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Best Of The Best

The Best Books of 2002

December 08, 2002|Steve Wasserman

It is a pleasure to recommend to readers a clutch of books published in the last year that we found exemplary. Any such list is subjective, even idiosyncratic, of course, since it is impossible to read every worthy book that beckons. We are nonetheless promiscuous readers whose greatest delight is to happen upon a story or subject we had no idea we were interested in but which, in the hands of a gifted and graceful author, proves compelling and unforgettable. Or, alternatively, to have an author complicate a subject we thought we already knew, challenging us to think harder and more deeply. Here, in alphabetical order by author, are 10 works of fiction and 10 of nonfiction that are among the many works that afforded the greatest pleasure and helped us see the world with fresh eyes.

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FICTION

The Book of Illusions, Paul Auster, Henry Holt

Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in 12 Fish, Richard Flanagan, Grove Press

Everything Is Illuminated, Jonathan Safran Foer, Houghton Mifflin

The Crazed, Ha Jin, Pantheon

Man Walks Into a Room, Nicole Krauss, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

Iceland, Jim Krusoe, Dalkey Archive Press

Ignorance, Milan Kundera, HarperCollins

Atonement, Ian McEwan, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday

The Collected Stories of Joseph Roth, Joseph Roth, W.W. Norton

The Cave, Jose Saramago, Harcourt

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NONFICTION

Cuba Confidential: Love and Vengeance in Miami and Havana, Ann Louise Bardach, Random House

The Country Under My Skin: A Memoir of Love and War, Gioconda Belli, Alfred A. Knopf

Selected Essays, John Berger, Pantheon

Charles Darwin: The Power of Place, Janet Browne, Alfred A. Knopf

War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, Chris Hedges, PublicAffairs

In the Devil's Snare: The Salem Witchcraft Crisis of 1692, Mary Beth Norton, Alfred A. Knopf

A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis, David Rieff, Simon & Schuster

The Truth About Babies, Ian Sansom, Granta Books

Nonrequired Reading, Wislawa Szymborska, Harcourt

Writing Los Angeles, Edited by David L. Ulin, Library of America

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