Reading Guides

Twelve Important Fiction Books of 2021!

As the end of 2021 draws near, we highlight some of the most important fiction books released this year…

Although some of these fiction books will appear on our Advent calendar of 2021’s Best Books (and no, we won’t reveal here which ones will be on that list), we won’t say that these are the 12 BEST fiction books — just that they are important ones that should be widely read and discussed… 

We feature our novel of the year first, and after that the remaining book are in alphabetical order by the author’s last name….  

Twelve Important Theology Books of 2021

 *** What one novel would you add to this list?

Important Fiction Books of 2021The Substance of Things Hoped For: A Novel

Tom Noyes


For a brief time in mid-nineteenth century Oneida, New York, two of the most eccentric and fascinating figures in American history crossed paths when troubled soul and soon-to-be presidential assassin Charles Guiteau threw in his lot with John Humphrey Noyes’s utopian community of “free love” believers.

In The Substance of Things Hoped For, Tom Noyes—a distant relative of John Humphrey Noyes—renders this historical intersection by deftly imagining the dynamics and consequences of an ominous and unusual relationship.

As Guiteau stumbles further into madness and eventually achieves infamy for his murder of President Garfield, John Humphrey Noyes is left to face the consequences of his own missteps and misunderstandings as he’s forced to make a hasty exit from Oneida.

Joining Noyes and Guiteau in their parallel narratives is a chorus of other characters—family members, lovers, rivals, notable historical figures—whose haunting voices complement, undermine, complicate, and enhance Noyes’s and Guiteau’s versions of events, while also homing in on the novel’s most pressing questions, including those related to revelation, delusion, loyalty, and love.


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