Great Post-Waugh Fiction


1. Muriel Spark – The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – published in 1961 so not, strictly speaking, post Waugh. A great novella about much more than a schoolmistress and her pupils: a novella about the theology of free will and predestination.

2. Alice Thomas Ellis – The Birds of the Air – a sometimes darkly comic novel in the tradition of Waugh and Spark.

3. George Mackay Brown – Beside the Ocean of Time – ranging through time and space, though always rooted in Orkney, this is critically acclaimed book by a great and comparatively neglected Scottish Catholic author.

4. Sylvie Germain – The Book of Tobias (Tobie des marais) – a literary novel that retells the Book of Tobit in 20th Century France. Shocking in places but a powerful attempt to show the supernatural at work in the realist literary tradition.

5. William Brodrick – A Whispered Name – a compelling mystery about a First World War deserter and his mysterious links with an officer who went on to become a priest and monk.

6. Kyung-Sook Shin – Please Look After Mother – initially disconcerting but a poignant meditation on how we relate to our mothers. An international prize winner and best seller from South Korea.

7. Tim Gautreaux – Waiting for the Evening News – short stories about small-town life in Louisiana. Beautifully crafted stories which pack a moral but nuanced punch.

8. Simone Lia – Please God, find me a husband – not fiction and not a novel. A mainstream graphic novel that is also explicitly Catholic.

9. Marilynne Robinson – Gilead – a really beautifully written novel about a Calvinist minister and his family in rural America.

10. Eugene Vodolazkin – Laurus – a hard-hitting portrait of medicine and hard-won sainthood.

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