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Literary Fiction

The Best Literary Fiction of 2024 (So Far)

Whether you’re a lifelong bibliophile or just beginning your literary adventure, there’s a place here for you to fall in love with the art of storytelling all over again.

Last Updated on April 4, 2024 by BiblioLifestyle

The Best Literary Fiction of 2024

This list of 2024’s must-read literary fiction is a curated collection that promises to sweep you off your feet and into realms of profound understanding and unparalleled imagination. This year’s selections are more than just stories; they are masterpieces that reflect the human spirit, crafted with exquisite precision and deep, emotional insight. Each page turned is an invitation to explore the intricacies of relationships, the complexity of society, and the beauty of self-discovery. Together, we’ll laugh, we’ll cry, and we’ll find pieces of ourselves hidden within the prose. So don’t miss out on the joy of sharing these personal journeys, the kind that only the best literary fiction of 2024 can provide.

P.S. I will be updating this list throughout the year as I continue to read more books.

Best Literary Fiction of 2024

  1. River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure
  2. Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj
  3. Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar
  4. Held by Anne Michaels
  5. The Bullet Swallower by Elizabeth Gonzalez James
  6. Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare
  7. Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino
  8. Dead in Long Beach, California by Venita Blackburn
  9. I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both by Mariah Stovall
  10. Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili
  11. The Road from Belhaven by Margot Livesey
  12. Mrs. Gulliver by Valerie Martin
  13. The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez
  14. Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez
  15. The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft
  16. Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi
  17. The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan
  18. Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon
  19. Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet
  20. Headshot by Rita Bullwinkel
  21. The Morningside by Téa Obreht
  22. James by Percival Everett
  23. Fervor by Toby Lloyd
  24. The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim
  25. The Garden by Clare Beams
  26. The Spoiled Heart by Sunjeev Sahota
  27. Thorn Tree by Max Ludington
  28. Reboot by Justin Taylor
River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure

River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure

Set in modern China, “River East, River West” weaves a captivating tale of two generations seeking belonging amidst a changing world. Alva, raised by her American mother, dreams of a better life in America until unexpected events alter her path. Lu Fang, a clerk in Qingdao, faces upheaval when he meets an American woman. This poignant literary fiction novel explores race, class, and the pursuit of the American Dream against China’s political backdrop.

You can get a copy of River East, River West by Aube Rey Lescure on Amazon or Bookshop.

Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj

An engaging debut novel explores the lives of diverse residents in a Palestinian American community in Baltimore. Behind You Is the Sea delves into the intertwined stories of three main families, highlighting struggles with class, tradition, and generational divides. Through poignant narratives and surprising transformations, the book challenges stereotypes and weaves a rich tapestry of cultural nuances.

You can get a copy of Behind You Is the Sea by Susan Muaddi Darraj on Amazon or Bookshop.

P.S. Click here to listen to my chat with Susan on The Reader’s Couch podcast.

Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar

Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar

A young man, Cyrus Shams, seeks a family secret that leads him to a terminally ill painter. In Martyr!, guided by artists and poets, he grapples with his past and explores the mysteries of his heritage. Kaveh Akbar’s literary fiction novel delves into seeking meaning in faith, art, and self.

You can get a copy of Martyr! by Kaveh Akbar on Amazon or Bookshop.

Held by Anne Michaels

Held by Anne Michaels

A captivating novel by the author of best sellers like Fugitive Pieces and The Winter Vault. Set across generations, it follows John’s journey from the battlefield to post-war life, haunted by memories and ghosts in his photography. Held weaves a tale of love, loyalty, and transformation over four interconnected generations, filled with desire, mystery, and compassion.

You can get a copy of Held by Anne Michaels on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Bullet Swallower by Elizabeth Gonzalez James

The Bullet Swallower by Elizabeth Gonzalez James

A gripping tale of vengeance and family legacy, The Bullet Swallower blends magical realism with the harsh realities of border politics and intergenerational trauma. Following the journey of Mexican bandido Antonio Sonoro in 1895 and his descendant, renowned actor Jaime Sonoro in 1964, the novel explores themes of revenge, ancestral sins, and the quest for redemption. Rich in historical detail and lyrical prose, it delves into the complexities of heritage and the enduring impact of the past on present lives.

You can get a copy of The Bullet Swallower by Elizabeth Gonzalez James on Amazon or Bookshop.

Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare

Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare

“Sugar, Baby” is a captivating novel depicting a young woman named Agnes who enters the world of high-paid sex work as a sugar baby. Drawn into a life of luxury and glamour, Agnes navigates through relationships with rich older men while exploring themes of race, beauty, and class. A compelling literary fiction tale of self-discovery that delves into the complexities of Agnes’ journey.

You can get a copy of Sugar, Baby by Celine Saintclare on Amazon or Bookshop.

Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino

Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino

Marie-Helene Bertino’s novel, “Beautyland,” follows Adina, a unique individual born with knowledge of a distant planet. As she navigates life on Earth, she communicates with her extraterrestrial relatives about human experiences. Encouraged by a friend, she decides to share her observations with the world, raising questions about connection and belonging. This original and poignant story explores the delicate balance between fragility and resilience in our world and beyond.

You can get a copy of Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino on Amazon or Bookshop.

Dead in Long Beach, California by Venita Blackburn

Dead in Long Beach, California by Venita Blackburn

A gripping tale of loss and deception unfolds as Coral pretends to be her deceased brother in “Dead in Long Beach, California.” Venita Blackburn’s novel delves into grief, reality, and the blurred lines between truth and fiction. An exploration of humanity’s capacity for both harm and healing, Blackburn’s debut literary fiction novel is a poignant reflection on life, death, and everything in between.

You can get a copy of Dead in Long Beach, California by Venita Blackburn on Amazon or Bookshop.

I Love You So Much It's Killing Us Both by Mariah Stovall

I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both by Mariah Stovall

In I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both, Khaki Oliver navigates a life of disappearing into various aspects, from codependent relationships to the punk scene. When her estranged best friend Fiona invites her to a celebration, Khaki faces a mix of fear and temptation. As she reminisces through a mixtape spanning decades, the story explores their complex bond, with music as a backdrop shaping their intertwined identities. Will revisiting the past lead Khaki to self-discovery and a new path forward, or trap her in a cycle of stagnation?

You can get a copy of I Love You So Much It’s Killing Us Both by Mariah Stovall on Amazon or Bookshop.

Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili

Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili

A compelling novel set in a former Soviet land, where a family must navigate past traumas and mysteries. Saba, Sandro, and their father, Irakli, face the aftermath of fleeing to England from Georgia. When Irakli returns to Georgia and vanishes, Saba embarks on a journey to uncover the secrets of their homeland. “Hard by a Great Forest” explores the lasting impacts of war and the resilience of a people seeking closure and remembrance.

You can get a copy of Hard by a Great Forest by Leo Vardiashvili on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Road from Belhaven by Margot Livesey

The Road from Belhaven by Margot Livesey

A novel set in late-nineteenth-century Scotland follows Lizzie Craig, a young woman with the gift of second sight. Although she can foresee the future, she struggles with the inability to alter its course. As she navigates love, family secrets, and difficult choices, Lizzie’s gift may offer her a chance at redemption.

You can get a copy of The Road from Belhaven by Margot Livesey on Amazon or Bookshop.

Mrs. Gulliver by Valerie Martin

Mrs. Gulliver by Valerie Martin

A tale of female subversion and agency set in a tropical paradise in 1954. Lila Gulliver, a brothel owner, takes in Carità Bercy, a destitute blind woman. When a wealthy youth falls for Carità, tensions rise. Carità’s determination and Lila’s doubts unfold in a steamy story inspired by Romeo and Juliet and The Tempest.

You can get a copy of Mrs. Gulliver by Valerie Martin on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez

The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez

A compelling novel delving into the construction of the Panama Canal, shedding light on the lives of often overlooked individuals who toiled there. Follow the intertwined paths of Francisco, Omar, Ada, and John as they navigate personal struggles and ambitions amidst the monumental project. The Great Divide weaves a literary fiction tale of ambition, loyalty, and sacrifice, revealing the profound impact of ordinary people on history’s grand stage.

You can get a copy of The Great Divide by Cristina Henriquez on Amazon or Bookshop.

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez

A captivating novel follows a first-generation Ivy League student who discovers the forgotten legacy of a female artist years after her mysterious death in 1985. Through intertwining narratives, “Anita de Monte Laughs Last” delves into themes of power, love, and art, raising questions about remembrance and exclusion in an elite society.

You can get a copy of Anita de Monte Laughs Last by Xochitl Gonzalez on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft

The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft

From the award-winning translator and Women’s Prize finalist comes a captivating novel about eight translators searching for a missing renowned author in a Polish forest. As they delve into the author’s disappearance while translating her masterpiece, they uncover secrets that challenge their perceptions. This thought-provoking debut literary fiction novel explores art, celebrity, nature, and the power of language in a gripping tale of love, destruction, and creation.

You can get a copy of The Extinction of Irena Rey by Jennifer Croft on Amazon or Bookshop.

Parasol Against the Axe Helen Oyeyemi

Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi

The author of “Peaces” and “Gingerbread” presents a new novel exploring competitive friendship and the influence of Prague, where the city itself becomes a character. Hero Tojosoa finds herself in Prague for a bachelorette weekend, uncovering a mysterious book that alters its stories based on the reader. Uninvited companions and past acquaintances add layers of complexity to the trip, challenging perceptions of reality. “Parasol Against the Axe” delves into the blurred lines between truth and fiction, highlighting the power of storytelling and the dynamics of friendship.

You can get a copy of Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan

A young woman navigates life after sudden deafness in this captivating debut novel, drawing inspiration from encounters and introspection in a New York City setting. Through humor and curiosity, she finds solace and survival in the search for meaning amidst silence and sight. The Hearing Test showcases a new literary voice with remarkable form and depth.

You can get a copy of The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan on Amazon or Bookshop.

Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon

Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon

An electric modern take on the Persephone and Demeter myth unfolds on a private island, delving into addiction, family dynamics, and power struggles in a contemporary underworld. Camp counselor Cory Ansel’s life takes a twist when offered a job by a charismatic CEO, leading to a journey of self-discovery and blurred boundaries. Rachel Lyon’s Fruit of the Dead weaves mythic inspiration with a poignant exploration of love, control, and societal narratives.

You can get a copy of Fruit of the Dead by Rachel Lyon on Amazon or Bookshop.

Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet

Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet

Failed Pitbull impersonator Izzy, dreaming of becoming Miami’s King, embarks on a quest to mirror Tony Montana’s life. His journey intertwines with Lolita the orca, revealing the Magic City’s surreal depths. As Izzy confronts his past, nature’s forces, and tragic inheritances, “Say Hello to My Little Friend” by Jennine Capó Crucet delves into love, loss, and Miami’s enigmatic allure in a daring, heart-breaking narrative.

You can get a copy of Say Hello to My Little Friend by Jennine Capó Crucet on Amazon or Bookshop.

Headshot by Rita Bullwinkel

Headshot by Rita Bullwinkel

An electrifying debut novel delving into the intense world of teenage girl boxers competing in Reno, Nevada. Each boxer has her own motivations, facing raw and tender face-offs in pursuit of victory. Headshot by Rita Bullwinkel captures the desire, envy, and physical pleasure that drive these young women to fight.

You can get a copy of Headshot by Rita Bullwinkel on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Morningside by Téa Obreht 

The Morningside by Téa Obreht

A tale of mystery and discovery unfolds as Silvia navigates her new life at the Morningside, a place of secrets and enchanting tales. The novel delves into family history, the power of storytelling, and the search for identity in a changing world.

You can get a copy of The Morningside by Téa Obreht on Amazon or Bookshop.

James by Percival Everett

James by Percival Everett

A reimagining of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” from the enslaved Jim’s perspective as he escapes to Jackson Island to avoid being sold. Alongside Huck Finn, they embark on a perilous journey down the Mississippi River, encountering challenges and revealing Jim’s remarkable agency, intelligence, and compassion in a fresh narrative light.

You can get a copy of James by Percival Everett on Amazon or Bookshop.

Fervor by Toby Lloyd

Fervor by Toby Lloyd

A Jewish family in London faces turmoil when they suspect their daughter is a witch. As secrets from the past emerge, Elsie’s behavior becomes increasingly unsettling. Her mother questions if Elsie’s involvement in Jewish mysticism is to blame, while her brother sees it as a result of family dysfunction. Fervor delves into the complexities of religion, family dynamics, and the battle against encroaching darkness.

You can get a copy of Fervor by Toby Lloyd on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim

The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim

A poetic family drama set in South Korea uncovers a dark history through a community living in a reformatory center. Eunju’s encounter with a stranger ties her to a past she tried to forget. The story follows Eunju and her mother’s struggles in a violent reformatory center, alongside two brothers facing harrowing choices. The Stone Home portrays love, survival, and the lasting impact of historical violence with grace and depth.

You can get a copy of The Stone Home by Crystal Hana Kim on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Garden by Clare Beams

The Garden by Clare Beams

The novel follows Irene Willard, determined to overcome her history of miscarriages to fulfill her husband’s wish for a child. She joins a unique medical experiment at an isolated Berkshires hospital. Amidst the quest for a cure, Irene stumbles upon a mysterious garden with its own powers. As the experiment unravels, Irene and fellow patients seek to harness the garden’s potential, facing unforeseen dangers. Drawing on themes of motherhood and female autonomy, the story intertwines psychological suspense with elements of the supernatural.

You can get a copy of The Garden by Clare Beams on Amazon or Bookshop.

The Spoiled Heart by Sunjeev Sahota

The Spoiled Heart by Sunjeev Sahota

A captivating tale of ambition, love, and family secrets unfolds as Nayan finds himself drawn to Helen, a newcomer in town. As he pursues a leadership position, his past tragedies and newfound connections lead to unexpected revelations and consequences. The Spoiled Heart delves into the complexities of relationships, community dynamics, and the power of hidden truths, offering a modern twist on a classic tragedy.

You can get a copy of The Spoiled Heart by Sunjeev Sahota on Amazon or Bookshop.

Thorn Tree by Max Ludington

Thorn Tree by Max Ludington

A moving novel delving into the aftermath of the tumultuous late 1960s, exploring the link between trauma and creativity. Follow Daniel, a renowned artist known for his masterpiece “Thorn Tree,” and Celia, a former actress seeking a career revival. As their lives intersect in the Hollywood Hills, secrets unravel, blending idealism of the past with the complexities of the present. Thorn Tree by Max Ludington is a captivating tale of fame, friendship, and hidden truths.

You can get a copy of Thorn Tree by Max Ludington on Amazon or Bookshop.

Reboot by Justin Taylor

Reboot by Justin Taylor

A former child actor, David Crader, gets a chance to reboot his life and revive his cult TV show with his ex-wife. However, his plans are derailed by Hollywood, the Internet, and a divided nation. As he navigates through far-right conspiracies and climate issues, “Reboot” offers a satirical take on our online culture and nostalgia, blending comedy with a touch of heart.

You can get a copy of Reboot by Justin Taylor on Amazon or Bookshop.

What do you think about this list of 2024 literary fiction books?

What do you think about this list of best literary fiction books of 2024? Have you read any of them? What literary fiction books would you add to this list? Let’s talk all about your favorite literary fiction books in the comments below.

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Best Literary Fiction Books of 2024

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