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

Grift Sense

James Swain

The Maestro, the Magistrate and the Mathematician

Tendai Huchu

The Photograph

Penelope Lively


Barbara Nadel

The Invention of Dr Cake

Andrew Motion

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Olga Tokarczuk

Canone Inverso

Paolo Maurensig

The Buried Giant

Kazuo Ishiguro

A Guide to the Birds of East Africa

Nicholas Drayson


Michal Witkowski

Isabel and Rocco

Anna Stothard

The Holy City

Patrick McCabe

Inspector Singh Investigates: A Most Peculiar Malaysian Murder

Shamini Flint

Walkin' the Dog

Walter Mosley

To the End of the Land

David Grossman

Journey in Blue

Stig Dalager

Valeria's Last Stand

Marc Fitten

Deaf Sentence

David Lodge

French Exit

Patrick deWitt

The Bethlehem Murders

Matt Rees

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

Mitch Albom

Before I Forget

Andre Brink

The Upright Piano Player

David Abbot


Lisa Moore

The Eros Hunter

Russell Celyn Jones

This Body

Tessa McWatt

Future Popes of Ireland

Darragh Martin


Ian McEwan

Before and After

Matthew Thomas

Twilight Time

Simon Crump

A Spot of Bother

Mark Haddon

Lucky in Love

David Mourao-Ferreira

The House of the Hidden Mothers

Meera Syal

The Eyrie

Stevie Davies


Anita Nair

A Curious Earth

Gerard Woodward

The Dead Women of Juarez

Sam Hawken

Prince Rupert's Teardrop

Lisa Glass

Five Quarters of the Orange

Joanne Harris


Amy Sackville

The Witch's Trinity

Erika Mailman

The Behaviour of Moths

Poppy Adams

What to do with Lobsters in a Place like Klippiesfontein

Colette Victor

A Palace in the Old Village

Tahar Ben Jelloun

Follow Your Heart

Susanna Tamaro

Elizabeth Costello

J M Coetzee

Something Borrowed

Paul Magrs

Shakespeare's Sword

Alan Judd

Despite the Falling Snow

Shamim Sarif

The Human Stain

Philip Roth