Excellent books about middle-aged characters

Searches for books about middle-aged people have never been so popular – and it’s not just the ‘there for the grace of god’ fascination with the human car-crash which is the mid-life crisis. Suddenly the baby boomers got sexy and interesting – and in both fiction and poetry had compelling and provocative things to say and exciting and meaningful things to do. The crises – in their various forms, are still there – but even these are nuanced and not always predictable. There’s lots to identify with if you fall into this age group but also opportunities for anyone to marvel, learn admire, as well as cringe with recognition. Being of middle age often means you are the cheese in the sandwich between the older and the younger generation - so, expect some complex family stories with laughter and tears.  Read on and meet a range of characters who will make you clutch your hair in frustration or recoil in revulsion – and others who will become your life-long friends.

Search books by Character & Plot

Isabel and Rocco

Anna Stothard

The Human Stain

Philip Roth

Shyness and Dignity

Dag Solstad

Christ's Entry into Brussels

Dimitri Verhulst

Red Claw

Philip Palmer

What to do with Lobsters in a Place like Klippiesfontein

Colette Victor

The Foundling

Agnes Desarthe

The Witch's Trinity

Erika Mailman

The Septembers of Shiraz

Dalia Sofer


Colum McCann

Under the Frangipani

Mia Couto

Grey Souls

Philippe Claudel

The Fifth Woman

Henning Mankell

Becoming Strangers

Louise Dean

The Melody

Jim Crace

The Hermit

Thomas Rydahl

The Hollywood Dodo

Geoff Nicholson

The Rights of Desire

Andre Brink

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Olga Tokarczuk

Wall of Days

Alastair Bruce

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Yiyun Li


Sandor Marai

Chalcot Crescent

Fay Weldon

Rush Home Road

Lori Lansens

All Shall be Well; and All Shall be Well; and All Manner of Things Shall be Well

Tod Wodicka

The Warsaw Anagrams

Richard Zimler

A Novel Bookstore

Laurence Cosse

Stevenson Under the Palm Trees

Alberto Manguel


Jostein Gaarder

Five Photos of my Wife

Agnes Desarthe


J Lennon

A Closed Book

Gilbert Adair

So Much For That

Lionel Shriver

You & I

Padgett Powell

Spill Simmer Falter Wither

Sara Baume

No Sale

Patrick Conrad

The Marriage Bureau for Rich People

Farahad Zama

Big Fish: a Novel of Mythic Proportions

Daniel Wallace

The Sea Road

Margaret Elphinstone

The Vintage and the Gleaning

Jeremy Chambers

Going Under

Ray French

Doing the Heart Good

Neil Bissoondath

An Obedient Father

Akhil Sharma


Kinky Friedman

Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions

Mario Giordano


David Harsent

This Book Will Save Your Life

A M Homes

A Cock-eyed Comedy

Juan Goytisolo


Harry Mulisch

Odin's Island

Janne Teller