I wanted to create a list of novels under 100 pages because one needs a short and thus easy to carry in a bag kind of book while travelling, right? I took a two-hour ride the other day, and there wasn’t enough space for a massive book in my bag, and I couldn’t find a short novel in my bookcase. So I ended up reading from my phone on the train, and I must say I didn’t enjoy it a lot. I took a mental note to buy loads of short novels under 100 pages just to read on relatively short rides, and here we are.
Sometimes, when we read not so great novels in a row, we may end up with reader’s block. I think shorter books may help us to overcome it. I hope you’ll never have a reader’s block, but if you ever do, novels under 100 pages are here to help. I tried to find novels under 100 pages from various countries and genres. I hope you’ll find one to your liking. Enjoy!
Novels Under 100 Pages
Bonsai is the story of Julio and Emilia, two young Chilean students who, seeking truth in great literature, find each other instead. Like all young couples, they lie to each other, revise themselves, and try new identities on for size, observing and analyzing their love story as if it’s one of the great novels they both pretend to have read. As they shadow each other throughout their young adulthoods, falling together and drifting apart, Zambra spins a formally innovative, metafictional tale that brilliantly explores the relationship among love, art, and memory. A Chilean writer among novels under 100 pages.
Living in the slums of Rio and eking out a living as a typist, Macabéa loves movies, Coca-Cola and her philandering rat of a boyfriend; she would like to be like Marilyn Monroe, but she is ugly and unloved. Yet telling her story is the narrator Rodrigo S.M., who tries to direct Macabéa’s fate but comes to realize that, for all her outward misery, she is inwardly free. Slyly subverting ideas of poverty, identity, love and the art of writing itself, Clarice Lispector’s audacious last novel is a haunting portrayal of innocence in a bad world. A Brazilian writer among novels under 100 pages.
The Royal Game A Chess Story – Stefan Zweig
On the deck of a transatlantic ocean liner, a crowd of passengers gathers to watch reigning chess world champion Mirko Czentovic take on a series of amateur challengers. The haughty grandmaster dispatches all of his opponents with ease, until one Dr B steps forward from the crowd―a passionate lover of the royal game who still bears the mental scars of imprisonment by the Nazis in his native Austria. The enigmatic genius reluctantly agrees to challenge Czentovic, but at what cost to his sanity?
Written during the Second World War, The Royal Game was the great Stefan Zweig’s final work―a searing, suspenseful tale of psychological torment and the price of obsession. An Austrian writer among novels under 100 pages.
The Children’s Bach – Helen Garner
Athena and Dexter live a happy but insular life, bound by routine and the care of their young sons. When Elizabeth, an old friend from Dexter’s university days, turns up with her much younger sister, Vicki, and her lover, Philip, she brings an enticing world into their doorstep. And Athena finds herself straining at the confines of her life. Helen Garner portrays her characters with a clear eye for their dreams, their insecurities and their deep humanity in this intimate and engaging short novel, which was first published in 1984. The Children’s Bach is ‘a jewel,’ in Ben Lerner’s description, ‘beautiful, lapidary, rare.’ An Australian writer among novels under 100 pages.
Ascent – Ludwig Hohl
Two young men with very different personalities set out to climb a mountain. Ull, decisive and competent, has his eye on the goal: the summit. Johann, irresolute, is just along for the climb; after several setbacks, he gives up and turns back. Ull continues on–despite the near impossibility of summiting along, and ignoring all warning signs–determined to reach the summit in defiance of his friend. A Swiss writer among novels under 100 pages.
My Two Worlds – Sergio Chejfec
Approaching his fiftieth birthday, the narrator is wandering in an unfamiliar Brazilian city, in search of a park. A walker by inclination and habit, he decides to explore the city after attending a literary conference-he was invited to following the publication of his most recent novel, although, as he is informed via anonymous e-mail, has not been receiving good reviews. Initially thwarted by his inability to transpose the 2D information of the map onto the impassable roads and dead-ends of the city, once in the park he begins to see his own thoughts mirrored. An Argentine writer among novels under 100 pages.
If You’re Not Yet Like Me – Edan Lepucki
Joellyn as judgmental as she is insecure tells her unborn daughter the story of her courtship with an unemployed, terribly-dressed man named Zachary. The novella is a romantic comedy if romantic comedies were dark and screwed up and no one got exactly what they wanted. An American writer among novels under 100 pages.
Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator of Dostoevsky’s most revolutionary novel is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In full retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature. A Russian classic among novels under 100 pages.
Beauty Salon – Mario Bellatin
In a large, unnamed city, a strange, highly infectious disease begins to spread, afflicting its victims with an excruciating descent toward death, particularly unsparing in its assault of those on society’s margins. Spurned by their loved ones and denied treatment by hospitals, the sick are left to die on the streets until a beauty salon owner, whose previous caretaking experience extended only to the exotic fish tanks scattered among his workstations, opens his doors as a refuge. In the ramshackle Morgue, victim to persecution and violence, he accompanies his male guests as they suffer through the lifeless anticipation of certain death, eventually leaving the wistful narrator in complete, ill-fated isolation. A Mexican writer among novels under 100 pages.
Daisy Miller – Henry James
Travelling in Europe with her family, Daisy Miller, an exquisitely beautiful young American woman, presents her fellow-countryman Winterbourne with a dilemma he cannot resolve. Is she deliberately flouting social convention in the outspoken way she talks and acts, or is she simply ignorant of those conventions? When she strikes up an intimate friendship with an urbane young Italian, her flat refusal to observe the codes of respectable behaviour leave her perilously exposed. In Daisy Miller James created his first great portrait of the enigmatic and dangerously independent American woman, a figure who would come to dominate his later masterpieces. A classic among novels under 100 pages.
The Alienist – Machado De Assis
Brilliant physician Simao Bacamarte sacrifices a prestigious career to return home and educate himself to the budding field of psychology. Bacamarte opens the first asylum hoping to crown himself and his hometown with ‘imperishable laurels’. But then the good doctor starts to see signs of insanity in more and more of his neighbours. With dark humour and sparse prose, The Alienist lets the reader ponder who is really crazy after all. Originally published in 1882, readers will find that this tragically humorous novella remains as relevant as ever. A Brazilian novelist among novels under 100 pages.
The Old Man And The Sea – Ernest Hemingway
This short novel, already a modern classic, is the superbly told, tragic story of a Cuban fisherman in the Gulf Stream and the giant Marlin he kills and loses — specifically referred to in the citation accompanying the author’s Nobel Prize for literature in 1954. A gem among novels under 100 pages.
Foster – Claire Keegan
It is a hot summer in rural Ireland. A girl is sent to live with foster parents on a farm, not knowing when she will return home. In the strangers’ house, she finds a warmth and affection she has not known before and slowly begins to blossom in their care. But in a house where there are meant to be no secrets, she discovers how fragile her idyll is. An Irish writer among novels under 100 pages.
Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome works his unproductive farm and struggles to maintain a bearable existence with his difficult, suspicious and hypochondriac wife, Zeena. But when Zeena’s vivacious cousin enters their household as a ‘hired girl’, Ethan finds himself obsessed with her and with the possibilities for happiness she comes to represent. In one of American fiction’s finest and most intense narratives, Edith Wharton moves this ill-starred trio towards their tragic destinies. A classic among novels under 100 pages.
A novel about obsessive love and madness set in postwar Switzerland, Fleur Jaeggy’s eerily beautiful novel begins innocently enough: “At fourteen I was a boarder in a school in the Appenzell.” But there is nothing innocent here. With the off-handed remorselessness of a young Eve, the narrator describes her potentially lethal designs to win the affections of Fréderique, the apparently perfect new girl. In Tim Parks’ consummate translation (with its “spare, haunting quality of a prose poem,” TLS), Sweet Days of Discipline is a peerless, terrifying, and gorgeous work. A Swiss writer among novels under 100 pages.
A mother and daughter travel from abroad to meet in Tokyo: they walk along the canals through the autumn evenings, escape the typhoon rains, share meals in small cafes and restaurants, and visit galleries to see some of the city’s most radical modern art. All the while, they talk: about the weather, horoscopes, clothes, and objects, about family, distance, and memory. But uncertainties abound.
Who is really speaking here – is it only the daughter? And what is the real reason behind this elliptical, perhaps even spectral journey? At once a careful reckoning and an elegy, Cold Enough for Snow questions whether any of us speak a common language, which dimensions can contain love, and what claim we have to truly know another’s inner world. An interesting one among novels under 100 pages.
Larger Than Life – Jodi Picoult
Alice is a researcher studying memory in elephants and is fascinated by the bonds between mother and calf – the mother’s powerful protective instincts and her newborn’s unwavering loyalty. Living on a game reserve in Botswana, Alice is able to view the animals in their natural habitat, as long as she obeys one important rule: she must only observe and never interfere.
Then she finds an orphaned young elephant in the bush and cannot bear to leave the helpless baby behind. Alice will risk her career to care for the calf. Yet what she comes to understand is the depth of a parent’s love. A contemporary among novels under 100 pages.
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer – Fredrik Backman
From the New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove, My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry, Britt-Marie Was Here, and Anxious People comes an exquisitely moving portrait of an elderly man’s struggle to hold on to his most precious memories, and his family’s efforts to care for him even as they must find a way to let go.
With all the same charm of his bestselling full-length novels, here Fredrik Backman once again reveals his unrivaled understanding of human nature and deep compassion for people in difficult circumstances. This is a tiny gem with a message you’ll treasure for a lifetime among novels under 100 pages.
So Long a Letter – Mariama Ba
Written by Mariama Ba and translated from the French by Modupe Bode-Thomas, So Long a Letter won the first Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, and was recognised as one of Africa’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century in an initiative organised by the Zimbabwe International Book Fair.
This edition includes an introduction by Professor Kenneth W. Harrow of Michigan State University. A gem from Africa among novels under 100 pages.
The Necrophiliac – Gabrielle Wittkop
For more than three decades, Lucien – one of the most notorious characters in the history of the novel – has haunted the imaginations of readers around the world. This new translation introduces English readers to a masterpiece of French literature among novels under 100 pages. Like the best writings of Edgar Allen Poe or Baudelaire, Wittkop’s prose goes far beyond gothic horror to explore the melancholy in the loneliest depths of the human condition, forcing readers to confront their own mortality with unprecedented intimacy. A horror among novels under 100 pages.
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- Novels Under 100 Pages
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- Novels Under 200 Pages
- Novels About Older Woman, Younger Man Relationships
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Are there any other novels under 100 pages that should be on this list? Please share your favourite books with us in the comments section below.