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FILE PHOTO: Author Sadie Jones. Her first novel is titled, The Outcast. (Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail)
FILE PHOTO: Author Sadie Jones. Her first novel is titled, The Outcast. (Tibor Kolley/The Globe and Mail)


The Globe’s top 29 picks for international fiction of 2012 Add to ...

The Hunger Angel is based on the memories of Müller’s fellow German-Romanian poet Oskar Pastior, who, like her novel’s Leo, was carted off to a labour camp at 17. He, too, felt estranged from his home village. As a young gay man, he could never show his true self even to his relatives. -- Anna Porter


By Adam Thorpe,

Jonathan Cape

Bob Winrush is a 51-year-old cargo pilot carrying suspicious loads in exchange for envelopes fat with cash. But after turning down a particularly nasty job, he realizes that everyone associated with that job has been turning up dead. Bob suspects he’s next, so he takes flight to the windswept Hebrides. -- William Kowalski

A Hologram for the King

By Dave Eggers,


The 50-ish Alan Clay is divorced and untethered, a debt-ridden American in the twilight of a consulting career. His latest assignment: securing an IT contract in King Abdullah Economic City in Saudi Arabia. Clay thinks that if he lands the deal, the monetary windfall will cure “everything that ails him.” -- Cynthia Macdonald

The Red House

By Mark Haddon,

Doubleday Canada

An affluent doctor invites his rather less affluent sister and her husband and three children to join him and his new wife and stepdaughter at an English countryside “vacation” home for a week, creating a potentially explosive mixture leavened by humour, grief and desire. -- Aritha van Herk

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

By Rachel Joyce,


Harold Fry and his wife are astonished by the arrival of a pink letter, addressed to Harold, from his old friend Queenie, dying of cancer and saying goodbye. Harold writes back and sets off to post his letter, but decides to deliver it in person in distant Berwick-upon-Tweed. He writes: “Hold on – I’m comin’.” -- Donna Bailey Nurse

The Lower River

By Paul Theroux,

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Ellis Hock, his marriage and business finished, impulsively decides to return to the impoverished African village where, as a volunteer, he had built a clinic and school and been blissfully happy. But he finds Africa “chewed, bitten, burned, deforested and dug up,” and mourns “the village that had disappeared utterly.” -- Jeffrey Meyers

Sweet Tooth

By Ian McEwan,

Knopf Canada

Cambridge graduate Serena is recruited to MI-5 in 1972, and soon joins a project code-named Sweet Tooth, in which large sums of money are given to intellectuals on the non-communist left. Asked to verify the suitability for the project of young writer Tom Haley, Serena becomes embroiled in attraction and intrigue. -- J.C. Sutcliffe


By Zadie Smith,

Hamish Hamilton Canada

Set mostly in working-class housing in London, NW is full of voices from everywhere: Ghanaians, Jamaicans, Rastas, ginger-haired Irish, litigators, junkies, students, parents and grown children. Smith’s democratizing omniscient narrator slips from one consciousness to the next, giving everyone his or her say. -- Lisa Moore

Bring Up the Bodies

By Hilary Mantel,


This sequel to Wolf Hall (both novels won Man Booker Prizes), tracks the year leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII’s second wife. We see and analyze events through the eyes of Thomas Cromwell, Henry’s adviser. But here Mantel focuses rigorously on Henry's growing desire to be rid of Anne. -- Guy Gavriel Kay

This is How You Lose Her

By Junot Díaz,


Yunior, possibly Dominican-American Junot Diaz’s alter ego, a “polymathic voice,” was narrator of his excellent first novel, and narrates many of the stories in this collection. But Diaz, a master of voice and tone, is definitely not repeating himself. -- Zoe Whittall


By Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor,

Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Laurent Binet’s astonishingly strange and self-attentive novel narrates the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Nazis’ notorious “Butcher of Prague,” Himmler’s right-hand man and architect of the Final Solution. -- Michael LaPointe

Flight Behavior

By Barbara Kingsolver,


If anyone could pull off a philippic on the ecology of the Earth, it would be Barbara Kingsolver, and this she does in Flight Behavior, possibly the first novel to deal specifically, determinedly and overtly with climate change. -- Kathleen Byrne

The Round House

By Louise Erdrich,


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