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Best books of 2009: fiction

What we here at the Monitor liked best in 2009.

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Lark and Termite
By Jayne Anne Phillips
Knopf
72 pp., $24
Jayne Anne Phillips’s latest – set in the 1950s, split between Korea and West Virignia – is a rich, deeply poetic tale of extraordinary familial love. (Monitor review on 1/13/09)

The Help
By Kathryn Stockett
Putnam
453 pp., $24.95
In 1960s Jackson, Miss., a young white woman decides to interview the black maids in her hometown of Jackson, Miss. (Monitor review on 3/4/09)

The Weight of Heaven
By Thrity Umrigar
HarperCollins
365 pp., $25.99
Devastated by the loss of their child, an American couple try to rebuild their lives in India. (Monitor review on 4/10/09)

Woodsburner
By John Pipkin
Doubleday, 366 pp., $28.95
When Henry David Thoreau set the Concord woods on fire. (Monitor review on 5/25/09)

The Thing Around Your Neck
By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Knopf
218 pp., $24.95
A powerful, deftly assembled collection of short stories about Nigerians caught in the pull between Nigeria and the West. (Monitor review on 7/30/09)

Let the Great World Spin
By Colum McCann
Random House
349 pp. $26
This gritty but lyrical novel follows the lives of various New Yorkers who watched Philippe Petit walk a tightrope between the World Trade Center towers on Aug. 7, 1974. (Monitor review on 7/24/09)

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