17 best books of modern prose

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective and does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

The genre of modern prose is very close to the reader, who in the characters can recognize himself, his relatives and neighbors, look at many problems from the outside, deal with them, plunge into the relationships and experiences of people who are similar in spirit. Our rating is made up of 17 diverse works, in which you can find books of any genre you are interested in. The list includes both novelties recently presented to the public and creations that have become bestsellers and retain their positions in the top of the best novels of our time.

Rating of the best books of modern prose

Nomination a place Name of product rating
Rating of the best books of modern prose 1 Runner behind the wind 4.9
2 Butterfly 4.9
3 Shantaram 4.8
4 The mysterious story of Billy Milligan 4.8
5 My children 4.8
6 A thousand shining suns 4.8
7 And the ball will return … 4.7
8 Aviator 4.7
9 Stigmalion 4.6
10 Fear and awe 4.6
11 Draft 4.5
12 Honey paradise 4.5
13 Coma 4.5
14 A clockwork orange 4.5
15 Zuleikha opens her eyes 4.5
16 Tomorrow I'm going to kill 4.4
17 Olivia Kitteridge 4.4

Runner behind the wind

Book author: Khaled Hosseini

Prose rating: 4.9

Runner behind the wind

Published in 2003, the novel became the debut work of Khaled Hosseini and almost immediately won the love of readers and the approval of critics. It entered the top three bestsellers in the United States and twenty best works of the millennium. Four years later, director Mark Forster directed a film version of the same name. The work sharply raises questions about friendship and betrayal, kindness and cruelty, meanness and disinterestedness.

The main characters Amir and Hasan have been friends since early childhood, despite the fact that the first is the son of a rich man, and the second is the son of a servant. Amir was a Pashtun. They represented the national majority in Afghanistan. And Hasan is a Khazarian, who was treated like a second-class person. The rich heir tried to win over his father's love and was often jealous of his friend. On one occasion during a traditional kite flying competition, Hassan was beaten and abused by local nationalists. Amir saw all this, but he himself did not intervene, and did not call anyone for help.

Years will pass, the paths of the two families will go their separate ways, they will live on different continents, but the feeling of guilt will continue to torment Amir. It would seem that nothing can be fixed: Hasan and his wife died during ethnic cleansing. But they have a little son who really needs help. Will the main character be able to make the child happy and atone for his guilt? You will find the answer in a book that made millions of readers around the world cry and empathize.

Butterfly

Book author: Henri Charrière

Prose rating: 4.9

Butterfly

The adventure novel, which took the second place in our rating, is based on the autobiography of Henri Charrière, who was accused of murder and sentenced to life in prison. A 25-year-old prisoner nicknamed the Moth tells about his difficult life in hard labor in French Guiana. Despite incredible difficulties and trials, Henri was able to survive in inhuman conditions, and thanks to his perseverance and desire for freedom, he nevertheless proves his innocence and finds himself free.

The moth is preparing an escape from the first day. But they catch him. He does not abandon his plan, but he is brought back again and again. But even a transfer to another prison and solitary confinement do not stop the man, who comes up with new ways to escape. The reader will see the life of the prisoners from the inside, will be able to rejoice in true friendship and empathize with the hero in the moment of loss and disappointment.

The filmmakers literally fought over the script. 1973 gave the audience a great film with Dustin Hoffman and Steve McQueen. In 2017, the work was filmed by director Michael Noer. The main roles in the film were played by Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek.

Shantaram

Book author: Gregory David Roberts

Prose rating: 4.8

Shantaram

The novel was published in 2003. The Russian reader was able to enjoy the incredible adventures of the protagonist in 2010, when the work has already become a super bestseller, and the number of copies sold exceeded one million books. The plot is based on events from the life of the author himself – Gregory David Roberts.

Many noted some mystical events that took place after getting acquainted with the creation of the writer, and more specifically: after reading it, it contributed to the release of prisoners from prison. This has been proven more than once with real examples. The action takes place in the 80s of the last century. The protagonist escapes from an Australian prison after almost twenty years of imprisonment, and according to false documents, he remains to live in Bombay. The locals call him Shantaram, which means 'peaceful man'. There will be everything in his life: living in the slums, prison, drugs, crime, cooperation with the mafia.

The author very accurately described the experiences of the hero. Roberts was able to show the inner life of Bombay through the eyes of a criminal and at the same time a vulnerable person. It is noteworthy that all the characters are fictional, and the places are real.

The mysterious story of Billy Milligan

Book Author: Daniel Keyes

Prose rating: 4.8

The mysterious story of Billy Milligan

The documentary, included in the rating, tells the story of Billy Milligan, in which 24 personalities got along. He became the first person in the United States to be acquitted of a dissociative disorder. In Billy's mind, there were individuals who were unlike each other. They were men, women and even children of different nationalities, religions, attitudes to life. The 10 main ones influenced the man the most.

The story begins with Billy, who wakes up and realizes that he is in prison, but for what and how he got there, he does not remember. When reported that he has been charged with rape and robbery, he is really shocked because he didn't. And most importantly, he is told that he has already spent seven long years in these walls. Further inquiries lead to nothing, because Billy is no longer here, he is gone. And who took possession of the man's mind, it will be interesting to find out further, plunging into the stunning and soulful creation of Daniel Keyes.

When you read a book, you think that this is impossible. But this is a real fact, and such a patient really existed. Milligan died in December 2014, leaving a mark on the history of forensic science and psychiatry.

My children

Author of the book: Guzel Yakhina

Prose rating: 4.8

My children

Guzel Yakhina is recognized as the brightest debutante of contemporary Russian literature. Her next masterpiece proves it. The author's syllable is both easy to perceive and permeated with beautiful epithets and metaphors. The reader does not have the difficulty of memorizing the foreign names of the characters. He completely plunges into the past, and with his own eyes can observe the intricacies of the lives of various people.

The book 'My Children' is set in the first half of the 20th century in the German settlement of Gnadental in the Volga region. Teacher Jacob Bach, a complex and reserved person, adores literature and knows everything about it. He does not like children at all, but he is obliged to teach them. One day a new student comes to his class, with whom Jacob has a lot in common. Bach writes fairy tales that mystically transform into reality.

The life and everyday life of people, their tragedies and experiences, their vivid original world, people who settled these lands more than a century ago, but could not accept the orders of a foreign country, are very realistically described. The plot has it all: love and hate, war and death, politics and history. If you liked the previous books by G. Yakhina, then this novel will also not leave you indifferent.

A thousand shining suns

Book author: Khaleda Hossein

Prose rating: 4.8

A thousand shining suns

We are pleased to include the second book of the American prose writer Khaled Hosseini in our rating. A week after publication, the number of copies sold reached one million. The novel, which soon became a bestseller on both sides of the ocean, was praised by critics and readers alike. As in the novel 'Runner with the Wind', the author raises ethical questions about friendship and betrayal, love and faith.

In the center of the plot are two heroines, so different that it would seem that it is simply impossible for them to intersect in this world. Mariam is the illegitimate daughter of an oligarch who has experienced misfortune and humiliation from an early age. Leila is a favorite in a large and friendly family. She has a bright future ahead of her, she always feels the support of her relatives and friends.

But the war was able to disrupt the plans of the girls, and it was at this tragic time that they meet in order to survive and withstand all trials. Scenes of violence and the consequences of hostilities are very realistically described. But the author openly wanted to show the truth of life, in which Muslim women had to fulfill all the whims of men, even the most disgusting and sadistic.

And the ball will return …

Book author: Maria Metlitskaya

Prose rating: 4.7

And the ball will return ...

The book by Maria Metlitskaya is about love and disappointments, ups and downs, and most importantly, about the friendship of the heroines, about their life, which the author tells about, from childhood to quite mature age. Their youth takes place in the same yard. All girls are completely different, but this does not prevent them from being together. Everyone's childhood dreams are so at odds with reality that you understand how far teenage fantasies are from real life. But in spite of everything, they will carry on their friendship for many years. They are ready to rush to help each other at any moment, and this is their strength.

Vera is the daughter of a successful lawyer, who lost her mother as a child. She simply had to be happy, but love for a bully classmate crossed out all the bright prospects. Traveling to prisons, the birth of a child was not assessed by her criminal husband. Nobody has ever loved Shura. Even her son cannot give her a piece of warmth, as he suffers from a serious illness. Her life is spent in the marketplace, where she begs with her disabled son. Things are not easy for Tanya and Svetik either, they will also face many trials.

The book will appeal to readers of all age categories: teenagers, their mothers and grandmothers, because the author was able to describe the experiences of each generation, which was another reason for the popularity of the novel.

Aviator

Book author: Evgeny Vodolazkin

Prose rating: 4.7

Aviator

It is not the first time that the novels of a Russian philologist and prose writer are included in the ratings of the best works of our time. An incredible plot of the 'Aviator', immersion in different time periods, a striking protagonist and jigsaw puzzles that add up at the end into a single whole, leave the reader in suspense from the first to the last page.

It's hard to imagine when you wake up one day and all your memories are erased. You cannot remember who you are and where you are from, and how difficult it is to fill a blank sheet with events again in order to become a person again. For his identification, the hero begins to write down memories that suddenly visit him. Sketchy and chaotic, they confuse him even more. Because it is impossible to wake up in 1999, but to see the events of the October Revolution, study at the St. Petersburg gymnasium at the beginning of the 20th century, and much more that does not in any way relate to the present time.

As you read it, you realize that the hero has become a victim of an experiment, and all of his present just refers to the past. Having slept through all the events, he wakes up to understand that all his friends and relatives have been resting for a long time in the cemetery, and he, like an aviator, hovers in his airless space called time.

Stigmalion

Book author: Christina Stark

Prose rating: 4.6

Stigmalion

The work of Christina Stark tells the story of a seriously ill girl suffering from a rare skin disease. Dolores McBride will go from a little girl, driven into captivity by her fears and pain, to a completely self-confident woman who is open to happiness and love. All touching other people causes terrible and painful burns, so she never hugged mom and dad, could not leave the house without gloves, knew that in the future she would not be able to start a family.

Dolores is like a princess imprisoned in a tower, the name of which she invented in early childhood. But she never stops hoping that someday she will leave her prison and never return to Stigmalion. One day her life changes, and the girl meets Him. The story is told on behalf of two characters. The reader will be able to look at the events through the eyes of a man and a woman, which adds emotion and interest to this story.

This is not just another romantic story. After reading the book, you can understand how valuable everything around is, how you can live happily, despite illnesses and difficulties, and most importantly, overcome your fear and move forward towards your future.

Fear and awe

Book author: Amelie Notomb

Prose rating: 4.6

Amelie Notomb

The selected novel is the autobiographical story of the Belgian novelist Amelie Notomb. According to critics, it was this work that revealed the talent of the writer, thanks to which she gained fame throughout the world. In 2003, 'Fear and Awe' was filmed. The film was as successful as the book.

After graduating from university, the girl leaves for Japan, where she gets a job in a large corporation. She is not afraid of difficulties and is sure that the adaptation period can be avoided, since she was born in the Land of the Rising Sun and wants to stay in her homeland forever. But trying to follow Japanese laws and traditions, she finds herself in various unpleasant situations. Violent life lessons force Nothomb to leave Tokyo and return to Belgium, where she begins her writing career.

The author in all colors shows the flavor of a distant country and at the same time destroys the myth of the fairy tale. Discrimination flourishes in a society of misogynists, and everyone is used to constant insults. Amelie had to do dirty work, unacceptable for European office workers, which is considered the order of things in Japan, and a woman has no right to refuse it, regardless of status.

Draft

Author of the book: Sergey Lukyanenko

Prose rating: 4.5

Draft

The novel by the Russian writer was written in several genres. Science fiction, adventure and fantasy are intertwined in it. It was successfully received by European readers and critics. Published in 2005, the work immediately found fans among fans of this direction. The main character is a young man from Moscow, who overnight became nothing, as if someone deleted him from life. Friends, acquaintances and even parents do not recognize him. Another person lives in his apartment, and his passport and other documents turn to dust before our eyes.

Further, the hero will have incredible adventures. He becomes a border guard between the worlds, a functional belonging to the class of the elect. In every parallel there are rebels trying to destroy the system. After the destruction of the tower, Kirill becomes an ordinary person without superpowers and he needs to learn to live in reality again.

The author philosophizes on various sensitive topics and shares his opinion, with which it is difficult to disagree. If you are interested in parallel worlds, a fan of Tolkien, Orwell and Martin, then we are sure that you will like the book by Sergey Lukyanenko 100%.

Honey paradise

Book author: Valery Bochkov

Prose rating: 4.5

Honey paradise

The psychological thriller Valery Bochkov takes a worthy place in our rating. The plot, which begins as an ordinary crime story, gradually turns into an exciting action that keeps the reader in suspense until the very end. And whether that notorious happy ending will be, even the most attentive book lover cannot guess.

An eighteen-year-old girl was sentenced to life in prison. Sofya Belkina arrives at the Honey Paradise women's colony to spend the rest of her life in a scary place with such an attractive name. She is a former Muscovite who moved to the United States for permanent residence and killed a police officer for taking the life of her father. He, in turn, simply shot in the air and threatened the local drug lord who raped his daughter. But the bandit can do anything, he is the master of life, so Sonya ends up in Arizona and awaits the execution. 'Red-haired Gertrude' is the electric chair for every inmate in this prison.

Bochkov is an artist (who, by the way, graduated from the art and graphic faculty of Moscow State Pedagogical Institute) so skillfully describes events that it seems as if he is painting a novel with bright colors, and not just transferring his thoughts to paper. Our experts recommend the novel to be must-read.

Coma

Book author: Alex Garland

Prose rating: 4.5

Garland

Alex Garland is a British novelist whose books have consistently become bestsellers. He penned such works as 'Beach' and 'Tesseract'. The third book, published in 2004, also brought fame to the author, and despite the rather cool attitude of critics, it was enthusiastically received by the readers. The work is based on the usual story of an unremarkable office worker.

Descending into the subway at a later time, he stood up for a girl who almost fell victim to four thugs. Karl ends up in a hospital bed. After waking up from a coma, he cannot remember anything, but only intuitively feels that a briefcase, which by unknown means disappeared from the scene, can return his memory.

What secrets will be revealed to the reader, and whether Karl is really a modest clerk, you will find out after reading, and the ending can really surprise you. The book was illustrated by the writer's father, the famous English cartoonist and graphist Nicholas Garland.

A clockwork orange

Book author: Anthony Burgess

Prose rating: 4.5

A clockwork orange

The book included in the rating was recognized as a classic of modern prose. Anthony Burgess created it in the most difficult period of his life, when he was diagnosed with a fatal disease, and according to doctors' forecasts, he had no more than a year to live. As the author admitted, he tried to put the tragic events associated with his first wife on paper in order to get rid of memories forever. “A Clockwork Orange” – this is how the English workers used to call something unusual, incomprehensible, with the impossibility of interpreting its meaning.

The story is told from the perspective of the main character – a teenager Alex, whose world is full of violence and cruelty, and he and his young friends, who stop at nothing, act as criminals. In the second part, the teenager still ends up in a correctional institution, where he is offered to participate in an experiment in exchange for release.

After consent, he is not only incapable of violence, but also cannot simply stand up for himself. Once released, not only the victims of the youngster will take advantage of this, but also bystanders who first saw Alex. After attempting suicide as a result of a concussion, he becomes healthy again. And here is how this fascinating story will end, you will find out after reading the novel.

Zuleikha opens her eyes

Author of the book: Guzel Yakhina

Prose rating: 4.5

Zuleikha opens her eyes

The topic of dispossession of kulaks has always interested the young Russian writer Guzel Yakhina, since her grandmother survived the exile to Siberia and often told her granddaughter about the difficult life of people in those difficult times. The heroes have no real prototypes. The author bit by bit collected information, as a result, collective images appeared based on the memoirs of dispossessed people. Russian critics were surprised by the style and manner of writing of the young author, but Tatar critics accused Guzel of betrayal and distortion of facts.

The action begins with the events of 1930, when the main character's husband is killed, and she, along with other immigrants, is sent to Siberia. Deaf taiga, no food, no clothes, no roof over your head – this is how a special settlement looks like for new residents. The novel will tell about the difficult fate of completely different people, but who together have to fight for a place in the sun. Christians and Muslims, Russians and Germans, Chuvashs and Tatars, uneducated peasants and the capital's intelligentsia, criminals and degraded drunkards will meet here.

But, despite many trials and difficulties, many have not forgotten simple human feelings. The book will contain everything: love, loyalty, devotion, friendship. The author will also show the other side of the coin, when many began to follow base feelings and did not disdain anything.

Tomorrow I'm going to kill

Book author: Bih Ishmael

Prose rating: 4.4

Tomorrow I'm going to kill

The acclaimed book by Beh Ishmael, included in the rating, allows the reader to look at the war through the eyes of a teenage boy who, at the age of 13, had to take up arms and go to kill. The author showed without embellishment all the horrors that civilians and soldiers have to experience. Very scary and at the same time truthful descriptions can plunge into shock. The writer thereby wanted to show how people's destinies break down, and some will never be able to become the same. But many do not lose hope and remain human to the very end.

The novel describes the events of the civil war in Sierra Leone. After the euphoria from the recognition of independence from Great Britain, the consciousness of its own power came, and the struggle for money and privileges began, which led to the events described. Many adolescents, just children, are forced to join the ranks and serve on an equal basis with adults. It is very scary to read when the horror of the first days is replaced by madness. A fragile child's psyche breaks down, and teenagers are ready to kill, and no matter who, most importantly, there is an order and must obey.

A very difficult piece did not leave anyone indifferent. Using the example of a small African country, the writer was able to show all the horrors of war, especially when children are involved.

Olivia Kitteridge

Book author: Elizabeth Stout

Prose rating: 4.4

Olivia Kitteridge

All of Elizabeth Stout's books are consistently bestsellers. For the novel 'Olivia Kitteridge' she was awarded several prestigious awards. Readers and critics on both sides of the Atlantic were delighted with the flamboyant characters, great style, and the psychological tension that held the spotlight until the end. The 13 short stories that make up the novel are miraculously intertwined with each other, forming an interesting and fascinating story, in the center of which is a woman with a strong and contradictory character.

Former teacher of mathematics, and now retired Olivia knows all the inhabitants of her small town. In the quiet, seemingly calm Crosby, serious passions are boiling. Here are secret romances, gossip, theft, betrayal and even murder. It's just that the inhabitants skillfully hide everything behind the external good decency.

Olivia lives with her husband and son, and although she loves them very much, she does not know how to ask for forgiveness and does not show her feelings. Despite her character, Olivia has evoked sympathy and understanding in many readers. The main motive of the book is the relationship between mother and child. The author paid a lot of attention to the problem of parents and children, so the work is interesting to all generations who, having read it, will finally be able to understand each other.


Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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