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Books of the Year: Reviewers and authors pick their faves of 2009

‘Mysteriously underrated among this year’s novels was MJ Hyland’s This Is How; but then, Hyland’s talent in itself is mysterious. How does she, while fixing our attention on external events, make us so complicit in her characters' internal worlds: so stickily enthralled, so nervously guilty?…Maria Hyland is like no one else writing today; her work is spare, ungiving, a challenge. At the same time, it is deeply humane.’ Hilary Mantel, Guardian