Vidal's Lincoln is one of the great historical novels, as well as a great story of DC under siege. The South is seceding, construction on the Washington Memorial has stopped, and a rail-splitting lawyer from Illinois is the one holding it all together. Vidal gives us the enigmatic Lincoln through the eyes of his secretary, John Hay; his Secretary of State, William H. Seward; and a conspirator in an assassination plot, among others. Vidal's saber-like wit spares no one, even as he indelibly renders the better angels of our leaders' natures.
This debut novel is so good it tempts one to dust off that old saw, "If you only read one book this year ..." When Marianne was eight years old, her mother left one day and never came back. This event reverberates throughout her life and makes our narrator the fascinating seeker that she is. Hughes's narrative explores trauma and how it's felt on the body, but also the way it resonates through the stories we tell ourselves and how we get over it. As intensely felt as an open razor on the skin, Pearl is a book that leaves lasting and strangely beautiful scars.
Eniola and Wuraola have never met but their lives do a delicate dance together. Eniola lives a life of grinding poverty, where he begs for his school fees and doesn't know where the next meal is coming from. Wuraola is on her way to becoming a doctor and about to wed her city's most eligible bachelor. Modern Nigeria, however, has a way of pulling the most unlikely characters together. Adebayo's Booker-prize nominated novel is a masterful anatomy of inequality, told with heart, horror and, ultimately, hope.