoto’s Tokyo Express (tr. Jesse Kirkwood), gripped me with its carefully crafted plot and had me making mental calculations based on train timetables. Fascinating in equal but distinct ways, two new novels from my favourite authors Deborah Levy and Sophie Mackintosh tell stories with such clarity, the inner thoughts of the characters reveal the thread of their lives and everyone that inhabits their realities. The book I will recommend to everyone this Christmas is The New Life by Tom Crewe; and the books I haven’t quite got round to but am certain I’ll be recommending once I have are The Maniac, the long awaited new title by Benjamín Labatut and Blackouts by Justin Torres.
From the publisher:
*Shortlist, Debut Fiction, 2023 Nero Book Awards *London, 1894. John and Henry have a vision for a new way of life. But as the Oscar Wilde trial ignites public outcry, everything they long for could be under threat.'Beautifully written'…