Arifa Akbar picks the best fiction of 2014: The Independent

Man Booker prize winner Richard Flanagan led the vanguard in a triumphant year for Antipodean fiction

The Narrow Road To The Deep North coverIt was a triumphant year for Antipodean fiction, the vanguard led not by grandee Peter Carey’s Amnesia, but by the winner of the Man Booker prize, Richard Flanagan, who not only gave us an astounding love story in The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Chatto & Windus, £16.99), but dared to enter into territory – the cruelty inflicted by the Japanese on Australian PoWs – which Carey confessed his generation had feared to tread.

The most striking of debuts came from New Zealander Fiona McFarlane, while a scorched outback was the backdrop to Evie Wyld’s brooding, suspenseful second novel, All the Birds, Singing (Jonathan Cape, £16.99), which claimed the Jerwood Fiction Uncovered prize and Miles Franklin award among its accolades.

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