EW Gift Guide: Big fat novels | EW.com


EW Gift Guide: Big fat novels

This year’s best books were full of heartfelt romances, weary travels, and through-provoking questions about our society. As 2015 comes to a close, EW will roll out gift guides for the very specific bookworms in your life. Next up: Big fat novels.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Why? Hallberg’s debut novel had a lot of hype — it was purchased for $2 million and has already sold its movie rights. Thankfully, his 911-page epic about the lives of New York City’s inhabitants in the 1970s delivers. The sprawling novel explores the various diverse characters spread across New York City as a fire blazes in the Bronx. Issues like privilege, addiction, government, sexuality, race, ethics, and religion are all explored. Read our review here.

Where to buy it: Amazon.

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

Why? Jonathan Franzen’s newest novel follows the journey of recent college grad Purity “Pip” Tyler as she begins an internship for the WikiLeaks-esque information organization The Sunshine Project, led by Andreas Wolf. The story jumps around in time, revealing the pasts and futures of the central characters throughout the 563 pages. Read our review here.

Where to buy it: Amazon.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Why? One of the year’s buzziest novels follows the lives of four friends moving to New York City in their mid-twenties and offers a vibrant and captivating coming-of-age story. The tales are raw and compelling, even after 700 pages. Read our review here.

Where to buy it: Amazon.

The Dying Grass by William T. Vollman

Why? In the fifth volume of his Seven Dreams series, Vollman focuses on the Nez Percé War of 1877, which took place after European settlers attempted to relocate the Nez Percé of Oregon to a much smaller reservation. The 1,215-page epic jumps between various characters’ points of view on both sides of the war — members of the Nez Percé tribe and the United States Army.

Where to buy it: Amazon.

The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch, Volume One: At the Edge of Empire by Daniel Kraus

Why? The first volume of Daniel Kraus’ tale of an undead teen gangster in search of redemption follows our protagonist through the most notable periods of late 19th and early 20th century American history. Zebulon Filch finds himself murdered in the late 1800s Chicago, except for some reason, he can still think, speak, and walk. He’s basically alive save for his rotting flesh. Filch embarks on a journey to discover the truth about himself, which takes him through World War I battle grounds, the Prohibition-era American South, and even to the silver screen in the golden age of Hollywood. Read our review here.

Where to buy it: Amazon.