Naming my favorite book of the year is a lot like naming your favorite child (or in my case, my favorite pet). I enjoyed a vast majority of the 200+ books I finished this year, but one does stand out, Victor LaValle’s novel Big Machine.
Why was Big Machine my favorite book of the year? Much has to do with timing. Early spring brought many books my way, but none interested me past the first 50 pages or so (my deadline for finishing or closing the book for good). I probably gave up on 15 books in a row, several of which I had held high hopes for, before I picked up Big Machine.
Elegantly written and suffused with equal parts pathos and humor, the novel captivated me at once. LaValle’s skills for drawing believable characters and capturing the essence of their conversations on the page drew me into one of the finest works of speculative fiction I have ever read.
Once I finished the book, I sought out the rest of LaValle’s books and made time to read them. For me, that is the ultimate tribute I can give a book, that it impressed me so much to explore the author’s work further (especially with my crowded reading schedule). Victor LaValle restored my faith in literary fiction.