The 5 best books of 2018 that you are unlikely to read

Literary critic, editor of the "Shelf" project and author of

of the telegram channel "Important things"

Elena Makeenko specially selected books for The Challenger, which you may not have heard of, but which are definitely worth reading (now at least next year).

Natalia Meshchaninova - Director and screenwriter, author of the films "Combine" Hope "" and "Heart of the World", co-author of the sensational "Arrhythmia" last year. In fact, her book was released last year, but, firstly, at the very end of it, secondly, in a small print run, and thirdly, in the publishing house of the magazine "Session" whose books can be found not in every store. In "Stories", in fact, one story, sorted into several parts. The main character lives with her mother and stepfather in the southern village, where among all the entertainment - nasi the elders over the younger, the strong over the weak, the adults over the children.

Those who are not lucky to be a predator will have to endure the role of a lonely victim, hide and dream of breaking out of this world. a complicated topic, “Stories” was written in a good way, simple and witty from the heart, and the realization of the horror of the story told through laughter at its details brings an experience of such power that is rarely seen in modern Russian authors.

The debut book of the writer was published in Russian more than a year after her superbestseller “Little Life” and lay on the shelves almost imperceptibly for the reader - in unexpected silence. It is not surprising: fans of Yanagihara, who fought with her haters in the blood (and perhaps Svetlana Aleksievich could boast of such heated discussions in social networks after receiving the Nobel Prize), waited for a well-deserved reward. Obviously, another New York novel about friendship and perversion should have become such an award.

But instead, almost Jules Verne was waiting for the reader under the cover of People Among the Trees: a lost island on which a tribe worshiping a turtle lives; laboratory experiments with mice and expeditions into the jungle; academic disassembly and pharmaceutical intrigues. And further on, how to live if you are a misanthropic anthropologist raising two dozen adopted children. However, if you open the novel without vain expectations, you will be surprised how good it is. Yanagihara tells a big and important story about civilization, human responsibility for the world and about hell, which leads the road, paved with good intentions and ambitious plans.

Barnes cannot be called a little-known writer, but mostly readers of a living English classic are divided into those who read his every novel, and those who once opened, yawned and closed.

So, “One Story” is a chance to appreciate Barnes, even if you still have not been among his fans. This seemingly restrained, cool and rational book gradually sneaks to the bone and makes the reader experience something personal for a long time. One Story tells the story of a nineteen-year-old boy and an adult married woman. Their relationship stretches for a long time, and Barnes, with the ruthless observation of a psychoanalyst, describes the birth, growing up and withering of a love story, which, in his opinion, one (and only!) Everyone lives. A special effect arises due to the fact that the three parts of the story are told from the first, second and third parties.

And yes, if you read in English, do not deny yourself the pleasure: the original language is pure to transparency.

The novel of the journalist Anna Nemzer can be safely called one of the best Russian texts of the year; the more offensive that they did not talk about him on every corner immediately after the release. The novel is built as a collection of interviews and skillfully pretends to be documentary prose. If at first the names of the heroes don’t tell you anything, then gradually the suspicion arises that you know exactly that from somewhere, you recently wrote about him somewhere, there was a big story. The secret of this feeling, probably, is that the heroes and their stories are modern without fools, they sound lively and recognizable, as if they had just left the updated social media feed.

Rap battles and stand-up shows, transgender issues and issues of collective memory, the persecution of gays in Chechnya - the heroes of the book speak all of this in today's language, which the vast majority of our writers are so poor at catching and using. Behind the modern layer lies the historical - with a circus, theater and revolution, which subordinates art to its needs. Three generations of heroes are interconnected, rhymes and parallels expand consciousness and make you be very careful ...

In short, if you want to know what good Russian literature is in 2018, read the Round.

If you love the actor Cumberbatch, you probably already watched the eponymous mini-series. Or maybe they tried to look at him and found the hero’s chemical suffering convincing, but boring. In any case, the novel, on which the series was shot (and on the cover of which the publishers could not help but put the artist in the title role), is very different from the last. You can either double the pleasure of reading, or make sure that reading is more interesting than watching.

For those who don’t know: Patrick Melrose is a wealthy young aristocrat and a freak addict who is constantly trying to engage in addictions and again breaks into a tailspin. The reason for Patrick's dependence, of course, is in his childhood, which he spent with a cruel father and an alcoholic mother and where he suffered a serious psychological trauma. Despite the truly dramatic filling, Edward Saint-Aubin’s novel is an example of English wit, and indeed an ideal British novel, combining rich facades with inventive stash of cognac. No wonder Cumberbatch himself fell in love with the book, and writer Michael Sheibon called it a “terrific experience.”

You can subscribe to Elena’s telegram channel “Important things” (@wordyworld) using this pink link.

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