I’ve been making a real effort to read more contemporary fiction written by women and was pleasantly surprised to see so many of these authors make it to the New York Times Ten Best Books of 2009 list. I loved Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It by Maile Malloy, which was one of their picks that year. The 2010 list included Jonathan Franzen’s most recent book, Freedom, which I enjoyed, as well as Room: A Novel by Emma Donoghue. The protagonist of Room is a five-year-old boy named Jack who lives with his mother, Ma, in an 11×11 foot room. Jack has spent his entire life in this room only having contact with his mother and their nefarious nightly visitor, Old Nick. As the story unfolds, the reader discovers how Ma and Jack came to be in Room and the tender intimacy that characterizes their insular life. Later, their world expands and a profound, emotionally-wrought struggle to make sense of their new life begins. Room is a fantastic book and a must read for 2011.
You can find Room: A Novel and other books mentioned in this post at Amazon.com.