The Greatest American "Domestic, 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 305 '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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The "Domestic" category of books typically refers to stories that focus on the everyday lives and experiences of individuals and families within their homes and communities. These books often explore themes such as relationships, family dynamics, personal growth, and the challenges and joys of daily life. Domestic fiction can include a range of sub-genres, from heartwarming family dramas to suspenseful psychological thrillers, but all share a focus on the intimate and personal aspects of human experience.


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  1. 1. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen

    The novel revolves around the lives of the Lambert family, an old-fashioned midwestern couple and their three adult children. The parents, Alfred and Enid, are dealing with Alfred's Parkinson's disease and their own marital problems, while their children are each facing their own personal and professional crises. The narrative explores the themes of family dynamics, societal expectations, and the struggles of modern life. The story climaxes with the family's last Christmas together at their childhood home.

    The 222nd Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

    The novel tells the story of Gogol Ganguli, a second-generation Indian-American, who struggles with his unique name and his dual cultural identity. Born to immigrant parents from Kolkata, India, Gogol is named after the famous Russian author, Nikolai Gogol, a decision that shapes his life in unexpected ways. As he grows up, he finds himself torn between his parents' traditional Indian values and his desire to fit into mainstream American society. This internal conflict is further complicated by his relationships with women of different cultural backgrounds. The book explores themes of identity, cultural assimilation, and the immigrant experience.

    The 937th Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

    Set in a poor rural community in Mississippi, this novel follows the story of a pregnant teenage girl named Esch and her three brothers as they navigate their lives in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Their mother is dead and their father is a neglectful alcoholic, leaving the siblings to fend for themselves. The book explores themes of poverty, racism, and survival, showcasing the resilience and strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

    The 1382nd Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

    The book is a collection of 13 interconnected short stories revolving around Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher living in a small town in Maine. Olive is a complex character with a prickly exterior but a deep well of emotion and empathy beneath the surface. Through her interactions and relationships with various town residents, the book explores themes of love, loss, aging, and change, painting a rich portrait of a community and its inhabitants.

    The 1677th Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward

    The novel explores the journey of a 13-year-old boy, his drug-addicted mother, and his baby sister as they travel through Mississippi to pick up their white father from the state penitentiary. The story is steeped in the harsh realities of poverty, racism, and struggle, and is further complicated by the presence of a ghost from the family's past. It's a haunting tale about the legacy of trauma and the power of family ties.

    The 1749th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Normal People by Sally Rooney

    "Normal People" is a novel that explores the complex relationship between two high school students from different social classes in a small town in Ireland. Despite their contrasting backgrounds, they form a strong bond that continues into their university years at Trinity College. The narrative follows their journey, filled with misunderstandings, miscommunications, and emotional intimacy, as they navigate their way through love, friendship, mental health issues, and the struggles of growing up.

    The 2038th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett

    Set in the early 1960s in Jackson, Mississippi, the story revolves around three main characters: two black maids and a young white woman. The maids, who have spent their lives taking care of white families and raising their children, agree to share their experiences with the young woman, who is an aspiring writer. The book offers a poignant and humorous look at the complex relationships between these women, while also exploring the racial tensions and social changes of the era.

    The 2194th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. Home by Marilynne Robinson

    "Home" is a deeply emotional narrative that explores the themes of faith, redemption, and the complexity of family relationships. The story revolves around the Boughton family, particularly the prodigal son, Jack, who returns home after twenty years. His struggle to fit into the family and society, and his sister Glory's attempts to help him, form the crux of the story. The book delves into their past, revealing secrets and regrets, and provides a profound reflection on love, loss, and forgiveness.

    The 2425th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Empire Falls by Richard Russo

    "Empire Falls" is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel that explores the life of Miles Roby, a man who has spent his entire life in a decaying, blue-collar town in Maine. Miles, a kind-hearted man, runs the Empire Grill, a local diner, and dreams of escaping the town and his manipulative, wealthy boss. The novel delves into the complex relationships and social dynamics of the town, examining themes of love, loss, and the economic decline of small-town America.

    The 3646th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

    The book is a profound exploration of love, loyalty, and justice, centered on a young African American couple whose lives are shattered when the husband is wrongfully convicted of a crime he didn't commit. The narrative delves into the emotional turmoil that ensues, as the wife struggles with her obligations to her husband and her own desires for happiness. Through a series of letters exchanged between the couple during the husband's incarceration, and the perspectives of those entangled in their plight, the story examines the complexities of marriage, the impact of racial injustice on personal relationships, and the resilience required to overcome profound adversity.

    The 4148th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

    The book revolves around the Richardson family and the mysterious mother-daughter duo who move into their rental home in Shaker Heights, Ohio. The lives of the seemingly perfect suburban Richardson family become intertwined with the lives of Mia Warren, an enigmatic artist, and her daughter Pearl. As the children of both families form relationships, secrets are uncovered, leading to a dramatic climax. The novel explores themes of motherhood, identity, and the moral complexities of following rules versus following one's instincts.

    The 4372nd Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

    "Fates and Furies" is a novel split into two parts, providing two perspectives on a single marriage. The first half of the book, "Fates," is told from the point of view of the husband, Lotto, a charismatic but failed actor turned successful playwright, who views his marriage as happy and his wife as supportive. The second half, "Furies," is told from the perspective of his wife, Mathilde, revealing her hidden past and the sacrifices and manipulations she has performed to maintain their life together. The novel explores themes of love, secrets, and the different narratives created within a relationship.

    The 5418th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

    A nine-year-old boy named Oskar Schell embarks on a quest to solve the mystery behind a key he discovered in his deceased father's closet. His father died in the 9/11 attacks, and Oskar believes the key is a clue to a message his father left behind. As he explores all five boroughs of New York City, he encounters a diverse group of people, each with their own stories and struggles. The narrative is a poignant exploration of grief, loss, and the search for closure.

    The 5826th Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides

    This novel follows the intertwined lives of three college graduates in the 1980s. The story focuses on the romantic entanglements of Madeleine Hanna, an English major who is writing her senior thesis on Jane Austen and George Eliot, and her relationships with two men: Leonard Bankhead, a charismatic but troubled biology student, and Mitchell Grammaticus, a religious studies student who is in love with Madeleine. The narrative explores the complexities of love, mental illness, faith, and the relevance of the traditional marriage plot in a modern world.

    The 6432nd Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. Three Junes by Julia Glass

    "Three Junes" is a novel that explores the complexities of family relationships, love, and loss across three generations over the course of three Junes spanning a decade. The narrative primarily focuses on the life of a Scottish man and his two sons, one gay and living in New York, the other in a failing marriage. The novel is divided into three parts, each set in a different June and each from a different character's perspective, providing a rich and nuanced portrait of the characters' interconnected lives.

    The 6545th Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud

    This novel follows the lives of three friends in their thirties living in New York City in the months leading up to and following the September 11 attacks. All children of privilege, they struggle with their careers, love lives, and identities against the backdrop of a changing world. The narrative explores themes of entitlement, disillusionment, and the often complicated nature of adult friendships.

    The 6732nd Greatest Book of All Time
  17. 17. The Lay Of The Land by Richard Ford

    "The Lay of the Land" by Richard Ford follows the life of Frank Bascombe, a middle-aged man living in New Jersey. The novel takes place over the course of Thanksgiving weekend in 2000 and explores Frank's relationships with his ex-wife, his girlfriend, and his children. As Frank navigates through his personal struggles, he also grapples with the changing landscape of America and the impact it has on his identity. The novel is a poignant reflection on the complexities of human relationships and the search for meaning in a constantly evolving world.

    The 7041st Greatest Book of All Time
  18. 18. Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

    "Everything I Never Told You" is a gripping and emotionally charged novel that delves into the complexities of a Chinese-American family living in 1970s Ohio. When their daughter Lydia goes missing and is later found dead, the Lee family is shattered by grief and forced to confront their own secrets and insecurities. As they navigate through their individual struggles, the novel explores themes of identity, race, and the pressures of societal expectations, painting a poignant portrait of a family on the brink of collapse.

    The 7954th Greatest Book of All Time
  19. 19. My Name Is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

    The novel is a deeply moving exploration of the complex relationship between a mother and daughter. The protagonist, Lucy Barton, is recovering from a surgery in a New York hospital when she is visited by her estranged mother. Over the course of several days, they share stories from their past, revealing their troubled family history, poverty, and abuse. As Lucy grapples with her own identity and struggles to understand her mother, she also reflects on her own experiences as a wife and mother, her desire to become a writer, and her battle with a mysterious illness. Through their conversations, the two women attempt to reconcile their past and their relationship.

    The 8078th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. The New Yorker Stories by Ann Beattie

    "The New Yorker Stories" is a collection of Ann Beattie's short stories previously published in The New Yorker magazine. The stories explore the complexities of human relationships, often with a focus on middle-class suburban life. Beattie's prose is sharp and insightful, delving into the inner workings of her characters' minds and emotions. The collection spans several decades, showcasing Beattie's evolution as a writer and her enduring relevance in the literary world.

    The 8124th Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. Eventide by Kent Haruf

    Set in the small town of Holt, Colorado, the novel delves into the lives of the aging McPheron brothers as they grapple with the loneliness and challenges of rural life after their surrogate daughter leaves for college. Simultaneously, the story follows a struggling young mother as she battles to keep her family together amidst poverty and social services intervention. The narrative weaves together the experiences of these characters and others in the community, painting a poignant and realistic portrait of small-town existence, with its interwoven relationships and the enduring human capacity for resilience and connection in the face of hardship.

    The 8376th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer

    The novel delves into the complex dynamics of a long marriage between a celebrated novelist and his wife, who has put aside her own literary talents to support her husband's career. As they travel to Helsinki for him to receive a prestigious award, the wife reflects on their shared history, her sacrifices, and the secrets they both keep. Her internal journey comes to a head as she grapples with her identity, the power imbalances in their relationship, and the decision of whether to continue in her role or step out of her husband's shadow to seek her own voice and independence.

    The 8508th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg

    The novel follows the life of a 39-year-old single, childfree woman living in New York City who is dealing with the societal pressures and expectations of adulthood. Her journey is marked by her struggle to find happiness and fulfillment in her own terms, despite her unconventional lifestyle. The protagonist grapples with her relationships, career, and the looming presence of her family's tragedies, all while trying to understand what it truly means to be "all grown up".

    The 9358th Greatest Book of All Time
  24. 24. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

    "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett is a novel that tells the story of twin sisters, Desiree and Stella, who grow up in a small, southern black community in the 1950s and 60s. After running away from home at the age of 16, Stella decides to pass as white and marries a wealthy white man, while Desiree returns to their hometown with her dark-skinned daughter. The novel explores themes of identity, race, family, and the consequences of choices made in the past. As the sisters' lives diverge, their daughters' paths cross, and secrets are revealed, ultimately leading to a powerful and emotional conclusion.

    The 9546th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. A Spool Of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

    The novel delves into the complex dynamics of the Whitshank family, spanning across four generations, living in Baltimore, Maryland. The narrative weaves through time, unraveling the family's secrets, rivalries, and bonds as it focuses on Abby and Red, the aging parents, and their children who grapple with their own identities and relationships. The story explores themes of legacy, memory, and the nuanced fabric of familial love, all symbolized by the titular spool of blue thread, which holds sentimental value and represents the threads of stories that connect the family members to each other and to their shared past.

    The 9689th Greatest Book of All Time

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


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.