You loved The Bee Sting, so what's next? If you haven't already read it, Murray's 2010 Booker-prize nominated coming-of-age classic is set in an all-boys boarding school where a group of friends is reeling from the mysterious death of their pal Skippy. What led to his collapse is the endpoint of a hilarious journey that takes in the usual teenage boy concerns of weed and porn, as well as World War I, influencers, and the rest of the great big world waiting to devour their adult selves. This is a heart-rending but also eye-wateringly funny masterpiece.
Rife with paranoia and operating where technology and mythology collide, Incarnation is a new kind of thriller. But the search for a mysterious artefact whose record of "the perfect movement" promises to change everything, leads to a nightmare world where gesture is on the verge of being copyrighted and human passion is subsumed by what we do rather than who we are. McCarthy pairs this thematic ingenuity with a prose style of Ballardian smoothness and Pynchonian playfulness that may herald the literature of the future.
For anyone who reads it, The Labyrinth of Inhumanity becomes an obsession. Its mythical author, T.C. Elimane, vanished decades ago in a cloud of very French scandal, and Mbougar Sarr's audacious novel sets his young fanboy narrator after him on a winding odyssey across continents. Like the mysterious book at its center, Most Secret Memory, which won the thirtysomething Senegalese author the 2021 Goncourt Prize, is a fierce, lyrical, and powerful monument to the redemptive power of literature at its very finest, and a novel one will never forget, let this one work its magic.