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Best fiction 2005

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General fiction

THE HA-HA, by Dave King (Little, Brown, $23.95)

With this story of a mute Vietnam vet suddenly asked to care for a 9-year-old boy, King creates a strangely lovable hero. (1/4/05)

MY JIM, by Nancy Rawles (Crown, $19.95)

Nancy Rawles takes the brief mention of the wife of Jim, the runaway slave in "Huck Finn" and from that richly invents the life and love of a remarkable woman. (1/18/05)

PEARL, by Mary Gordon (Pantheon, $24.95)

In this provocative novel, political extremism becomes a stark reality to a mother when her daughter - who has been studying in Ireland - begins a hunger strike. (1/25/05)

A LONG LONG WAY, by Sebastian Barry (Viking, $24.95)

This Booker prize nominee employs beautiful language to tell the horrifying tale of life in the trenches of World War I. (2/1/05)

TILTING AT WINDMILLS, by Julian Branston (Shaye Areheart Books, $23)

A witty, modern novel created as a companion to Cervantes's grand classic "Don Quixote." (2/22/05)

MARCH, by Geraldine Brooks (Viking, $24.95)

The father from Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" comes to life in this story of a man struggling to reconcile his principles with the demands of everyday life. (3/1/05)

IRELAND, by Frank Delaney (HarperCollins, $26.95)

Delaney, a former BBC reporter, packs as many folk tales as possible into this story of an Irish teen in search of a storyteller he encountered as a child. (3/15/05)

SATURDAY, by Ian McEwan (Doubleday/Nan A. Talese, $26)

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