Sarah Moss' Favourite Reads of 2021
We are delighted to have Sarah Moss, the acclaimed author of Ghost Wall (2018), the former Waterstones Book of the Month Summerwater (2020) and The Fell (2021) share her favourite reads of 2021 with our readers, as well as reveal what bookish delights she would like to receive this Christmas.
Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
This is a novella about a kind man going about his business in a small town in Ireland at Christmas 1985 and encountering the Magdalen House that the community is ignoring. It’s beautifully written, subtle and generous.
The Best Catholics in the World by Derek Scally
I moved to Ireland 18 months ago and this book has been my best guide to the dark and complex history of the nation’s relationship to the church since independence. It’s been fashionable to blame the church for everything for which you can’t blame the English, but Scally dissects the complicity of communities, families and institutions in corruption and abuse with acuity and sympathy.
Brood by Jackie Polzin
The life of a woman enduring Trump’s America told through her care for her chickens. It reminded me of Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport which I also loved, clever and funny and sad.
Burntcoat by Sarah Hall
Possibly the first lockdown novel, dark and brilliant as you’d expect from Sarah Hall.
The Promise by Damon Galgut
I seem to be particularly appreciative of moral ambiguity and individuals’ ambivalent responses to social injustice this year. None of the characters is likeable and the pleasure comes from the quality of the writing. This is a haunting book about the failure of good intentions in a white bourgeois family in post-apartheid South Africa.
One I’d like for Christmas:
Christmas presents should be about abundance and pleasure. I buy and read fiction all year but beautiful hardback cookbooks are different: I’d like Claudia Roden’s Med and/or Salma Hage’s Middle Eastern Sweets, over which I keep lingering in bookshops.
Med by Claudia Roden
Middle Eastern Sweets by Salma Hage
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