15 June, 2021

A Good Shelfful: The Best Books Of 2009

Outlook asked an eminent panel of writers and critics to come up with their choice of the best books of 2009 across different categories. Here’s their take.

A Good Shelfful: The Best Books Of 2009

Non-Fiction: Sunil Khilnani


The book I have been enjoying most over the past several weeks is Ian Jack’s The Country Formerly Known As Great Britain: Writings, 1989-2009—a collection of his newspaper journalism as well as longer essays that appeared mainly in Granta (which Jack edited for a dozen years). Jack’s unique tone, a wry melancholy (like a more astringent version of W.G. Sebald), emerges from and expresses his constant theme—the dismantling of a great empire, country and industrial society, Great Britain—and he tells this grand come-apart through the everyday lives and small details that made that empire. The pieces move between provincial Scotland, where...

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