The Spectator

Books of the year – part one

Our regular reviewers choose the books they have enjoyed reading most — and sometimes least — in 2019

Philip Hensher

The best novels of the year were Colson Whitehead’s The Nickel Boys (Fleet, £16.99) and James Meek’s To Calais, In Ordinary Time (Canongate, £17.99). These days, novels are often praised for the gravity of their subjects, but what elevates Whitehead’s treatment of race and American brutality is the elegance
of its style and the satisfying inventiveness of its form.

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