I love a good short novel, but in a publishing world that increasingly prioritizes longreads, finding a great, contemporary story that's under 250 pages or so can be nigh impossible. For my fellow short-book lovers, I've got a list of 20 recent short novels that everyone should read.
For the purposes of this list, I have tried to select books published since 2000 and with fewer than 250 pages. Anne F. Garréta's Sphinx has been around for several decades, but only received an English translation in 2015, qualifying it — in this humble books writer's opinion — for inclusion here. None of the 20 titles on this list breaches the 300-page mark, which means that every single one of them is perfect for weekend reading. In fact, you could probably read most of them in a single day.
Check out my recommendations below, and share the recent short novels you think everyone should read with me on Twitter!
1. 'Human Acts' by Han Kang
Paperback Page Count: 224
Beginning with the violent military suppression of a student-led resistance movement in 1980, South Korean author Han Kang's 2014 novel, Human Acts, explores the decades-long impact of one casualty on the lives of those who knew him.
A young woman lies in a remote hospital, accompanied only by a boy who is not her son. On her deathbed, she recounts a dreadful poisoning that seemed to come from nowhere, and its effects on her family and friends.
Set in a surreal version of Egypt, The Queue centers on the ordinary citizens forced to wait in line before a Gate that never opens, in order to receive permission to perform even the most banal of tasks.