2013 saw readers flock to big, 400-plus-page novels like no other year in recent memory. Books that spanned decades and continents, and featured casts of dozens, came into vogue in the middle of — and perhaps as an antidote to — our fast-paced, Twitter-stream world, where great pieces of long-form writing vanish from the computer screen almost as fast as banal Facebook updates from high-school friends. But it hasn’t just been a year of literary volume and breadth — it’s also been a year of novels filled with big ideas, rendered with great panache by some of our finest writers, resulting in a handful of modern classics that made 2013 a damn fine year to be a lover of fiction.
The Interestings, Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead)
Not quite as precious as a coming-of-age novel, Wolitzer’s masterpiece follows the life and times of a group of teenage friends over three decades. Starting in the summer of 1974 and running through the 2000s, The Interestings perfectly balances sweetness, slyness, and sadness — making it the best novel of 2013.