20 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.

Modern prose, like classics, always finds its admirers, who are eagerly awaiting the release of new products. Diverse works excite the minds and take your breath away, read in one breath and are often re-read several times. Many of them have already been awarded international awards and published in millions of copies.

Among a wide variety of modern bestsellers, we have selected the most worthy copies, which were appreciated by critics and readers alike. These works are the sales leaders and are not going to give up their positions. Meet: 20 books of modern prose, recommended reading.

Rating of the best books of modern prose

Nomination a place Composition rating
The best books of Russian contemporary prose 1 'Abode' Zakhar Prilepin 5.0
2 'Honey Paradise' Valery Bochkov 4.9
3 'Librarian' Mikhail Elizarov 4.8
4 'And the ball will return …' Maria Metlitskaya 4.7
5 'Zuleikha opens her eyes' Guzel Yakhina 4.6
6 'The house in which' Mariam Petrosyan 4.5
7 'Draft' Sergey Lukyanenko 4.4
8 'I was promised you' Elchin Safarli 4.3
9 'Text' Dmitry Glukhovsky 4.2
10 'Aviator' Evgeny Vodolazkin 4.1
The best books of foreign contemporary prose 1 'All the Light Invisible' by Anthony Dorr 5.0
2 'Assassination of the Commander' by Haruki Murakami 4.9
3 'Goldfinch' Donna Tart 4.8
4 'Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini 4.7
5 'Potato Peel Book and Pie Lovers Club' by Mary Ann Schaeffer and Anne Burrows 4.6
6 'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins 4.5
7 'The Mysterious Story of Billy Milligan' by Daniel Keyes 4.4
8 'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts 4.3
9 '50 Shades of Gray 'by James Erica Leonard 4.2
10 'Stigmalion' Christina Stark 4.1

The best books of Russian contemporary prose

'Abode' Zakhar Prilepin

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 5.0

'Abode' Zakhar Prilepin

The novel by a famous Russian author, published in 2014, becomes the leader. He immediately received the prestigious Big Book Award. Rave reviews from readers and positive reviews from critics put Abode in the first place in the ratings of the best works of contemporary Russian literature. The story is about the 20s of the last century. The main character finds himself in the well-known Solovki. There he will have to meet prisoners from various social strata.

Priests, former military men, artists, writers, poets are serving their sentences here. Each of them has his own point of view on the surrounding reality, and the main character gives them the opportunity to express themselves, and the author invites the reader to decide whose opinion is correct.

Despite the fact that the narrative touches upon the events of a century ago, all the questions raised in the book are still relevant. Disputes on political, religious and social topics will never stop, so the author calls for abandoning aggressive confrontations, and translating everything into constructive communication. For the older generation of readers, the world described in the bestseller will seem very close, and therefore interesting. But even young book lovers will not remain indifferent from this work.

'Honey Paradise' Valery Bochkov

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.9

Honey Paradise 'Valery Bochkov

The second line is occupied by the novel, which combines several genres: psychological realism, suspense and thriller. An ordinary detective story gradually turns into an exciting action that does not let go until the very end. This work is about a paradise on Earth, in which it is very easy to find yourself. But not everyone succeeds in returning from there. The place where the heroine ends up is a female penal colony.

The young girl was sentenced to life in prison, and the 'Honey Paradise' should be her home until the end of her days. She was found guilty of the murder of a police officer who was responsible for the death of her father. While in an Arizona prison, 18-year-old Sophia Belkina learns that 'Red-haired Gertrude' is the name given to him for the electric chair by inmates awaiting execution.

The girl is separated from death by 27 steps. She rethinks her life, deals with her angels and demons. Against the background of the terrible reality, the description of the surrounding landscapes stands out with an unusually bright spot. Valery Bochkov is also an artist. That is why he manages to create such a contrast between wildlife and time standing still in a terrible place with such a pleasant name 'Honey Paradise'.

'Librarian' Mikhail Elizarov

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.8

Librarian 'Mikhail Elizarov

The third prize-winner is a work published in 2007, which received the prestigious Russian Booker Prize. It became the fourth book by Mikhail Elizarov, a famous writer and performer. The controversial reviews from critics made it even more popular with readers. The author came up with the idea after staying in an ordinary Russian village, which has preserved the traditions and habits of the Soviet era. He did not describe the realities of that time, but combined them with mystical, fabulous and fantastic elements.

The main character is Professor Gromov, who lives in complete oblivion, and his works have long been forgotten and are of no use to anyone. Further, events that grab the reader's attention unfold, and serious battles begin for the possession of a book by a Soviet writer, because having a copy, you can get unlimited power over the world.

Many mysterious stories await the reader. The adventures of the heroes will not let you get bored. Each page presents something new. Now it's a detective story, then an action-packed thriller, then an action movie. The writing style is easy. But between the lines, one can guess the parable about wasted time, about an ambiguous attitude to the past and false nostalgia.

'And the ball will return …' Maria Metlitskaya

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.7

And the ball will return ... 'Maria Metlitskaya

On the fourth line is a book about female friendship, which is questioned by many representatives of the stronger sex. Maria Metlitskaya captures the voluminous period of the heroines' lives: from childhood to adulthood. Their youth takes place in the same yard. But they are so different that others are surprised at their friendship. The author will vividly show girlish dreams about the future and just as vividly describe the reality that each of her friends will have to face.

The work is intended for readers of all ages, but it is especially recommended for adolescents who can see themselves in heroines, which in the future will help to avoid rash actions. Vera, Shura, Svetik and Tanya, like many adult women, are immersed in their own problems. But they will always come to each other's aid, support, calm down and continue to move on through life.

Throughout the story, the author convinces the reader that there is no need to despair. And surely, even after the longest black stripe, white will come, and happiness and joy awaits every young girl. The main thing is not to give up and be loyal to your friends and girlfriends. The book is recommended not only for the female audience. It will also be interesting for men and will allow them to better understand their mothers, sisters, wives, daughters and the entire beautiful half of humanity.

'Zuleikha opens her eyes' Guzel Yakhina

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.6

Zuleikha opens her eyes' Guzel Yakhina

The work of the young Russian writer Guzel Yakhina occupies the fifth line in our review. The book tells about the tragic time for many families when they were dispossessed and exiled to Siberia. The author knows firsthand about the 30s of the last century. Her grandmother often talked about the difficult life of people, since she herself was a direct participant in those events. All characters are fictional. Guzel collected information from archives and read many stories of dispossessed people. But the prototype of the scene is real. It was the Pit Gorodok labor settlement, which has already ceased to exist and cannot be found on the maps.

The main character's husband is killed, and she and other unfortunate people from the Tatar village go to the remote taiga for a special settlement. People find themselves in inhuman conditions in which everyone will prove himself and show who he really is. Difficult relations will connect the exiles of different religious denominations and social strata. A worker and a scientist, a military man and a doctor, a priest and an imam will meet here.

Many will not be able to endure difficulties and succumb to base feelings. But there will remain those who, in any conditions, will remain faithful and loyal, will not forget how to love and be friends, will support the weak, and this will themselves become stronger.

'The house in which' Mariam Petrosyan

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.5

The house in which 'Mariam Petrosyan

The sixth nominee was published in 2009. Its popularity began to increase thanks to the awards won at prestigious competitions. After such success, many readers drew attention to this work and were satisfied with their choice. The action takes place in an unnamed city, in a boarding house on its outskirts. There are children with different fates: people with disabilities, adolescents with mental disorders and those who simply cannot adapt to the world around them. They are protected by the walls of the house and very rarely go outside.

Children live in rooms, each with its own leader. It is he who is the leader of the pack and influences everything that happens in it. When Ralph the First arrives at the house, events begin to develop at a double speed. The teacher understands how to communicate with children and understands the nuances of each pack. Rats are ready to commit suicide at any moment, for this they always have razors and knives with them. The birds mourn and grow various potted plants.

The leader of the house The Blind man passes the law on communication with girls who live apart in another part of the building. It is this decision that can influence the wave of suicides that occur on the eve of the prom. Mariam Petrosyan managed to describe surprisingly accurately the experiences of a beginner when adapting to a new team. She showed a closed society, abstracting actions from real time.

'Draft' Sergey Lukyanenko

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.4

Draft 'Sergey Lukyanenko

In seventh place is the novel by the famous Russian writer, which was published in 2005. Not only domestic science fiction and fantasy fans appreciated it. European readers were also delighted with the book, which so vividly describes the life of a person who fell out of life and became a person of Nobody. The main character is a Muscovite who learned what it means to be unrecognized by anyone and is left alone in this world.

The character is not recognized not only by friends, but by his parents and girlfriend, and even his own dog. He has no documents, his house is occupied by other people. The hero gets a letter with tips on how to proceed. Cyril becomes a guide in a parallel world. After incredible adventures, he regains an ordinary human life, to which it is very difficult to adapt.

Readers of different age groups liked the fascinating plot of a fantastic story with elements of adventure. Everyone, together with the hero, performed acts, untangled the web of lies and tried to figure out how a person without superpowers can remain noble and honest. The experts of our magazine recommend getting acquainted with the novel by Sergei Lukyanenko and appreciating the talent of the Russian science fiction writer, who has received many awards for his works.

'I was promised you' Elchin Safarli

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.3

I was promised you 'Elchin Safarli

The eighth is the bestseller of a young, but already well-known Azerbaijani writer, whose talent was also appreciated abroad. On its pages is the biography of Elchin Safarli himself, who survived a grievous loss and transferred all his feelings into a book. Many readers understood the author's message. Those who were lucky enough to avoid the loss of their loved ones did not quite accept the book. But critics noted 'I was promised you' with positive reviews.

The emotional shock was so accurately described by the writer that one wants to cry. He himself said that thanks to the book, he was able to start life anew. And although it is very difficult to come to terms with the loss and again notice the beauty of the world around us, you still need to continue living in order to remember dear people who have gone to another world.

Each page is filled with philosophy, but not instructive, but helping to understand yourself. After reading, a feeling of mourning is not created, but a slight light sadness and the realization that all our losses are not only pain, but also trials through which everyone living on Earth has to go through. Readers note that the work really helped to survive real losses and begin to appreciate every moment spent with loved ones.

'Text' Dmitry Glukhovsky

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.2

Text 'Dmitry Glukhovsky

The ninth place is occupied by the sensational novel, which immediately after its publication aroused considerable interest of the readership. The popularity was increased by the fact that the author specialized in the genre of science fiction, and here he appeared in a completely new role for himself. The new psychological thriller has combined a dark atmosphere with realism of events and dynamically developing action. The plot is based on the life of a Moscow student who returned after a 7-year imprisonment for an imperfect crime.

Ilya Goryunov comes home, but there, as it turned out, everything has changed a lot. The mother, with whom he spoke on the phone a few days ago, died of a heart attack. And the girl, because of whom he was imprisoned, turns out to love another and asks to leave her alone. The guardian of the order, who framed the guy, lives in grand style and does not hide it, posting photos of his luxurious life on social networks.

Even technology has stepped forward, and now the cell phone has become an integral part of human life. The hero will have to learn a lot of new things and take actions that will lead to a difficult choice: to remain human or to live in wealth, regardless of any moral principles. It is noteworthy that before publication the manuscript was read by security officials and criminals who had served time. Both those and others approved the work, like all readers.

'Aviator' Evgeny Vodolazkin

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.1

Aviator 'Evgeny Vodolazkin

The TOP-10 of the best Russian contemporary works includes a novel that was published in 2016. It became an instant hit with readers and critics alike. The combination of genres enhanced the impression of the book. Historical events from different eras make it possible to visit different time spaces. The main character wakes up in the hospital and does not remember who he is and why he got here. Memories come to him in fragments, and soon Innokenty Platonov is sure that he was born in 1900.

But the reality is that on the 1999 calendar, and where the hero was, is not clear. With each page, the reader realizes that an experiment was carried out on Platonov. An aviator is not a profession, it is an image of a person who observes what is happening below from a height. On the one hand, the main character was lucky. But on the other, he was left completely alone, and all his loved ones and loved ones have long been at the cemetery.

The writer was very sensitive to historical details. His description of St. Petersburg from different times is delightful. The final does not put an end to it. Each reader thinks it out himself. Someone does not like this, but someone considers it one of the best techniques in literature. You can treat the novel in different ways. But it is worth noting only one thing: “Aviator” does not leave anyone indifferent.

The best books of foreign contemporary prose

'All the Light Invisible' by Anthony Dorr

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 5.0

All light invisible to us' Anthony Dorr

The winner in this category was a book that was published in 2014 and a year later won the Pulitzer Prize for Best Fiction. Over the past years, the novel has been on the bestseller lists, and today it is rightfully the best representative of contemporary prose. The historical work transports the reader to the times of the Second World War. The main characters are a German boy and a blind French girl.

The plot is developing in parallel in two countries at once. Children try to survive in the midst of horror and house. It is interesting that the story is covered not only by the conquerors, but also by the opposing side of the occupiers. Anthony Dorr's book is not about war. It is about peace, friendship, compassion. The work shows that in any inhuman conditions one can remain decent and honest.

'All the light invisible to us', like many other works about the Second World War, is still controversial. Someone sees a political background, some even a provocative component. But regardless of this, the book is of great interest, and most readers note that there should be more such works. The editorial staff of our magazine subscribes to this opinion and recommends the book for reading.

'Assassination of the Commander' by Haruki Murakami

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.9

Assassination of Commander 'Haruki Murakami

The second place is deservedly taken by a two-volume edition of a famous Japanese author, published in 2017. At home, the circulation exceeded 1,000,000 copies. But not without scandals. For example, in Hong Kong, a ban was imposed on the sale of a book to persons under the age of 18. Despite this, readers all over the world accepted the author's next creation with enthusiasm, and it suffered the same fate as his other works – it became a bestseller.

The main character is a middle-aged artist who is going through not only a creative crisis, but also a family crisis. The divorce from his wife did not affect him in the best way. To get rid of severe depression, he gets into an old car and drives wherever he goes. Fate brings him to a small town where his university friend lives. There, by coincidence, the dwelling of his father, a formerly famous and now feeble-minded artist, who ends his days in a nursing home, is empty.

The master's painting found in the attic will lead to a series of unexpected mystical events. Thanks to the ringing of the bell, which the young man constantly hears, the entrance to a parallel world is revealed, and the Idea appears in the image of the Commander. A fascinating and mystical action makes you empathize with the heroes. Many readers note that this is one of the best works of the author.

'Goldfinch' Donna Tart

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.8

Goldfinch 'Donna Tart

The third place is taken by the book, which was awarded the prestigious Pulitzer Prize and recognition not only of ordinary readers, but also of eminent world authors. Stephen King noted that such novels appear extremely rarely, “about five in a decade”, which is the highest praise from the master. The title of the book is taken from the famous Dutch painting The Goldfinch, which plays a significant role in the life of the protagonist. 13-year-old Theo Decker was drawn into the maelstrom of events after the explosion at the museum.

A teenager receives from a dying old man a rare canvas and a ring with instructions to take them out of the building. Theo's own life is not very happy. The orphan wanders in many foster families, where he was not accepted and did not accept his new relatives. An old painting by a Dutch painter will first become a curse, and then a salvation for a lonely young man.

The work makes it possible to rethink many values ​​and accept many unusual postulates. This is a book about a person who is able, no matter what, to make his life happy. Critics on both sides of the ocean unanimously accepted the work. Our experts also consider it to be the best book of modern prose and recommend it to read.

'Thousand Splendid Suns' by Khaled Hosseini

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.7

A Thousand Splendid Suns' Khaled Hosseini

On the fourth line – a work by an American writer of Afghan origin. The novel that came out became a sales leader in just a few days. After a while, he was included in the list of modern bestsellers. The author very sensitively conveys feelings and emotions, forcing the reader to think about where the fine line is between love and hate, betrayal and friendship.

The plot revolves around two girls who live in two different worlds and, in theory, should never have met. But life decided everything for the two of them. Mariam and Leila, who met during the difficult war years, experienced many events. The first is the illegitimate daughter of a rich man, deeply unhappy and lonely, realizing her position since childhood. The second is a member of a close-knit family in which everyone supports each other. They confront the most difficult trials in order to finally find the answer to the question of who they are to each other: enemies or sisters.

The work was published in 2007 and still occupies high positions in world rankings. For the domestic reader, it opened the mysterious world of the Middle East, told about traditions and way of life, about the prohibitions and powerless life of Muslim women.

'Potato Peel Book and Pie Lovers Club' by Mary Ann Schaeffer and Anne Burrows

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.6

The Potato Peel Book and Pie Club 'Mary Ann Schaeffer and Anne Burrows

In fifth place is a work created in the creative tandem of two writers – an aunt and a niece – in 2008. It was translated into 20 languages, and the total circulation exceeded 1,000,000 copies. Mary Ann Schaeffer received recognition posthumously. The book became a bestseller, and the film adaptation, released 10 years later, made it even more popular. The events take place in 1946 in the UK. The young writer goes on a trip across the country to present her debut work.

According to the agreement with the editors, Juliet must start writing a new book during the trip. But so far she does not have any ideas. Suddenly, a correspondence is struck with a farmer from a remote island, who asks for advice on a good bookstore, since after the war with such a product is very tight. The girl not only answers letters, but also personally visits Guernsey. There she meets members of the Book and Potato Peel Pie Club.

The story of the founder of the organization, who went through the horror of the concentration camps, touches to the core. Juliet will find here not only friends, but also true love, as well as a new topic for her future book. The work carries a positive attitude, despite the described events of the Second World War. It's easy to read and has a place for humor.

'The Girl on the Train' by Paula Hawkins

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.5

The Girl on the Train 'Paula Hawkins

The sixth was the work, which sold over 3 million copies in the first two months. It was published in 2015, and today it is one of the best books in the psychological thriller genre. A gripping storyline and unexpected ending – everything is present in the creation of Paula Hawkins. The main character Rachel watches the life of a happy family every day from the train. Their house is located not far from the house where her ex-husband now lives with a new lover.

The girl is going through a hard divorce and pours grief with alcohol. She pesters her ex-spouse, constantly calls, and in the morning she cannot remember what she did yesterday. Suddenly, on another train ride, Rachel saw a woman through the window kissing another man. The next day, she mysteriously disappears. Rachel is faced with a dilemma: either go to the police, or figure it out herself.

The book is read in one breath. An exciting, thoughtful action and an unpredictable ending await the reader. The style of the British writer was appreciated by many fans of this genre. In 2016, the novel was filmed, which added to the popularity of the extraordinary story 'Girls on a Train'.

'The Mysterious Story of Billy Milligan' by Daniel Keyes

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.4

The Mysterious Story of Billy Milligan 'Daniel Keyes

The seventh place is occupied by the book, which was appreciated on both sides of the ocean. The intellectual novel did not leave anyone indifferent. It was created based on real events and many details have been reproduced with extraordinary precision. To write the work, the author not only studied a large amount of medical and police data, talked with the luminaries of medicine, but also personally met with William Milligan.

In this person, 24 personalities coexisted at the same time. They were people of different ages, nationalities, professions. Each of them influenced Billy's behavior, and he himself did not remember anything when one of the personalities woke up. It is noteworthy that for the crimes committed by Milligan, he was acquitted in connection with dissociative disorder. And this was the first high-profile case in the United States.

The book is read in one breath, and each time you wait for who will now take over Billy's mind: a gangster from New York, an obedient child, a young fraudster, an Orthodox Jew, an eternal deceiver, or someone else who makes a man do different things, including and violent crimes. Daniel Keyes was able to create a work that excites the minds and does not distract from reading for a minute.

'Shantaram' by Gregory David Roberts

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.3


The eighth line is occupied by the autobiographical book of an Australian writer with a difficult fate. It was published in 2003. A short time later, it was recognized as a super bestseller, and its circulation exceeded 3 million copies. The author suffered from drug addiction, went to prison, from where he fled and hid in India for 10 years. The main character also experienced all these events, which Gregory David Roberts described so vividly and realistically in his creation.

The work shows his life in Bombay, in which many events will take place. He will have to spend the night in dirty slums, cooperate with the mafia, engage in criminal affairs. Despite this, the locals will call him Shantaram, that is, 'peaceful man'. Readers and critics were delighted with the description of the mysterious world of India. There are a lot of interesting characters in the book, all of which, except for the main character, are fictions of the author. But all the places described are real.

An interesting detail and proven fact: several prisoners who read this book quickly left the prison walls, but in a legal way, and not like Shantaram. According to readers and critics, “the book hits from the first page.” Therefore, many read it in one breath. Our experts also recommend that you familiarize yourself with this work.

'50 Shades of Gray 'by James Erica Leonard

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.2

50 shades of grey

The work, which took ninth place, has become one of the best representatives of modern erotic prose. Released in 2011, it still does not go unnoticed by readers. The book has received mixed reviews. Critics noted the unacceptable brutality and questioned the ethics of mass production of the work. Many libraries refused to add it to their repositories due to provocativeness and too open sexuality. But after a while they nevertheless included him in their lists of books.

Thanks to a completely innovative approach to creating works of this genre, the author attracted attention, due to which '50 shades of gray' was translated into over 30 languages, and the circulation exceeded 40,000,000 copies. The history of the relationship between a young college graduate, a journalist and a successful businessman has it all: passion, lust, role-playing. Christian Gray dominates Anastacia, who has never been in this kind of connection.

After the film adaptation of the book, there were even more people wishing to read it. And even those who prefer other genre trends are advised to pay attention to this creation of an English writer, who later created a sequel to the acclaimed novel. Today you can read the entire trilogy, as well as a separate story of Gray and the work 'Even Darker' released at the end of 2019.

'Stigmalion' Christina Stark

Genre: Contemporary prose

Rating: 4.1


Our review ends with a book that will appeal to fans of the romantic genre. But not everything is so simple in this story. The main character is not an ordinary girl. Since childhood, she has suffered from a rare disease that causes severe burns from any contact with another person. Forced to live alone, although surrounded by people, Dolores came up with the name of her imaginary fortress, in which she is imprisoned like a princess – Stigmalion.

Despite the terrible illness, the girl remains open, honest, courageous and dreamy. Fate sends her a loved one, for which she is very grateful. But how many tests must they pass to be happy? The fact that the narration is conducted on behalf of two characters adds to the interest. Therefore, this story can be assessed from both the female and male point of view.

The plot is very dynamic, further actions are unpredictable, so the reader is always in suspense. The book talks not only about pain, but also about faith. The girl did not think about love, much less about starting a family. She did not know what the touch of mom and dad was, she did not feel tactile affection. But she was able to go forward without looking back and found true love.

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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