The Greatest Australian "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 264 '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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  1. 1. True History of the Kelly Gang by Peter Carey

    This historical novel is a fictionalized account of the life of Australian outlaw Ned Kelly, told in the form of a journal written to his daughter. The narrative explores Kelly's life from childhood, his family's struggles with poverty and the law, his involvement in horse thievery, and his eventual formation of the Kelly Gang. The story culminates with the gang's infamous standoff with the police at Glenrowan, providing a humanizing perspective on a figure often portrayed as a ruthless criminal.

  2. 2. My Brilliant Career by Miles Franklin

    The book follows the story of a headstrong and ambitious young woman named Sybylla, who dreams of escaping her rural life and becoming a writer. Set in late 19th century Australia, Sybylla faces societal expectations and struggles with her own desires for independence and self-expression. As she navigates through love, family, and societal pressures, Sybylla's journey becomes a reflection of the challenges faced by women in a patriarchal society, ultimately questioning the sacrifices one must make to pursue their dreams.

  3. 3. Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

    The novel follows the life of a convicted Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escapes from prison and flees to India. Settling in the bustling city of Mumbai, he assumes a new identity and immerses himself in the local culture, forming a close bond with the people in a slum. As he navigates his new environment, he becomes entangled in various criminal activities, including running a free health clinic, working for the Bombay mafia, and fighting in Afghanistan. Throughout his journey, he grapples with love, forgiveness, and his quest for redemption, all while exploring themes of good and evil, friendship, and the complexities of the human spirit.

  4. 4. The Arrival by Shaun Tan

    "The Arrival" is a wordless graphic novel that tells the story of a man who leaves his troubled homeland to seek a better life in an unknown country. The man's journey is filled with strange, surreal experiences as he navigates a new culture, language, and way of life, all while missing his family. The book explores themes of immigration, displacement, and hope in a beautifully illustrated, silent narrative.

  5. 5. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty

    In a seemingly idyllic beachside town, three women's lives become entangled when their children start kindergarten. As the school year progresses, secrets, lies, and betrayals slowly unravel, leading to a shocking incident that will change their lives forever. With a mix of humor, suspense, and poignant moments, this gripping novel explores the complexities of motherhood, friendship, and the consequences of keeping secrets.

  6. 6. Carry Me Down by M.J. Hyland

    The novel is a coming-of-age story about a young boy named John Egan who lives in Ireland with his parents. John possesses an unusual gift for detecting lies, which he believes makes him a "human lie detector." As he navigates the complexities of adolescence, his family's financial struggles, and his own emotional turmoil, John's unique ability begins to cause more harm than good. The story explores themes of truth, deception, and the lengths one will go to preserve self-identity.

  7. 7. The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard

    "The Great Fire" is a historical novel set in the aftermath of World War II. The story follows a British war hero, Aldred Leith, who is sent to occupied Japan to research the effects of the war on the country's culture. During his stay, he falls in love with a young girl, Helen, who is the daughter of the Australian camp commander. Despite the age difference and societal expectations, the two form a deep bond. The book explores themes of love, war, cultural change, and personal transformation.

  8. 8. Rules Of Summer by Shaun Tan

    "Rules of Summer" is a visually stunning and thought-provoking picture book that explores the complex relationship between two young boys during their summer vacation. Through a series of surreal and imaginative illustrations, the book delves into themes of friendship, power dynamics, and the unspoken rules that govern their interactions. With its rich imagery and open-ended narrative, "Rules of Summer" invites readers to reflect on the nuances of human relationships and the lessons learned during the season of growth and change.

  9. 9. The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas

    "The Slap" is a thought-provoking novel that explores the repercussions of a single incident at a suburban barbecue. When a man slaps a misbehaving child who is not his own, it sets off a chain of events that unravels the lives of the characters involved. Told from multiple perspectives, the book delves into themes of family, morality, and the complexities of modern society, challenging readers to question their own beliefs and values.

  10. 10. Harsh Cry Of The Heron. Lian Hearn by Lian Hearn

    Set in a mythical, feudal Japanese land, this novel is the epic conclusion to a renowned saga where the protagonist, now a revered leader, faces treachery and insurrection. As he grapples with the looming threat of war and the prophecy of his own downfall, the tale weaves a rich tapestry of honor, betrayal, and the complexities of human destiny. With the arrival of strange ships from foreign lands and the emergence of a vengeful son, the intricate balance of power and peace is threatened, leading to a dramatic struggle that resonates with the harsh cry of the heron.

  11. 11. Dirt Music by Tim Winton

    The novel explores the entangled lives of a small, tight-knit community in Western Australia, where the past and personal grief weigh heavily on the present. It centers on the illicit romance between Georgie Jutland, a woman feeling trapped in her relationship with a local fisherman, and Lu Fox, a poacher with a troubled history. Their connection sets off a chain of events that disrupts the community and sends Lu on a transformative journey into the remote Australian wilderness. As the narrative unfolds, the characters grapple with their inner demons, the harsh realities of love and survival, and the redemptive power of nature and music.

  12. 12. Deltora Quest Series by Emily Rodda

    The series is a collection of fantasy novels that follow the journey of a young boy named Lief, who is tasked with finding the seven lost gems of the Belt of Deltora. Accompanied by his companions Barda and Jasmine, he must travel across the land of Deltora, facing numerous challenges and adversaries, in order to restore the belt's magical properties and overthrow the tyrannical rule of the Shadow Lord. Each gem is hidden in a perilous location and guarded by a fearsome guardian, requiring courage, wit, and perseverance to be retrieved. The quest is not only a physical adventure but also a journey of self-discovery for the heroes as they learn the importance of friendship, trust, and bravery.

  13. 13. Rage by Steve Gerlach

    "Rage" is a chilling psychological thriller that delves into the darkest corners of the human psyche. The narrative follows the life of a man who, after experiencing a traumatic event, finds himself on a relentless quest for vengeance. His journey is marked by a transformation from an everyday individual into a person consumed by anger and a desire for retribution. As he descends further into his own personal hell, the lines between justice and revenge blur, leading to a gripping and harrowing exploration of the consequences of unbridled rage and the impact it has on one's soul and the world around them.

  14. 14. Cafe Scheherazade by Arnold Zable

    "Cafe Scheherazade" is a poignant narrative that weaves together the stories of Jewish Holocaust survivors who have found a haven in a Melbourne cafe, where they share their harrowing experiences and the tales of their pasts. The cafe becomes a place of solace and storytelling, where memories of love, loss, and endurance amidst the horrors of war are exchanged. Through the recounting of personal histories, the novel explores themes of displacement, the importance of community, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable adversity.

  15. 15. Boyz Rule by Phil Kettle

    "Boyz Rule" is a children's book series that delves into the adventures and misadventures of a group of boys as they navigate the trials and tribulations of childhood. The stories are filled with humor and the spirit of camaraderie, focusing on themes like friendship, sportsmanship, and the various challenges that come with growing up. Each book in the series typically centers around a specific activity or event, from sports competitions to school projects, and showcases the boys working together, often learning valuable life lessons along the way.

  16. 16. Scarecrow by Matthew Reilly

    In this high-octane thriller, the protagonist, an elite intelligence operative known by his codename, navigates a world brimming with danger and betrayal. After being falsely accused of a horrendous crime, he becomes the target of a global bounty hunt, forcing him to evade capture by bounty hunters and international special forces alike. As he fights to clear his name and uncover the true culprits behind the conspiracy, he must also contend with a series of high-stakes missions that take him across the world. The narrative is a relentless race against time, packed with explosive action and intricate plot twists that keep the reader on the edge of their seat from start to finish.

  17. 17. Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

    "Tender Morsels" is a dark and evocative fantasy novel that explores themes of trauma, healing, and the complexities of human emotion. The story follows Liga, a young woman who, after enduring unspeakable abuse, escapes to a parallel world where she can raise her daughters in peace, away from the horrors of her past. However, the barrier between her safe haven and the real world begins to weaken, and the intrusion of outsiders threatens the sanctuary she has created. As her daughters grow and encounter the challenges of their own desires and the allure of the harsher, real world, the novel delves into the difficult journey of confronting pain, the power of resilience, and the bittersweet process of letting go for the sake of growth and transformation.

  18. 18. The Lost Man by Jane Harper

    In the unforgiving Australian outback, the death of a middle brother brings the surviving family members together to confront their complex relationships and secrets. The intense heat and isolation of the landscape serve as a backdrop to the unraveling mystery of the man's death, revealing deep-seated family tensions and hidden truths. As they delve into the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, the family must navigate their personal grief and suspicions, ultimately uncovering shocking revelations that challenge their understanding of loyalty, love, and survival. The novel masterfully combines elements of a family drama with a suspenseful mystery, creating a compelling narrative that explores the depths of human emotions and the harsh realities of life in the remote Australian wilderness.

  19. 19. Coming Rain by Stephen Daisley

    "Coming Rain" is a poignant and atmospheric novel set in the harsh Australian outback during the early 20th century. The story follows two vastly different characters, a young woman named Billy and an itinerant horse breaker named Tull, whose lives intersect in unexpected ways. As they navigate the unforgiving landscape, facing personal demons and confronting the brutal realities of their world, they find solace and connection in each other. With evocative prose and vivid descriptions, the book explores themes of love, loss, and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

  20. 20. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

    In this delightful romantic comedy, Lucy and Joshua are co-workers who despise each other. Constantly engaged in a battle of wits and pranks, their intense rivalry begins to blur the lines between love and hate. As they compete for a promotion, their relationship takes unexpected turns, revealing hidden feelings and a deeper connection. With a mix of humor, chemistry, and undeniable attraction, "The Hating Game" explores the thin line between love and hate in a workplace setting.

  21. 21. The Idea Of Perfection by Kate Grenville

    "The Idea of Perfection" is a charming and heartfelt novel that follows two unlikely individuals, Harley and Douglas, as they navigate their own personal struggles in the small town of Karakarook. Harley, a self-conscious engineer, finds solace in her love for heritage bridges, while Douglas, a divorced museum curator, battles his fear of change. As their paths intertwine, they embark on an unexpected journey of self-discovery, challenging societal expectations and embracing imperfections along the way. With wit and warmth, the author explores the complexities of human relationships and the pursuit of perfection in a quirky and endearing tale.

  22. 22. Frogkisser by Garth Nix

    "Frogkisser" by Garth Nix is a whimsical fairy tale about a young princess named Anya who is tasked with saving her kingdom from an evil sorcerer. Along the way, she must go on a quest to gather magical items and enlist the help of various creatures, including talking dogs and a transformed prince who has been turned into a frog. With humor and heart, Anya learns the true meaning of bravery, friendship, and what it means to be a hero.

  23. 23. The Animals In That Country by Laura Jean McKay

    "The Animals In That Country" by Laura Jean McKay is a gripping and thought-provoking novel set in a near-future Australia. The story follows Jean, a foul-mouthed and alcoholic grandmother, who discovers she has the ability to understand the language of animals after contracting a mysterious virus. As a deadly pandemic spreads across the country, Jean embarks on a journey with a dingo named Sue to find her pregnant daughter and escape the chaos. McKay skillfully explores themes of communication, human-animal relationships, and the fragile nature of society, creating a compelling narrative that challenges our perception of the world around us.

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.