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Best fiction 2005

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Britain's award-winning novelist Ian McEwan offers us one long Saturday in the life of Henry Perowne, a prosperous middle-aged London surgeon who encounters a street tough who rocks his well-ordered world. (3/22/05)

THE HISTORY OF LOVE, by Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton, $23.95)

A Holocaust survivor who has never gotten over his first love and a young girl who was named for a character in a book he wrote are brought together in this unusual but graceful tale. (6/21/05)

OH PURE AND RADIANT HEART, by Lydia Millet (Soft Skull Press, $25)

In this humorous but compassionate satire, a Santa Fe librarian, in 2003 - thanks to a neat trick of time travel - meets the three physicists responsible for the creation of the atom bomb. (7/26/05)

SHALIMAR THE CLOWN, by Salman Rushdie (Random House, $25.95)

Doomed love, a doomed region, and terrorism all collide in Salman Rushdie's tale of a Muslim extremist from Kashmir who assassinates an ambassador to avenge a lost love. (9/6/05)

THE PAINTED DRUM, by Louise Erdrich (HarperCollins, $25.95)

Longtime fans of Louise Erdrich and first-time readers alike will find much to enjoy in this story of a traditional native American drum and the lives it affects. (9/6/05)

THE KING OF KINGS COUNTY, by Whitney Terrell (Viking, $24.95)

In this rueful but loving coming-of-age tale set in Kansas farm country in the 1950s, a boy wrestles with his feelings about his dad, a real estate con man. (9/9/05)

ON BEAUTY, by Zadie Smith (Penguin, $25.95)

This Booker prize nominee is Zadie Smith's love letter to E.M. Forster. In this modern take on "Howard's End," a British academic and his African-American wife grapple with questions of race, nationality, and marital expectations. (9/13/05)

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