In 2017, I published a roundup list of The 105 Best Philosophical Novels. Obviously, several new philosophical novels were released since that list came out. In order to keep my list up-to-date, I am releasing annual rankings of the best philosophical fiction published each year. Here are the best philosophical novels of 2019 based on curated lists from The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly and more, suggestions from readers on Goodreads, and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon.
To complement these rankings, I have created two pieces of bonus content:
- Philosophical fiction recommendations from thirteen contemporary philosophical fiction authors like Blake Crouch (author of the number three book on this year’s list), Daniel Quinn and Khaled Hosseini.
- A one-page PDF shopping guide to the complete list of The Best Philosophical Novels.
You can access both of these free resources using the form below. And now, on with The Best Philosophical Fiction of 2019!
5. The Far Field by Madhuri Vijay
A privileged young woman from Bangalore journeys to a remote Himalayan village in Kashmir to investigate her mother’s death in this sweeping novel about Indian history, politics, class prejudice, sexuality, grief and guilt. The Far Field won the JCB Prize for Literature, awarded to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer, and was listed by The Washington Post and Publishers Weekly as one of the best fiction books of the year.
4. The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo
As a young servant boy searches for his dead master’s long lost finger, his quest intertwines with a dancer and dressmaker’s apprentice caught up in a dark adventure involving a series of unexplained deaths and men turning into tigers. Choo’s tale of class relations, superstition and idealism was a semifinalist in the Historical Fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards and was named one of the best Literature and Fiction books of the year by Amazon’s editors.
3. Recursion by Blake Crouch
A neuroscientist and a New York City detective investigate an epidemic that drives people insane with memories of a life they never lived in this dizzying exploration of identity, consciousness and time. Recursion was named the best Science Fiction book of the year in the Goodreads Choice Awards and one of the top books of 2019 by TIME Magazine, NPR and Book Riot.Click here to download book recommendations from Blake Crouch and several other philosophical fiction authors.
2. Mrs. Everything by Jennifer Weiner
The lives of two sisters take diverging paths against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and the women’s liberation movement in Weiner’s ambitious examination of identity, gender and society. Mrs. Everything was a semifinalist in the Historical Fiction category of the Goodreads Choice Awards and was named one of 2019’s best works of fiction by Amazon and The Washington Post.
1. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Moving forward and backward in time, Red at the Bone follows two urban black families and examines how an unplanned teenage pregnancy has affected three generations. Woodson’s novel of race, class, ambition and identity was named one of the best fiction books of the year by Amazon and The Washington Post and was a Fiction finalist in the Goodreads Choice Awards.