Hello! Happy weekend before Thanksgiving. For the past few years, this weekend has been lovingly known amongst millennials as “Friendsgiving.” Say what you will about our generation, but we know how to celebrate our closest friends. On that note, here are a few of my favorite recent reads that feature stories of friendship.
The Interestings by Meg Wolitzer
At a summer camp in New England, a group of friends is bonded for life. Over the next few decades in New York City, they will fall in and out of love with one another, with their careers, with their families. A sweeping story of friendship and creation and art and the city. Read Morgan’s full review here. →
The Ensemble by Aja Gabel
When Jana, Brit, Daniel, and Henry formed the Van Ness Quartet, they tied their lives together. Their professional careers depend on one another – on each other’s talent and physical health and mental stability. And soon everything they do is as intertwined as their string parts in the orchestral pieces they play. If you love music, you will love this novel. Read Morgan’s full review here. →
The Great Believers by Rebecca Makkai
As the AIDS epidemic grows in Chicago in the 1980s, Yale Tishman’s group of friends feels the carnage. This disease pulls at so many friends and men he has loved in the city, until he is left with few to turn to. Through it all, his friend Nico’s little sister, Fiona, is a constant. This novel alternates between that time in Chicago and the present in Paris, exploring the ways Yale and Fiona’s stories have remained intertwined for thirty years. Read Morgan’s full review here. →
The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers
One of my favorite classic novels, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, is the story of a group of five outcasts in a small town in the South who are united in their isolation. A beautiful story of the ways we try to alleviate our loneliness.
The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles
Dores, our narrator, tells us the story of how she and her childhood best friend, Graça, escaped the sugar plantation where they grew up (Graça as the daughter of the owner, Dores as a servant) for a life in the spotlight during the Golden Age of Hollywood. Full of music and Brazilian culture and the overwhelming power of female friendship, this is an emotional and incredible piece of historical fiction. Read Morgan’s full review here. →
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
No list of book about groups of friends is complete without Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. The story of four men, diverse in backgrounds, yet undeniably bound to one another, in both love and friendship. This story is full of pain and love and heartbreak. You will cry for 750 pages, but you will not be able to put it down. It is amazing what human beings are capable of living through.
The Gunners by Rebecca Kauffman
In their thirties, a group of childhood friends is reunited after one of their members has committed suicide. Kauffman drips and drops pieces of information, until the full extent of the secrets being held are revealed. If you enjoy small town reads about people realizing how much they need one another (and that it’s ok to feel that way), you’ll enjoy this novel. Read Morgan’s full review here. →
Hey Ladies! by Michelle Markowitz and Caroline Moss
Written entirely in emails, texts, and various illustrations, Hey Ladies! is certainly an entertaining read. This epistolary novel follows a group of friends through an entire year of their lives. One member of the group has just gotten engaged and a firestorm of planning ensues. You will laugh, you will roll your eyes. It’s a hilarious roller coaster. Read Morgan’s full review here. →
The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante
Truth be told, I have only read the first book of this four part series, but I know I will finish them before the year is out. Ferrante tells a sweeping tale of friendship between two women, beginning when they are both children in a small Italian town. Her writing is rich and intense, as is their imperfect friendship.