The Inquiring Reader
Discussing interesting writing and ideas

All Reviewed Novels

Unit of measurement: elephants per square pasta (we do the best we can).


  • 90

    Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy

    Blood Meridian is a harrowing, violent tale of a boy who joins a band of mercenaries hired to hunt and kill Apache Indians in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It is an epic novel conceived from historical memoirs that will haunt and inspire us both in its horror and in its beauty for ages to come.

  • 85

    The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Le Guin

    The Left Hand of Darkness is a wonderfully dense novel with layers and layers of beautifully imaginative landscapes, poignant social commentaries and political intrigue.

  • 82

    The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

    The Brothers Karamazov is an immense novel that takes place in an unfamiliar 19th century Russian countryside. But if the 21st century reader makes the effort to dive into its historical context and Dostoevsky's tough writing, a remarkable story emerges that explores the ethical and moral questions of injustice, hatred, love, and the fundamentals of human nature.

  • 81

    Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

    David Mitchell's masterful storytelling and control of language produced a shockingly innovative novel, filled with wisdom, suspense and creativity.

  • 80

    Hyperion by Dan Simmons

    Hyperion is an intricate space opera that manages to blend detailed character development with an epic storyline. Through stories told from an array of characters, Simmons weaves a complex universe for a satisfying adventure.

  • 78

    A Scanner Darkly by Philip K. Dick

    A Scanner Darkly is a somber narrative that looks into the psychological and socioeconomic effects of drug addiction. Although the story itself falls somewhere on the spectrum between crime and science fiction, how drug abuse affects cognition, perception and ultimately the well-being its users is the focal point of the novel.

  • 76

    Asymmetry by Lisa Halliday

    Asymmetry is a flurry of beautiful, comical, and somber ideas that are bound together by a mysterious force the reader must come to discover. Lisa Halliday’s debut novel sidesteps the structural norms of conventional fiction and delivers a thoughtful journey that is elegantly composed.

  • 70

    Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

    Station Eleven is a modest speculation on the way culture would transform after a pandemic eradicates the majority of human population.