If you did then you get lots of admiration from me! These novels have been on the New York Times bestseller lists for weeks but haven't managed to cut through in Australia - they should have topped the charts.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
Set during WWII the story follows a young blind girl caught in the Nazi occupation of France and a German boy who both end up caught in the siege of Saint Malo in Brittany. An absolutely delightful novel, rich in detail and with sweeping interlocking storylines that beautifully captures the universality of the human condition. Booklist called it: "a novel to live in, learn from and feel bereft over after the last page is turned". Truly a novel to savour.
We Are Not Ourselves by Matthew Thomas
Covering the life of one American family from 1950s to present day New York, this novel is an extraordinary debut with the feel of a classic. What stood out for me was the emotional punch Thomas delivers from ordinary characters in ordinary circumstances. Just the chronicling of the main character Eileen's hopes and expectations and the extraordinary pressure that one generation can place on the next rings true and I think most will relate to one element or another of this story. I felt deep sorrow whilst reading this book, but never hopelessness. Beautiful.