If you are looking for one stunning piece of literature, look no further than Caleb Crain's stunning literary debut, Necessary Errors.
It's 1990, and the Czechoslovakian revolution is barely a year old. Having just missed it, Jacob arrives bright eyed and ready to take his new home by storm. He is a writer but currently teaches at a language school, using his cashed-in plane ticket home to buy his cigarettes and drinks. His group of friends pair off over time, finding one another in romance, while Jacob makes Prague his home and finds that his initial impressions of people are not entirely accurate. People grow, people change, people find themselves--including Jacob himself.
Let me tell you about this novel. It is STUNNING. Capital S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G. Like someone took a stun gun, pointed it at my side, and fired every time I set down to open this novel. I couldn't gloss over any sentence; I had to drink every moment in from the goblet of genius that wrote each and every sentence of this story. Attention must be paid to this novel and its words.
Oh, so now you think I've gone a bit over board. NOT TRUE. This was a book that I wanted to stop reading in order to keep it forever fresh on my bookshelf. When I love a piece of art I find that I can't stand to finish it. This is because once it is over I may be devastated, and I can't have that, you see. This novel was just that. I wanted to only read a page at a time so that I could extend its life FOREVER. Of course I didn't do that in this case, but that's what I felt like.
I loved Jacob. I really did. I loved watching his relationships both romantic and platonic blossom and hurt and open him up to new possibilities. I loved his tenacity and his openness which still occasionally holding his cards close to the vest. I loved his character arc and the growth I saw in his throughout the 400-something pages in which I was so invested.
(I also loved recognizing all of the streets, the monuments, and the buildings mentioned in the book. I adored Prague; it remains one of the most amazing cities I have visited.)
I lapped up Necessary Errors like a nursing cat desperate for its mother's milk. I never stopped wanting more, and I am so sad it's over. Amazing. Just, simply amazing.
Kindle version on left, hard copy on right.