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Literary Fiction

The Best Literary Fiction of 2023

This list includes thought-provoking, compelling stories, and beautifully written books.

Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by BiblioLifestyle

The Best 2023 Literary Fiction

Look no further if you’re looking for the best literary fiction of 2023.  From thought-provoking analyses to evocative stories, this list of fiction titles will surely please any reader who appreciates beautifully written and emotionally rewarding stories.  With writers from around the world exploring a range of topics, including love, relationships, loss, and coming of age, there is something here for everyone.  So continue reading to discover some must-read titles that will add depth and pleasure to your reading experience.

New Book List - The Best 2023 Literary Fiction

The Best Literary Fiction of 2023

With writers from around the world exploring a range of topics, including love, relationships, loss, and coming of age, there is something here for everyone.

  1. The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley
  2. Small World by Laura Zigman
  3. The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon
  4. Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein
  5. Flux by Jinwoo Chong
  6. In Memoriam by Alice Winn
  7. The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie
  8. Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano
  9. A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson
  10. Y/N by Esther Yi
  11. I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin
  12. The Only Daughter by A.B. Yehoshua, Translated by Stuart Schoffman
  13. The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel
  14. Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks
  15. Ghost Girl, Banana by Wiz Wharton
  16. The Skin and Its Girl by Sarah Cypher
  17. Salvage This World by Michael Farris Smith
  18. Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurst
  19. Dances by Nicole Cuffy
  20. The Humble Lover by Edmund White
  21. Yellowface by R. F. Kuang
  22. The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams
  23. The Guest by Emma Cline
  24. The Adult by Bronwyn Fischer
  25. Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style by Paul Rudnick
  26. Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman
  27. Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad
  28. Reproduction by Louisa Hall
  29. The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue
  30. The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt
  31. I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore
  32. Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter
  33. Excavations by Kate Myers
  34. North Woods by Daniel Mason
  35. Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips
  36. Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang
  37. The Caretaker by Ron Rash
  38. A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens by Raul Palma
  39. Family Meal by Bryan Washington
  40. Tremor by Teju Cole
  41. Julia by Sandra Newman
  42. The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez
  43. Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park
The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley

The Survivalists by Kashana Cauley

A single Black lawyer puts her career and personal moral code at risk when she moves in with her boyfriend and his doomsday-prepping roommates.

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Small World by Laura Zigman

Small World by Laura Zigman

A heartfelt novel about two offbeat and newly divorced sisters who move in together as adults—and finally reckon with their childhood.

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Small World is one of the books selected in The 2023 Winter Reading Guide.

The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon

The World and All That It Holds by Aleksandar Hemon

An epic story of love, war, and displacement that traces the life of Rafael Pinto, spanning decades and continents, starting just before the First World War.

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The World and All Thay It Holds is one of the books selected in The 2023 Winter Reading Guide.

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein

Hungry Ghosts by Kevin Jared Hosein

Set in 1940s Trinidad, an immersive story of two families colliding and the chilling mystery at the center of how interconnected their lives are.

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Hungry Ghosts is one of the books selected in The 2023 Winter Reading Guide.

Flux by Jinwoo Chong

Flux by Jinwoo Chong

A debut novel about a young man whose reality unravels when he suspects his mysterious employers have inadvertently discovered time travel—and are using it to cover up a string of violent crimes.

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In Memoriam by Alice Winn

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

A haunting, virtuosic debut novel about two young men who fall in love during a time of war.

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In Memoriam is one of the books selected in The 2023 Spring Reading Guide.

The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

This slyly humorous, thoroughly winsome novel finds the purpose in life’s curveballs, insisting that even when we are painfully warped by those we love most, we can be brought closer to our truest selves.

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Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

Hello Beautiful by Ann Napolitano

From the New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward comes an emotionally layered and engrossing family story that asks: Can love make a broken person whole?

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Hello Beautiful is one of the Oprah’s Book Club selections.

A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson

A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson

The only child of an iconic American novelist discovers a shocking tangle of family secrets that upends everything she thought she knew about her parents, her gilded childhood, and her own stalled writing career in this brilliantly observed standout debut.

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Y/N by Esther Yi

Y/N by Esther Yi

Surreal, hilarious, and shrewdly poignant—a novel about a Korean American woman living in Berlin whose obsession with a K-pop idol sends her to Seoul on a journey of literary self-destruction.

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Y/N is one of the books selected in The 2023 Spring Reading Guide.

I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin

I Could Live Here Forever by Hanna Halperin

By the award-winning author of Something Wild, a gripping portrait of a tumultuous, consuming relationship between a young woman and a recovering addict.

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The Only Daughter by A.B. Yehoshua, Translated by Stuart Schoffman

The Only Daughter by A.B. Yehoshua, Translated by Stuart Schoffman

From the internationally acclaimed, award-winning Israeli author, a stunning novella that brilliantly illuminates a young girl’s crisis of faith and coming of age in Padua, Italy.

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The Only Daughter is one of the books selected in The 2023 Spring Reading Guide.

The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel

The Last Animal by Ramona Ausubel

A playful, witty, and resonant novel in which a single mother and her two teen daughters engage in a wild scientific experiment and discover themselves in the process, from the award-winning writer of Sons and Daughters of Ease and Plenty.

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Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Fire Rush by Jacqueline Crooks

Set amid the Jamaican diaspora in London at the dawn of 1980s, a mesmerizing story of love, loss, and self-discovery that vibrates with the liberating power of music.

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Ghost Girl, Banana by Wiz Wharton

Ghost Girl, Banana by Wiz Wharton

Set between the last years of the “Chinese Windrush” in 1966 and Hong Kong’s Handover to China in 1997, a mysterious inheritance sees a young woman from London uncovering buried secrets in her late mother’s homeland in this captivating, wry debut about family, identity, and the price of belonging.

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The Skin and Its Girl by Sarah Cypher

The Skin and Its Girl by Sarah Cypher

A young, queer Palestinian American woman pieces together her great aunt’s secrets in this sweeping debut, a family saga confronting questions of sexual identity, exile, and lineage.

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Salvage This World by Michael Farris Smith

Salvage This World by Michael Farris Smith

In Michael Farris Smith’s latest gritty epic, a young woman returns home with her child, to her ghost-haunted father, while a religious extremist hunts the stormridden territory to find the girl who may hold the key to the region’s apocalyptic future.

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The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt

The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt

From bestselling and award-winning author Patrick deWitt comes the story of Bob Comet, a man who has lived his life through and for literature, unaware that his own experience is a poignant and affecting novel in itself.

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The Rachel Incident by Caroline O'Donoghue

The Rachel Incident by Caroline O’Donoghue

A brilliantly funny novel about friends, lovers, Ireland in chaos, and a young woman desperately trying to manage all three.

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Reproduction by Louisa Hall

Reproduction by Louisa Hall

A lucid, genre-defying novel that explores the surreality of pregnancy, childbirth, and motherhood in a country in crisis.

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Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad

Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad

Set in the Arab immigrant enclave of Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, following three siblings coming of age over the course of one Ramadan.

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Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman

Lucky Dogs by Helen Schulman

The paths of two women on opposite ends of a high-profile sexual abuse scandal set them on a devastating collision course.

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Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style by Paul Rudnick

Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style by Paul Rudnick

A witty and charming love story about the decades-long romance between an aspiring writer and the son of one of America’s wealthiest families. 

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Farrell Covington and the Limits of Style is one of the books selected in The 2023 Summer Reading Guide.

The Adult by Bronwyn Fischer

The Adult by Bronwyn Fischer

An addictively gripping queer coming-of-age story about an all-consuming, insidious love affair between a college freshman and a mysterious older woman, from an unforgettable new voice in fiction.

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The Guest by Emma Cline

The Guest by Emma Cline

A young woman pretends to be someone she isn’t in this stunning novel by the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls.

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The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Set over the course of one day, the long-standing tensions between a husband, his wife, and her best friend finally come to a breaking point.

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The Three of Us is one of the books selected in The 2023 Summer Reading Guide.

You can listen to my chat with Ore on the podcast here: The Three of Us by Ore Agbaje-Williams

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang

A satire of the publishing industry that centers on a struggling writer who steals her successful dead college friend’s manuscript and publishes it as her own.

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Yellowface is one of the books selected in The 2023 Summer Reading Guide.

The Humble Lover by Edmund White

The Humble Lover by Edmund White

From National Book Award honored–author Edmund White, a wildly hilarious and irreverent novel about a rich older man who falls in love with a young ballerino.

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Dances by Nicole Cuffy

Dances by Nicole Cuffy

An African American ballerina at the height of her career questions whether she will ever find fulfillment as she confronts the tension between her family, career, and art. 

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Dances is one of the books selected in The 2023 Summer Reading Guide.

Tembe Denton-Hurst - Homebodies

Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurst

Chronicles the growing pains of a queer Black woman after she loses her dream job and is then forced to confront her realities and find her voice and place in the world.

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Homebodies is one of the books selected in The 2023 Summer Reading Guide.

You can also listen to my chat with Tembe on the podcast here: Homebodies by Tembe Denton-Hurst

I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home by Lorrie Moore

Lorrie Moore’s first novel since A Gate at the Stairs—a daring, meditative exploration of love and death, passion and grief, and what it means to be haunted by the past, both by history and the human heart.

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Ripe Sarah Rose Etter

Ripe by Sarah Rose Etter

A Silicon Valley woman is struggling in her professional and personal life while the world around her unravels, and she starts questioning whether this toxic workplace is worth it.

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Ripe is one of the books selected in The 2023 Summer Reading Guide.

Excavations by Kate Myers

Excavations by Kate Myers

In this breezy and hilarious novel, set in the astonishingly beautiful sun-dappled Greek islands, four incompatible women digging into the past may just find the answers to their futures.

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North Woods by Daniel Mason

North Woods by Daniel Mason

A sweeping novel about a single house in the woods of New England, told through the lives of those who inhabit it across the centuries.

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Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips

Night Watch by Jayne Anne Phillips

From one of our most accomplished novelists, a mesmerizing story about a mother and daughter seeking refuge in the chaotic aftermath of the Civil War—and a brilliant portrait of family endurance against all odds.

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Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang

Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang

The award-winning author of How Much of These Hills Is Gold returns with a rapturous and revelatory novel about a young chef whose discovery of pleasure alters her life and, indirectly, the world.

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Land of Milk and Honey is one of the books selected in The 2023 Fall Reading Guide.

The Caretaker by Ron Rash

The Caretaker by Ron Rash

Told against the backdrop of the Korean War as a small Appalachian town sends its sons to battle — a breathtaking love story and a searing examination of the acts we seek to justify in the name of duty, family, honor, and love.

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A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens - Raul Palma

A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens by Raul Palma

A genre-bending debut with a fiercely political heart, A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens explores the weight of the devil’s bargain, following the lengths one man will go to for the promise of freedom.

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Listen to my chat with Raul on the podcast here: A Haunting in Hialeah Gardens by Raul Palma

Family Meal by Bryan Washington

Family Meal by Bryan Washington

From the bestselling, award-winning author of Memorial and Lot, an irresistible, intimate novel about two young men, once best friends, whose lives collide again after a loss.

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Family Meal is one of the books selected in The 2023 Fall Reading Guide.

Tremor - Teju Cole

Tremor by Teju Cole

A novel that masterfully explores what constitutes a meaningful life in a violent world.

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Tremor is one of the books selected in The 2023 Fall Reading Guide.

Julia by Sandra Newman

Julia by Sandra Newman

An imaginative, feminist, and brilliantly relevant-to-today retelling of Orwell’s 1984, from the point of view of Winston Smith’s lover, Julia, by critically acclaimed novelist Sandra Newman.

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Julia is one of the books selected in The 2023 Fall Reading Guide.

The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez

The Vulnerables by Sigrid Nunez

The New York Times–bestselling, National Book Award–winning author of The Friend and What Are You Going Through brings her singular voice to a story about modern life and connection.

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The Vulnerables is one of the books selected in The 2023 Fall Reading Guide.

Same Bed Different Dreams Ed Park

Same Bed Different Dreams by Ed Park

A wild, sweeping novel that imagines an alternate secret history of Korea and the traces it leaves on the present—loaded with assassins and mad poets, RPGs and slasher films, pop bands and the perils of social media.

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Same Bed Different Dreams is one of the books selected in The 2023 Fall Reading Guide.

What do you think about this list of best literary fiction of 2023?

Have you read any books from this list?  What are your favorite literary fiction books of 2023?  What books would you add to the list?  Let’s talk all about the best literary fiction 2023 in the comments below.

The Best Literary Fiction of 2023

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