There are few things better than receiving a good book for Christmas. Socialist Worker suggests some of the best novels of the year. They are all available from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go to » www.bookmarksbookshop.co.uk
Zugzwang – by Ronan Bennett
This fast-paced novel is set in St Petersburg in 1914. The city is brimming with schemes, double crossing and revolutionary ferment.
The mysterious murder of a young political activist leads to a Jewish doctor being dragged into a plot that is part murder mystery part political thriller. It is a gripping novel of hope and betrayal.
Exit Music – by Ian Rankin
Ian Rankin explores the darker side of Edinburgh like no other writer. This is a fitting final novel in the Inspector Rebus series.
Rebus is on the verge of retirement and out to solve the murder of a dissident Russian poet.
A book with plenty of twists, some great characters and a few sharp words about Scottish politicians.
The White Tiger – by Aravind Adiga
A funny and moving tale of impoverished servant Balram Halwai’s attempts to join the ranks of India’s entrepreneurs.
The novel, which won this year’s Booker prize for fiction, illuminates the contradictions and class divide at the heart of India’s much praised capitalist boom.
Carpentaria – by Alexis Wright
Alexis Wright is an Aboriginal activist in Australia. Her wonderful new novel uses “magical realism” or dreamtime to explore the experience of indigenous people marginalised in modern Australia.
It is set in a small town in the north where a confrontation looms with the local industrial complex.
Taxi – by Khaled al-Khamissi
Taxi takes the reader on over 50 short journeys in the back of Cairo’s taxis. The drivers of the city are full of jokes and wisdom.
The frustrations of the taxi drivers are many – from battling the corruption of the state to paying for food and education.