Serious fiction to get you thinking

We all have space in our reading lives for a reflective, more solemn read. Serious doesn’t have to mean difficult, boring or even downbeat. Instead, we offer up a selection of novels and poetry deliver experiences which are completely genuine and true to life. Their fascination lies in the ability to open doors into worlds we wouldn’t normally get to inhabit with the confidence that if we need time out we can pause, put down the book and return to our familiar surroundings for a breather before diving back in for more. Serious books come in all shapes and sizes – and we have the full range here. Tiny books can punch well above their weight  in contemplative prose – so don’t disregard them in your search. Equally, big books may look forbidding – but they can come with a big, honest heart. Good luck finding the one that works best for you.

Search for books by Mood & Emotion

The Other Side of Silence

Andre Brink

American War

Omar El Akkad

The Story of Lucy Gault

William Trevor


Bill Broady

Let It Be Morning

Sayed Kashua

So It Is

Liam Murray Bell

Stick Out Your Tongue

Ma Jian

The Fig Eater

Jody Shields

Silences from the Spanish Civil War

Jane Duran


Ian McEwan

Night Calypso

Lawrence Scott

A Different Sky

Meira Chand

The Sleeping Voice

Dulce Chacon

The Secret of Not Drowning

Colette Snowden

The Director's Cut

Nicholas Royle


G X Todd

Black Sisters' Street

Chika Unigwe

Parzival and the Stone from Heaven

Lindsay Clarke

Waking Lions

Ayelet Gunder-Goshen

Night Duty

Melitta Breznik

The Meursault Investigation

Kamel Daoud


Laurent Binet

Broken April

Ismail Kadare

Whatever You Love

Louise Doughty


Jay Bernard


Joanne Harris

The Memory Keeper's Daughter

Kim Edwards

Let the Right One In

John Ajvide Lindqvist

The Last Girl

Stephan Collishaw

Death in Danzig

Stefan Chwin

The Wisdom of Crocodiles

Paul Hoffman

The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon

Richard Zimler

Blue Light Yokohama

Nicholás Obregón

The Reckoning

Patricia Tyrrell

Welcome To Paradise

Mahi Binebine

At the Time of Partition

Moniza Alvi

The Darling

Russell Banks


Tom McCarthy

The Looking-Glass Sisters

Gøhril Gabrielsen

Daniel Isn't Talking

Marti Leimbach

Out of the Rabbit Hutch

Nanette L Avery

Small Country

Gaël Faye

The Last Pilot

Benjamin Johncock

Yosl Rakover Talks to God

Zvi Kolitz

White Chrysanthemum

Mary Lynn Bracht

The Insult

Rupert Thomson

The Vagrants

Yiyun Li

Children of the Jacaranda Tree

Sahar Delijani


Affinity Konar

A Woman is No Man

Etaf Rum