The Best Fiction of 2015


Counternarratives, John Keene

This collection of variegated short stories and novellas is the year’s most historically rich work of fiction; you could easily retitle it Counterhistories. But in the end these stories all work toward the goal of un-restricting the consciousnesses of their characters, often historical or literary subjects — free artists of themselves — who were previously trapped in colonialist history and fiction. And whether Keene is rewriting a slave rebellion, witchcraft, or the material afterlife of a dead infant, his preternaturally beautiful sentences never fail to sting and release. —JS