15 short, thought-provoking novels to read over the Christmas period

Ah, Christmas – it’s the time of year when almost every one of us wants as much time off as we can wangle. If you’ve succeeded in eking out an extra few days of holiday and it’s been as relaxing as you’d hoped, you may have found yourself munching on mince pies, watching crap TV and lounging by the fire with a good book. Maybe you’re even doing it now.

So if you’ve got a few luxurious hours to yourself between now and going back to work, it’s probably the perfect time to pick up a short novel. There are dozens of books which could have made this list, but those here are guaranteed to leave you thinking about them long after you’ve finished. All less than 200 pages, prepare to be inspired – don your thermal socks, a hot chocolate and the comfiest seat in the house.

Main image: terren in Virginia at Flickr Creative Commons


1. The Metamorphosis – Franz Kafka (1915)

82 pages

‘I cannot make you understand. I cannot make anyone understand what is happening inside me. I cannot even explain it to myself.’

This bizarre, absurdist novella tells the tale of Gregor Samsa, who wakes up one morning to find he has turned into a gigantic vermin. Unable to function properly and shunned by his family, Gregor slowly falls into despair. Surreal, vague and painful, The Metamorphosis is a poignant exploration of one man’s struggle to cope with failure.

Sadie Hale

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