While I have been rather underwhelmed by much of the non-fiction I’ve read in 2010, it’s been a terrific fiction year. Although published in 2009, I can’t go past Marie Munkara’s début book, Every Secret Thing (University of Queensland Press, reviewed 4/10, ABR), connected stories set on an island mission. Munkara writes brilliant, savvy comedy, and the book’s climax is searing.
I also loved Kim Scott’s elegantly constructed That Deadman Dance (Picador, 10/10), which must be a decent bet for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award in what is shaping as a strong field.
Honourable mentions to British writer Andrea Levy’s The Long Song (Headline Review), a novel about the end of slavery in Jamaica, and Kiwi James McNeish for his sort-of courtroom drama, The Crime of Huey Dunstan (Text Publishing). Had I finished Patrick Holland’s The Mary Smokes Boys (Transit Lounge), I suspect I would have added it to my list.