The Greatest Irish, British "Fiction, Family" 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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The "Family" category of books encompasses stories that revolve around the dynamics, relationships, and experiences of families. These books explore the complexities of familial bonds, including love, loyalty, conflict, and forgiveness. They may focus on different types of families, such as nuclear families, blended families, or extended families, and may cover a range of themes, from coming-of-age tales to domestic dramas. Overall, the "Family" category offers a rich and diverse collection of books that delve into the joys and challenges of family life.

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  1. 1. White Teeth by Zadie Smith

    This novel follows the lives of two friends, a working-class Englishman and a Bangladeshi Muslim, living in London. The story explores the complex relationships between people of different races, cultures, and generations in modern Britain, with themes of identity, immigration, and the cultural and social changes that have shaped the country. The narrative is enriched by the characters' personal histories and the historical events that have shaped their lives.

    The 247th Greatest Book of All Time
  2. 2. Atonement by Ian McEwan

    Atonement is a powerful novel that explores the consequences of a young girl's false accusation. The narrative follows the lives of three characters, the accuser, her older sister, and the sister's lover, who is wrongly accused. This false accusation irrevocably alters their lives, leading to the accused's imprisonment and eventual enlistment in World War II, while the sisters grapple with guilt, estrangement, and their own personal growth. The novel is a profound exploration of guilt, forgiveness, and the destructive power of misinterpretation.

    The 272nd Greatest Book of All Time
  3. 3. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon

    This novel follows a 15-year-old boy with autism as he tries to solve the mystery of who killed his neighbor's dog. Along the way, he uncovers other secrets about his family and must navigate the world using his unique perspective and abilities. The book offers an insightful look into the mind of a character with autism, highlighting his struggles and triumphs in a compelling and empathetic way.

    The 1158th Greatest Book of All Time
  4. 4. Small Island by Andrea Levy

    "Small Island" is a historical novel that explores the intertwined histories of Jamaica and the UK, as well as the themes of race, empire, and migration. The story is set in 1948 and is told from four different perspectives: two Jamaican immigrants, Hortense and Gilbert, who move to England after World War II, and an English couple, Queenie and Bernard. The narrative explores the racial tension, discrimination, and culture shock that the immigrants face in their new home, while also delving into the complexities of war, identity, and the British Empire.

    The 1402nd Greatest Book of All Time
  5. 5. On Beauty by Zadie Smith

    This novel is a contemporary, multicultural exploration of family life, love, and identity. It follows the lives of two mixed-race families, the Belseys and the Kipps, who are linked by their shared professions in academia and a complex web of marital and extramarital relationships. The story is set against the backdrop of Wellington, a fictional New England town, and explores themes of race, class, and cultural clash. It also delves into the world of academia, examining the politics and conflicts that arise in that environment.

    The 1947th Greatest Book of All Time
  6. 6. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

    A 12-year-old genius and criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl, kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short, for a large ransom of gold with the help of his bodyguard, Butler, to restore his family's fortune. In the process, he discovers an underground world of armed and dangerous fairies. The fairies fight back with magic, cunning, and technological weapons leading to a high-stakes battle of wits.

    The 2196th Greatest Book of All Time
  7. 7. Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo

    The novel is a vibrant portrayal of the lives of twelve different characters, primarily black British women, spanning over a century. Each character has their own unique story, tackling issues such as feminism, politics, sexuality, and identity. The narrative is a blend of poetry and prose, exploring the interconnected lives of these women and their personal struggles and triumphs. It is a powerful exploration of race, gender, and the changing face of Britain.

    The 2946th Greatest Book of All Time
  8. 8. The Children's Book by A. S. Byatt

    "The Children's Book" is a historical novel that explores the lives of several families, primarily the Wellwoods, from the end of the Victorian era through World War I. The story delves into the complex relationships between parents and children, the influence of storytelling, and the impact of political and social changes on personal lives. It also portrays the struggles of women's suffrage, socialism, and the arts and crafts movement. The narrative is intricately woven with fairy tales and myths, reflecting the characters' inner lives and the era's cultural milieu.

    The 3440th Greatest Book of All Time
  9. 9. Old Filth by Jane Gardam

    The novel follows the life of Sir Edward Feathers, a successful but emotionally stunted barrister, who is known by the nickname "Old Filth" (Failed in London, Try Hong Kong). The protagonist's life is traced from his birth in Malaya, his upbringing in Wales, to his successful law career in Hong Kong, and retirement in England. The narrative explores themes of love, loss, and the lasting effects of the British Empire, while revealing the personal history and emotional landscape of a man who has spent his life avoiding introspection and emotional connections.

    The 3748th Greatest Book of All Time
  10. 10. Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell

    "Hamnet" is a deeply moving and beautifully written historical novel that reimagines the life of a young boy, Hamnet, who is the son of a glovemaker in Stratford-upon-Avon. The boy tragically dies at the age of 11, which leaves a profound impact on his family, particularly his father, who is inspired to write one of the world's most famous plays. The narrative alternates between the time leading up to Hamnet's death and the aftermath, providing an intimate portrait of grief, love, and the power of art.

    The 4115th Greatest Book of All Time
  11. 11. Brick Lane by Monica Ali

    This novel tells the story of a Bangladeshi woman named Nazneen who moves to London at the age of 18 for an arranged marriage to a man 20 years her senior. The narrative explores her life in the city, her struggles with her unhappy marriage, her affair with a young radical, and her attempts to reconcile her traditional upbringing with her new surroundings. The book also explores the lives of immigrants in the UK, the clash of cultures, and the struggle for identity.

    The 4185th Greatest Book of All Time
  12. 12. Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

    "Days Without End" is a historical fiction novel that follows the life of an Irish immigrant who enlists in the U.S. Army in the 1850s. The protagonist's experiences include fighting in the Indian Wars and the Civil War, as well as falling in love with a fellow soldier. The novel explores themes of identity, love, and survival in a brutal and unforgiving era of American history.

    The 4458th Greatest Book of All Time
  13. 13. Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

    "Home Fire" is a contemporary reimagining of Sophocles' Antigone set against the backdrop of modern-day London and Syria. The novel explores the lives of five characters caught in a complex web of love, loyalty, and sacrifice. The story revolves around two British-Pakistani families, each struggling with their own dilemmas related to identity, radicalism, and loyalty. One family is headed by a powerful politician who disowns his jihadist son, while the other consists of three orphaned siblings whose lives are turned upside down when their brother is accused of joining ISIS. The novel explores the consequences of their actions, questioning the extent to which one can go for love and loyalty.

    The 4693rd Greatest Book of All Time
  14. 14. At Last by Edward St Aubyn

    "At Last" is the final installment in a five-part series that follows the life of a man from a dysfunctional, upper-class English family. The protagonist attends his mother's funeral, where he reflects on his traumatic childhood, filled with abuse and neglect, and his subsequent struggles with drug addiction. Throughout the day, he interacts with a host of characters from his past and present, leading to introspection and revelations about his life and relationships. The book presents a scathing critique of the British aristocracy, while also exploring themes of recovery, redemption, and the possibility of change.

    The 5009th Greatest Book of All Time
  15. 15. The Future Homemakers Of America by Laurie Graham

    The novel centers on a group of American military wives stationed with their husbands at an Air Force base in England during the 1950s. It follows their lives, friendships, and the challenges they face as they navigate cultural differences, personal dreams, and the shifting social landscape of the 20th century. Despite the varied paths their lives take over the years, the women share a bond that endures through love affairs, family strife, and societal changes, capturing the essence of an era and the enduring power of friendship.

    The 5191st Greatest Book of All Time
  16. 16. 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
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. 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
  19. 19. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman, Lenny Henry, Mónica Faerna

    "Anansi Boys" is a fantastical novel that follows the life of Fat Charlie Nancy, a mild-mannered man who is shocked to discover that his estranged father was the African spider god, Anansi. After his father's death, Fat Charlie's life is turned upside down when he meets his charming and charismatic brother, Spider, who has inherited their father's powers. As Spider begins to wreak havoc on Fat Charlie's life, the two brothers embark on a wild adventure through the spirit world, encountering gods, ghosts, and other supernatural beings along the way. With humor, heart, and a touch of magic, "Anansi Boys" is a thrilling and imaginative tale about family, identity, and the power of storytelling.

    The 5978th Greatest Book of All Time
  20. 20. That They May Face the Rising Sun by John McGahern

    This book tells the story of a couple who have moved from London to rural Ireland to live a quiet and peaceful life. Their days are filled with simple pleasures and the beauty of the natural world. However, their tranquility is occasionally disrupted by the complex relationships and struggles of their neighbors. The novel offers a deeply moving exploration of love, loss, and the relentless passage of time.

    The 6952nd Greatest Book of All Time
  21. 21. A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

    "A God in Ruins" is a novel that tells the story of Teddy Todd, a World War II bomber pilot, and his life before, during, and after the war. The narrative alternates between different time periods, exploring Teddy's childhood, his experiences in the war, and his later life as a husband, father, and grandfather. The book delves deep into the effects of war, the passage of time, and the complexities of family relationships, offering a poignant exploration of a man's life and the historical events that shape it.

    The 7254th Greatest Book of All Time
  22. 22. After You’d Gone by Maggie O'Farrell

    The novel revolves around a young woman named Alice Raikes, who, after an unexpected and traumatic event, slips into a coma. As she lies unconscious in a hospital, the narrative delves into her past, unraveling the complexities of her relationships with her family and her intense love affair. Through a series of flashbacks and the perspectives of different characters, the story explores themes of love, loss, and the intricate tapestry of human emotions that bind and separate us. The reader is taken on a poignant journey through Alice's life, uncovering the secrets and memories that led up to the fateful moment that changed everything.

    The 7505th Greatest Book of All Time
  23. 23. 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
  24. 24. Any Human Heart by William Boyd

    This novel unfolds as the intimate journal of Logan Mountstuart, chronicling his life from the early 20th century through to the end of the 1980s. Through the eyes of Mountstuart, readers experience the defining historical, cultural, and personal events of the century. From his youth in Uruguay to his education in England, his experiences in war, love, and loss, and his encounters with the century's great artists, writers, and thinkers, the narrative captures the essence of human experience. The protagonist's journey through the highs and lows of life, his successes and failures, and his reflections on the human condition, make this a deeply personal and universally resonant story.

    The 8164th Greatest Book of All Time
  25. 25. Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

    Mr. Fox is a novel about a writer who is challenged by his imaginary muse to stop killing off his female characters. This leads to a series of stories within stories, where reality and fantasy blur. The writer, his wife, and the muse navigate through these narratives, exploring themes of love, identity, and the power of storytelling. The novel is a mix of fairy tale, romance, and mystery, with a metafictional twist.

    The 8471st 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.