#3 Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom
Where the God of Love Hangs Out begins with two short novellas, followed by four short stories, all about the different incarnations of love between two people. My favourite story sees a widowed woman and her stepson's complicated but loving relationship through a very awkward event. Blooms writing is masterful, reminiscent of Alice Munro's unique skill of describing seemingly insignificant events and charging them with meaning.
#2 How it Feels by Brendan Cowell
Wonderful first novel. Tells of the relationship between four friends from high school through to middle age. Cowell has a very honest, original voice that is at times shocking, but also challenging and thought provoking. Describes the juxtaposition of growing up in suburban Sydney perfectly.
#1 Jimmy Corrigan the Smartest Kid on Earth by Chris Ware
This collection of comic strips tells the story of Jimmy Corrigan, an unloved child and lonely man. Told from the perspective of Jimmy, it tells the story of four generations of Corrigans through non-linear narrative flashbacks. Ware's illustrations are sparse but beautiful. It is a surprisingly emotional read that will stay with you long after you finish it.
Wendy James' collection of short stories is utterly compelling. Each story gives us a snapshot of a relationship. Be it a stay-at-home dad and a stranger in a park, or an 18th-century father and daughter, James writes their stories with precision and lucidity. Her ability to describe her characters' emotional journeys with such clarity is unparalleled.