The Greatest Irish "Fiction, Contemporary, Social & Cultural Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 313 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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Genres

Fiction

Contemporary

Contemporary books are a genre that focuses on stories set in the present day, often exploring current social, cultural, and political issues. These books are typically written in a modern style and often feature relatable characters dealing with real-life situations. Contemporary books can cover a wide range of topics, from romance and family drama to coming-of-age stories and thrillers. The genre is constantly evolving to reflect the changing world we live in, making it a popular choice for readers who want to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and issues.

Social & Cultural Fiction

Social & Cultural Fiction is a literary category that encompasses novels and stories that delve into the complexities of society and culture, exploring themes such as class, race, gender, and identity within specific social contexts. These narratives often provide a lens through which readers can examine the intricacies of human relationships and the impact of cultural norms and societal structures on individuals and communities. By offering a fictional yet reflective portrayal of real-world social dynamics, this genre invites readers to gain a deeper understanding of the diverse experiences that shape our world. Authors in this category frequently use their characters and settings to comment on contemporary issues, challenge prevailing ideologies, and provoke thought about the possibility of social change, making Social & Cultural Fiction a powerful tool for empathy and a mirror for the ever-evolving human condition.

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  1. 1. The Master by Colm Tóibín

    "The Master" is a fictionalized biography of the renowned author Henry James, chronicling his life from 1895 to 1899. The narrative delves into James' personal life, his relationships, and his struggles with his craft. The book reveals his inner thoughts and feelings, his unfulfilled desires, and his deep-seated fears. It also explores his relationships with his family, friends, and some of the most prominent figures of his time. The narrative is a deep, introspective exploration of a complex, introverted character, and the world in which he lived.

    The 1627th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Gathering by Anne Enright

    "The Gathering" is a powerful and evocative family saga set in Ireland, exploring the complex dynamics of a large Irish family following the suicide of one of the siblings. The story is narrated by Veronica, the sister of the deceased, who delves into her family's past, uncovering a traumatic event that has shaped their lives. The narrative is a mix of present events, childhood memories, and imagined scenarios, all of which contribute to a profound exploration of memory, truth, and the bonds of family.

    The 5468th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Netherland by Joseph O'Neill

    "Netherland" is a post-9/11 novel set in New York City, which explores the life of a Dutch banker named Hans. After his wife and son move back to London, Hans becomes immersed in the world of cricket, where he befriends a charismatic Trinidadian named Chuck Ramkissoon who dreams of building a cricket stadium in the city. The novel is a meditation on the American Dream, identity, and the immigrant experience, all set against the backdrop of a city and a country grappling with a new reality.

    The 5793rd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright

    The novel is a poignant exploration of an adulterous affair set against the backdrop of the economic downturn in Ireland. It follows the story of Gina Moynihan as she reflects on her passionate, yet complicated relationship with Sean Vallely, a man she meets at a party and with whom she embarks on an affair, despite both being married to other people. The narrative delves into themes of love, desire, and the consequences of their illicit relationship, particularly in the context of Sean's ailing daughter, Evie, who becomes a symbol of the affair's impact on the families involved. The story is a candid and lyrical examination of the intricacies of marriage, memory, and the choices that shape our lives.

    The 5921st Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing by Eimear McBride

    "A Girl Is A Half Formed Thing" is a powerful and experimental novel that delves into the psyche of a young woman as she navigates through a tumultuous and abusive childhood, her complex relationship with her mentally and physically disabled brother, and her own journey towards self-discovery and identity. Written in a unique stream-of-consciousness style, the book explores themes of trauma, sexuality, religion, and resilience, offering a raw and unflinching portrayal of the human experience.

    The 7542nd Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride

    This novel explores the passionate, tumultuous relationship between an 18-year-old Irish drama student and a successful actor twenty years her senior in 1990s London. Their intense connection is complicated by the actor's dark past, filled with addiction and abuse, which threatens to destroy the fragile love they share. As they navigate their relationship, they must confront their own insecurities, fears, and desires, ultimately leading to a profound transformation for both.

    The 8489th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. This Is Happiness by Niall Williams

    Set in a remote Irish village, the novel unfolds through the eyes of a young man who, during a transformative summer, witnesses the arrival of electricity and the changes it brings to the community. As the village buzzes with anticipation and skepticism, the protagonist also encounters personal growth and the complexities of love, as he is drawn into the lives and stories of the local inhabitants. The narrative is a poignant exploration of progress and tradition, the power of memory, and the bittersweet nature of coming-of-age, all set against a backdrop of lyrical landscapes and the whimsical charm of rural Ireland.

    The 9773rd Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. A Shock by Keith Ridgway

    "A Shock" by Keith Ridgway is a dark and unsettling novel that explores the interconnected lives of various characters in a small Irish town. Through a series of fragmented narratives, the book delves into themes of violence, isolation, and the destructive power of secrets. With its lyrical prose and intricate storytelling, the novel offers a thought-provoking examination of human nature and the complexities of human relationships.

    The 10628th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

    "The Glorious Heresies" is a darkly comedic novel set in post-recession Ireland, chronicling the interconnected lives of a cast of colorful characters. When a accidental murder takes place, the lives of a gangster, a prostitute, a teenage drug dealer, and a mother struggling to survive become entangled in a web of secrets and lies. As their paths converge, they are forced to confront the consequences of their actions and grapple with the complexities of love, redemption, and forgiveness in a gritty and unforgiving world.

    The 10865th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

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Download

If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.

Download