Every family has a certain level of dysfunction—some more than others. And let’s face it, sibling rivalries, overbearing mothers, and absent fathers all make for very compelling fiction. We’ve compiled a list of incredible novels that follow families with issues of their own. From Ian McEwan to Toni Morrison, some of these stories manage to find the beauty in dysfunction, while others simply acknowledge the flaws that are a fundamental aspect of the human condition. And all of them, in their own way, will make you think about what “family” really means.
Olympus, Texas by Stacey Swann
“There is a surplus of buried hurt and unspoken disappointments within the Briscoe family. It may be difficult for these characters to realize their flaws and tangled desires, but it sure is pleasurable to read about them…I experienced the characters’ grief and regret as if they were my own.” —New York Times Book Review