Best Fiction of the Millennium (So Far): The Longlist

October 2, 2009 | 1 book mentioned 16 3 min read

Below is a list of all of the titles nominated by our “Best Fiction of the Millennium (So Far)” panel that did not appear on our Top 20 or Honorable Mention lists.

Absurdistan, by Gary Shteyngart
American Purgatorio, by John Haskell
Among the Missing, by Dan Chaon
Atomic Aztex, by Sesshu Foster
Await Your Reply, by Dan Chaon

Be Near Me, by Andrew O’Hagan
The Beauty of the Husband, by Anne Carson
The Best of Contemporary Mexican Fiction, edited by Álvaro Uribe and Olivia E. Sears
The Blind Assassin, by Margaret Atwood
The Book Against God, by James Wood

The Bridegroom, by Ha Jin
The Bright Forever, by Lee Martin
Brookland, by Emily Barton
By the Light of the Jukebox, by Dean Paschal
The Cave, by Jose Saramago

Censoring an Iranian Love Story, by Shahriar Mandanipour
Cheating At Canasta, by William Trevor
The Children’s Book, by A.S. Byatt
City of God, by E.L. Doctorow
The Cold Six Thousand, by James Ellroy

The Collected Stories of Amy Hempel
Confessions of Max Tivoli, by Andrew Sean Greer
Contagion, by Brian Evenson
Dark Places, by Gillian Flynn
De Niro’s Game, by Rawi Hage (Our review)

The Death of Sweet Mister, by Daniel Woodrell
The Diviners, by Rick Moody (Our review)
Do Everything in the Dark, by Gary Indiana
The Dog of the Marriage, by Amy Hempel
The Dying Animal, by Philip Roth

The Echo Maker, by Richard Powers
Eclipse, by John Banville
Elizabeth Costello, by J.M. Coetzee
The Embers, by Hyatt Bass
The End, by Salvatore Scibona

The Epicure’s Lament, by Kate Christensen (Our review)
An Episode in the Life of a Landscape Painter, by César Aira
Erasure, by Percival Everett
Europeana, by Patrik Ouredník
Everyman, by Philip Roth

Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living, by Carrie Tiffany
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, by Wells Tower (Our review)
Evidence of Things Unseen, by Marianne Wiggins
Falling Man, by Don DeLillo
The Farther Shore, by Matthew Eck

Fieldwork, by Misha Berlinski
Farewell Navigator, by Leni Zumas
The Gathering, by Anne Enright
God Says No, by James Hannaham
Half of a Yellow Sun, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (Our review)

The Haunting of L., by Howard Norman
The Horned Man, by James Lasdun
The Human Stain, by Philip Roth
I Looked Alive, by Gary Lutz
I Should Be Extremely Happy in Your Company, by Brian Hall

In Persuasion Nation, by George Saunders
Indecision, by Benjamin Kunkel
The Indian Clerk, by David Leavitt
It’s All Right Now, by Charles Chadwick
Jamestown, by Matthew Sharpe

Jane: A Murder, by Maggie Nelson
Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanisi, by Geoff Dyer
Jim the Boy, by Tony Earley
Last Evenings on Earth, by Roberto Bolaño
The Last Samurai, by Helen DeWitt

The Lazarus Project, by Aleksander Hemon (Our review)
Let The Northern Lights Erase Your Name, by Vendela Vida
Like You’d Understand, Anyway, by Jim Shepard
The Line of Beauty, by Alan Hollinghurst (Our review)
Love Creeps, by Amanda Filipacchi

Lush Life, by Richard Price
Magic For Beginners, by Kelly Link
Man Walks Into a Room, by Nicole Krauss
The Maytrees, by Annie Dillard
A Mercy, by Toni Morrison (Our review)

The Most of It, by Mary Ruefle
My Happy Life, by Lydia Millet
My Revolutions, by Hari Kunzru
The Name of the World, by Denis Johnson
Natasha and Other Stories, by David Bezmogis

Netherland, by Joseph O’Neill (Our reviews)
The Nimrod Flipout, by Etgar Karet
An Obedient Father, by Akhil Sharma
Olive Kitteridge, by Elizabeth Strout
On Beauty, by Zadie Smith

P, by Andrew Lewis Conn
The People of Paper, by Salvador Plascencia
A Person of Interest, by Susan Choi
Personality, by Andrew O’Hagan
Pieces for the Left Hand, by J. Robert Lennon

The Pink Institution by Selah Saterstrom
The Plot Against America, by Philip Roth
The Question of Bruno, by Aleksandar Hemon
Runaway, by Alice Munro
A Seahorse Year, by Stacey D’Erasmo

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo, by Peter Orner
Servants of the Map, by Andrea Barrett
The Singing Fish, by Peter Markus
The Slynx, by Tatyana Tolstaya (Our review)
Snow, by Orhan Pamuk (Our review)

The Story of Lucy Gault, by William Trevor
The Surrendered, by Chang-Rae Lee
The Terror, by Dan Simmons
The Thin Place, by Kathryn Davis (Our review)
Then We Came to the End, by Joshua Ferris

31 Hours, by Masha Hamilton
Brothers, by Yu Hua
The View from Castle Rock, by Alice Munro
Tree of Smoke, by Denis Johnson (Our review)
True History of the Kelly Gang, by Peter Carey

Unaccustomed Earth, by Jhumpa Lahiri
Vanishing Point, David Markson
Veronica, by Mary Gaitskill
Wanting, by Richard Flanagan
What is the What, by Dave Eggers (Our review)

What Was She Thinking? : Notes on a Scandal, by Zoe Heller (Our interview)
When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka
When We Were Orphans, by Kazuo Ishiguro
Yonder Stands Your Orphan, by Barry Hannah
You Shall Know Our Velocity, by Dave Eggers
Zeroville, by Steve Erickson

is the author of City on Fire and A Field Guide to the North American Family. In 2017, he was named one of Granta's Best Young American Novelists.


  1. Surprised that Tree of Smoke didn’t appear on any of these lists. Also, say what you will, but I believe that The Kindly Ones also deserves a mention.

  2. Am i the only one who thinks Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai should have been way up there? not even one vote?

  3. Indeed, Scott, Helen DeWitt’s The Last Samurai SHOULD have been on there – one of our panelists did vote for it (as this panelist would have, given the opportunity to pick about eight titles instead of five.) (See:

    Unaccountably, at some point in the email-to-google docs-to-text edit-to-html transfer, this title got misplaced. This omission was a fluke, and independent of Helen’s dissenting remarks at her excellent blog paperpools. ( Anyway, it’s been restored above.

    And, Matt, Tree of Smoke was already on here, under “T.”

    Vis-a-vis Helen’s remarks, all panelists were allowed to nominate whoever they wanted, and, as Helen had suggested, it was our intention – spelled out in our introductory post – to post, in addition to a Top 20, all titles that got a mention. What was “silly” was our failure to make this explicit in our invitation to our panelists, which apparently caused her to decline to participate.

  4. Erm, sorry, it wasn’t really worries about (unfounded) belief that the longlist would not appear. The top 5 pieces of writing that came to mind, before constraints were taken into account, were Edward Tufte’s Beautiful Evidence (published, in English, but not fiction), Danilo Martuccelli’s Grammaires de l’individu (not in English and not fiction), a substantial corpus of Ilya Gridneff’s emails (unpublished, in fiction only in book with me which probably falls foul of ‘don’t vote for yourself’ rule even though only written as a way of casting a vote for IG), Mithridates’ blog Night Hauling (unpublished, not fiction) – and Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang.

    So taking part would have meant trying to come up with four replacements that qualified – which might have been all right if four outstanding candidates had come to mind, but nothing came remotely close in interest. Could have put in a vote for PC, I guess, but I don’t think a writer of his stature really needs my help.

    Beautiful Evidence is not (to my mind) Tufte’s best book, but it’s the only one that has come out since 2000; if I could pick one writer with the power to transform the way any reader will see the world, it would be ET.

  5. Well it appears i opened up an unrelated issue but anyways helen as long as you are here reading these posts i just want to suck up a little and say although any list like this is going to have to omit some really good books and im probably not as well read as many of the panelists but in my list it’s not just one of the best of the millenium but one of the ten or twenty best novels i’ve ever read. ok, kiss ass fest over:)

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  7. Given that nearly all the best fiction of the millennium was written in languages other than English, this is an incredibly narrow-minded list. Donald Trump must be proud.

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