Novellas in November #NovNov23 Week 1: My Year in Novellas

Hot on the heels of My Year in Nonfiction for nonfiction November, comes my post for week 1 of Novellas in November hosted by Rebecca and Cathy and in similar vein, it’s ‘My Year in Novellas’.

I’ve read 24/102 books that fall into the novella category (including short NF) – well okay a couple of them were slightly over 200 pages, but either had enough white spaces or huge font sizes to bring their word count into spec. Balancing that two were longish short stories at around the 50 page mark. I’m going to include them all!

I began the year with four Nordic novellas for my Nordic FINDS reading month. The two modern classics, The Birds by Tarjei Vesaas and The True Deceiver by Tove Jansson both getting top marks for me.

After that, I continued to read some fiction novella gems and these all scored 10/10 too: Claire Keegan’s poignant Foster, through Gwendoline Riley’s biting My Phantoms, then the jazz of Viper’s Dream by Jake Lamar, and most recently A Little Luck by Argentinian author Claudia Pineiro.

There were several works of short nonfiction but they are covered in my previous post.

Several other fiction novellas are worth mentioning in particular: I found Russell Hoban’s Kleinzeit so zany, The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin crammed so much into 139 pages, and stood up to a 21st century reading, Skin Deep by Antonia Lassa, from the Spanish and set in France introduced a wonderful protagonist.

These are my novella highlights from the year so far.

Have you read any of them?

What are your recommendations?

I shall finish with a plug for my own November reading week…

From Nov 18-26 it’s Reading Beryl 2023. Many of Bainbridge’s novels are novella length, so I hope that you will join in with me to celebrate a beloved author.

25 thoughts on “Novellas in November #NovNov23 Week 1: My Year in Novellas

  1. Jessica Harper says:

    I’ve read The Stepford Wives and loved it. My friend raves about This Perfect Day, also by Ira Levin, but that’s more full length. I’ll have to dust off my lovely musty 70s copy of it.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I don’t know This Perfect Day, but I do have a couple of other Levins (incl Rosemary’s Baby) on the shelves.

  2. Rebecca Foster says:

    Wow, novellas are nearly a quarter of your reading! I can’t get over how much that cover image on the Vesaas looks like Prince Harry. I need to get The True Deceiver back out of the library.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I don’t the eyes are quite right, but there is a Harryness to him otherwise! The True Deceiver was super – and quite thought-provoking on who was manipulating whom. (Loving the Price & Dickens by the way as you predicted.)

  3. Karen says:

    I loved Foster by Keegan as well! I’ve just added a few of these titles to my TBR – The Birds by Vesaas, The True Deceiver by Jansson, and A Little Luck by Pineiro.

  4. Brona's Books says:

    I already had Viper’s Dream on my radar thanks to your nonficnov post about the Hannah Rothschild book, but now also adding A Little Luck | Claudia Pineiro since you have her book up there with both Gwendoline Riley & Claire Keegan – two of my favourite novella writers.

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I’ve got Riley’s previous novella in the piles I think. The Pineiro and Lamar were both so good – I hope you enjoy if you get a copies.

  5. Claire 'Word by Word' says:

    The True Deceiver was excellent and quite different from Tove Jansson’s essays I thought. I read Foster many years ago and remember being quite affected by it.

    A Little Luck by Claudia Piñeiro I thought was a stunning read, starting out mysteriously and then so psychologically taut.

    I’ve read quite a few from the Charco Press bundle this year which are probably novellas, The Remains by Margot Glantz was really original, Two Sherpas extremely thought provoking, The Delivery by Margarita García Robayo quite a page turner and the most recent novella I read was Natalia Ginzburg’s The Dry Heart, also excellent!

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      I’ve got The Delivery on my pile if I have time, I’ve heard good things about it. Charco are on a good run at the moment.

  6. Bronwen Griffiths says:

    Thanks for these recommendations. I love to read a novella. Enjoyed both ‘The Birds’ and ‘Foster.’ I recommend ‘The Expedition to the Baobab Tree’ by Wilma Stockenstrom, translated by J.M. Coetzee – it’s 113 pages so I think it counts as a novella. And ‘The Patience Stone’ by Atiq Rahimi, which won the Goncourt Prize (135 pages)

    • AnnaBookBel says:

      It is a wonderful novella. Emotionally wringing but very thought-provoking and ultimately uplifting as well as being beautifully written.

  7. Liz Dexter says:

    A nice selection. I’m horribly behind with NonFiction November blog posts but am glad I have picked up some NovNov ones including yours. I have read one novella already and two to go, this week, but I do tend to save them up for November!

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