The 10 Best Novels Of The Year, According To The National Book Awards

It's finally fall, and avid readers know that book awards season begins shortly after the PSL peeks its head over the Starbucks counter. The National Book Award for Fiction longlist came out on Friday, and I've got a look at all 10 books below, plus information on when the winner will be announced.

The National Book Award for Fiction is the last of the National Book Foundation's prestigious honors to put out its longlist. The National Book Award for Young People's Literature longlist and National Book Award for Translated Literature came out on Wednesday, with the National Book Award for Nonfiction longlist and the National Book Award for Poetry longlist following it on Thursday morning.

The winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction will join the ranks of the best and brightest books published in the U.S. since 1950. The most recent winners were Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward in 2017, The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead in 2016, and Fortune Smiles by Adam Jonson in 2015.

Half of the books on the longlist below will be cut away to create the five-title National Book Award for Fiction shortlist, which will be released on Oct. 10. The winners of the 2018 National Book Awards will be announced at the National Book Awards Ceremony and Benefit Dinner on Nov. 14.

'A Lucky Man' by Jamel Brinkley

One of three story collections on the National Book Award for Fiction longlist this year, Jamel Brinkley's A Lucky Man focuses on black men and boys living in New York City.

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'Gun Love' by Jennifer Clement

In this poignant novel, a 14-year-old girl named Pearl lives with her culture-minded mother in a car parked on the edge of a Florida trailer park, where a local pastor runs a "Guns for God" program.

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'Florida' by Lauren Groff

Fates and Furies author Lauren Groff's collection contains 11 tales of motherhood and abandonment, all set in the titular state of Florida.

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'The Boatbuilder' by Daniel Gumbiner

After a stint in rehab fails to cure him of his opioid addiction, 28-year-old Berg begins breaking into other people's homes looking for drugs. In a last-ditch effort to clean up his act, Berg takes up an apprenticeship — and a shot at redemption — with a boat builder named Alejandro.

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'Where the Dead Sit Talking' by Brandon Hobson

Set in the 1980s, this coming-of-age tale centers on Sequoyah, a Cherokee teenager sent to live with a foster family after his mother's substance abuse becomes too much to bear.

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'An American Marriage' by Tayari Jones

Celestial and Roy have only been married for a short while before he is jailed for a crime he did not commit. While Roy is incarcerated, Celestial embarks on a relationship with his best man, Andre. But when Roy is released from prison just five years into his 12-year sentence, the three lovers are forced to come to terms with their arrangement.

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'The Great Believers' by Rebecca Makkai

Set in 1985 Chicago and 2015 Paris, The Great Believers examines the height and aftermath of the AIDS epidemic, as Yale, his lover Charlie, and their friend Fiona reckon with the loss of their late friend and brother, Nico.

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'The Friend' by Sigrid Nunez

When a writing professor dies, he leaves his beloved dog, a Great Dane named Apollo, to his friend and mentee, The Friend's unnamed protagonist. Mourning together, the novel's main character and her newly acquired pet must learn to live with the loss.

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'There There' by Tommy Orange

Revolving around 12 characters, Tommy Orange's There There moves around and through the lives of Native Americans living in Oakland, Calif.

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'Heads of the Colored People' by Nafissa Thompson-Spires

In the third story collection on the 2018 National Book Award for Fiction longlist, Nafissa Thompson-Spires explores iterations of identity for black women and girls living in the U.S. today.

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