The Best Philosophical Novels of 2023

Nearly seven years ago, I published my list of The 105 Best Philosophical Novels. To account for the great philosophical novels coming out each year, here is the latest addendum to my original list. Based on curated lists from The New York Times, The Guardian, Publishers Weekly and more, suggestions from readers on Goodreads, and ratings on Goodreads and Amazon, these four philosophical novels stood out as the best of 2023.

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4. The Future by Naomi Alderman

Two women join forces in a daring heist to save the world from billionaire tech giants. Alderman’s novel follows in the footsteps of all-time classics like The Handmaid’s Tale, Brave New World and 1984 by making my lists of both the best philosophical and the best dystopian novels of 2023.

3. Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

The father in a tight-knit Korean-American family goes missing in this thrilling mystery that explores questions of love, language and human connection. Amazon named Happiness Falls one of the best mystery, thriller and suspense books of 2023.

Cover images of the best philosophical novels of 2023

2. North Woods by Daniel Mason

Starting with two young lovers who have fled from a Puritan colony, Mason’s novel traces the successive inhabitants of a single New England woodland cabin and explores how they connect to their environment, to history and to one another. The New York Times called North Woods one of the best books of 2023, and Amazon and Publishers Weekly listed it among the top fiction books of the year.

1. Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

A struggling novelist witnesses her successful rival’s death and publishes the dead woman’s latest manuscript as her own. Kuang’s timely novel addresses questions of diversity, racism and cultural appropriation, as well as the alienating effects of social media. Amazon called Yellowface one of the best fiction books of the year, and it won the Goodreads Choice Award for fiction.