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.

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The Deposition of Father McGreevy

Brian O'Doherty

Old Filth

Jane Gardam

Meanwhile Back at the Ranch

Kinky Friedman

Blood Mud

K C Constantine

The Upright Piano Player

David Abbot

Little Indiscretions

Carmen Posadas

How the Dead Live

Will Self

The Behaviour of Moths

Poppy Adams


Mo Yan

Mr Rosenblum's List or Friendly Guidance for the Aspiring Englishman

Natasha Solomons

Time and Fate

Lance Price

This Book Will Save Your Life

A M Homes

The Master

Colm Toibin


David Harsent

Pereira Maintains

Antonio Tabucchi

A Boy of Good Breeding

Miriam Toews

The Crimson Twins

Francisco Pavon

Something Borrowed

Paul Magrs

A Thousand Years of Good Prayers

Yiyun Li


Ian McEwan

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

Nicholas Drayson

The Bishop's Man

Linden MacIntyre

England, England

Julian Barnes

Wall of Days

Alastair Bruce


Yasmina Reza

The Holy City

Patrick McCabe

No Great Mischief

Alistair MacLeod

Hannie Bennett's Winter Marriage

Kerry Hardy

Madame Verona Comes Down the Hill

Dimitri Verhulst

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

Shamini Flint

Season to Taste or How to Eat Your Husband

Natalie Young


Paul Adam

One Way

S. J. Morden

Dona Ines Vs Oblivion

Ana Teresa Torres

Stormy Weather

Carl Hiaasen

Deaf Sentence

David Lodge

Last Man in Tower

Aravind Adiga

From the Mouth of the Whale

Sjon -

Yonder Stands Your Orphan

Barry Hannah

Empty Words

Mario Levrero

The Ghost of Munich

Georges-Marc Benamou

The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes

Lucky in Love

David Mourao-Ferreira

The Song of Names

Norman Lebrecht

The Meursault Investigation

Kamel Daoud

Caribou Island

David Vann


Jostein Gaarder

Rumours of a Hurricane

Tim Lott

Mr Phillips

John Lanchester

The Hero's Walk

Anita Badami