Books

Top 5 books on family life

Irish author Marian Keyes, who has penned several books taking on modern women and family life, gives us her top five books on family life

Marian Keyes lists her top 5 books on family life. Image credit: Morning Bird Photo / Pixabay

Marian Keyes lists her top 5 books on family life. Image credit: Morning Bird Photo / Pixabay

After repeated lockdowns, many of us might feel like we have seen quite enough of our family for one lifetime. 

But books about family life can still be some of the most enjoyable, charming and comforting during these strange and uncertain times. 

Here, Irish author Marian Keyes, who has penned several books taking on modern women and family life, gives us her top five. 

Lockdowns have taken income away from hundreds of Big Issue sellers. Support The Big Issue and our vendors by signing up for a subscription.

91cq9v-YdbL

The Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard

This seems the obvious first choice. Five novels, following the lives and loves of an upper middle-class English family, the Cazalets is both panoramic and exquisitely detailed. The books begin in 1937 and finish in 1956 and have countless devoted fans.

81g4LMkdEQL

Our Little Cruelties by Liz Nugent

Sibling rivalry? Dysfunctional relationships? A mysterious death? Step this way! This dark, grim, thrillingly honest book about three brothers and their manipulative mother is unputdownable. It might also make you feel that your own family isn’t that bad, actually.

91XEhrmhXxL

Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons

Such a funny book! Written in 1932, townie Flora Poste goes to live in Sussex with the Starkadders, her extensive family of country bumpkin cousins. A merciless and brilliant parody of rural melodrama novels, it always cheers me up.

81WLvEzQCnL

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

One of my most favourite books ever. A US missionary and his four daughters move to the Congo in 1959 to try to convert the locals. But rebellion is in the air. Their life is told in four different strands by the four daughters, who all have different, sometimes contradictory, versions of events. Everyone should read this.  

615el5eqgVL

You Exist Too Much by Zaina Arafat

This focuses on the mother-daughter relationship, giving us a vivid, painful look at the consequences of growing up with a mother who, because of her own trauma, is unable to give unconditional love to her daughter.

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes is out now (Penguin Michael Joseph, £8.99)

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan review – a droll insight into a year of loss
Books

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan review – a droll insight into a year of loss

Top 5 books about the British seaside, chosen by crime writer William Shaw
Books

Top 5 books about the British seaside, chosen by crime writer William Shaw

The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard review – the moral conundrums of coming of age
Books

The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard review – the moral conundrums of coming of age

Fragile Animals by Genevieve Jagger review – a captivating and original gothic novel
Books

Fragile Animals by Genevieve Jagger review – a captivating and original gothic novel

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know