My Year in Novellas

A novella is a fictional, prose narrative that is longer than a short story but shorter than a novel. Novellas are generally about 20,000 – 50,000 words.

These are my Top 5 novellas that I have read this year:


 5. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse


Siddhartha is a concise and philosophical novella with a graceful prose style that incorporates both Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. This story about destiny had a cathartic effect on this reader.

My Review: Siddhartha, a Brahmin’s son, finding village life increasingly unrewarding, leaves his family and sets off on a spiritual journey with best friend and devotee Govinda. Travelling as Samanas, they survive on donations and from begging … (More)


4. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a bleak and unsettling story about a man who turns into a beetle. It utilises dark humour and explores existentialist, nihilist themes. In this reader’s opinion The Metamorphosis is a good introduction to Kafka’s writing.

My Review: …protagonist Gregor Samsa wakes up one morning to find that he has been transformed into a beetle.  This awkward situation is exacerbated when Gregor’s boss turns up at his house seeking an explanation for his non-attendance at work that day… (More)


 3. The Legend of the Holy Drinker by Joseph Roth

The Legend of the Holy Drinker

This is a compact, concise, compassionate and profound novella about a tramp who lives under the bridges of the river Seine in Paris. The Austrian-Jewish author and journalist Joseph Roth is one of my favourite non-English language writers.

My Review: Set in Paris between the wars the story is about an alcoholic tramp by the name of Andreas, who lives under bridges of the river Seine.  Andreas finds himself in luck when he is given two hundred francs by a stranger, … (More)


2. Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Truman Capote’s masterful ability to develop character is on full display in this compelling and at times humorous tale about an independent young society figure with a past shrouded in secrecy.

My Review: Breakfast at Tiffany’s is a novella set in New York in the 1940s about a young woman called Holly Golighty. The story follows Holly’s ambiguous relationship with a nameless narrator, whom we are told almost nothing about, apart from that he is a writer... (More)


1.  The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

The Old Man And The Sea

This is a carefully constructed and evocative novella written in Hemingway’s trademark simple, concise, economy of prose style. It is the most memorable novella I have read this year, and I look forward to reading more Hemingway.

My Review: Set in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba, this is a tale about an old man, a boy and a colossal Marlin.  The old man, Santiago, is a veteran fisherman, who is on a run of bad luck having been eighty-four days without catching a fish. (More)


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