The unmissable book of the year for me is The Garden Of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng. I came to it without any clear idea of whether I was going to love it or hate it and I was continually surprised by how it could take what ought to be situations of utter despair and make them uplifting, funny, and heartening. I love that. I also found it believable; several of the people I have met who have lived through nightmares - former prisoners of the Khmer Rouge and former Gitmo and death row inmates alike - possess the same faculty.
The villains are chilling; the order of veiled monks who stalk Joe and Edie are a hive-mind nightmare who remind me of nothing so much as the Borg.
“Angelmaker is Nick Harkaway’s second novel. His first, The Gone-Away World, had the distinction of being entirely uncategorizable: it’s a dystopian adventure, it’s a love story, it’s literary, there are monsters. It inspired unusual devotion among the booksellers of my acquaintance. It can’t have been an easy act to follow.”
— Nick Harkaway’s Angelmaker reviewed by Emily St. John Mandel