20 Excellent Novels Under 150 Pages

I created this novels under 150 pages list because we all want to read shorter novels sometimes. I also have another list called novels under 100 pages and I’ll also create a novels under 200 pages list as well. If you love reading a certain amount of books each year and want to reach your reading goals, I believe these lists will help a lot. I don’t care much about how many books I read but I love discovering new authors and I want to read them all so I sometimes need to read shorter books. Which is totally fine!

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20 Excellent Novels Under 150 Pages

It didn’t take me a long time to discover that shorter books can be highly powerful. On this novels under 150 pages list, there are many excellent books you’ll want to reread and share with readers. As I love to read around the world, there are books from various countries and different genres in novels under 150 pages list. Enjoy!

If you want to read more brief novels check out:

Novels Under 150 Pages

Senselessness - Horacio Castellanos Moya

Senselessness – Horacio Castellanos Moya

A must-read among novels under 150 pages. A boozing, sex-obsessed writer finds himself employed by the Catholic Church (an institution he loathes) to proofread a 1,100 page report on the army’s massacre and torture of thousands of indigenous villagers a decade earlier, including the testimonies of the survivors. The writer’s job is to tidy it up: he rants, that was what my work was all about, cleaning up and giving a manicure to the Catholic hands that were piously getting ready to squeeze the balls of the military tiger.

Mesmerized by the strange Vallejo-like poetry of the Indians’ phrases (the houses they were sad because no people were inside them), the increasingly agitated and frightened writer is endangered twice over: by the spell the strangely beautiful heart-rending voices exert over his tenuous sanity, and by real danger–after all, the murderers are the very generals who still run this unnamed Latin American country. One of my favourites among novels under 150 pages.

Distant Star - Roberto Bolano

Distant Star – Roberto Bolano

Alberto Ruiz-Tagle was once the quiet, unknowable, unpromising member of Chile’s young poetry scene. But the military coup of 1973 sees Alberto reborn as Chile’s leading celebrity poet, Carlos Wieder. Known for his daring sky poems, penned in smoke high above the cities, Weider’s dazzling trajectory is a cause for astonishment and speculation amongst his old poetry friends. Where did this talent suddenly spring from? And, how is it connected to the disappearance of the beautiful Garmendia twins?

Told from across the years in exile in Europe, the narrator’s attempts to trace the fate of his old circle will lead him to one last confrontation with the brutality of their generation. A gem among novels under 150 pages.

Death in Venice - Thomas Mann

Death in Venice – Thomas Mann

Aging writer Gustave von Aschenbach is disappointed by Venice. The skies are leaden, the air is thick and sultry, and a sickening stench emanates from the murky labyrinth of canals. It would hardly be sensible to stay, especially not when rumours of a ‘sickness’ spread through the city. And yet Aschenbach cannot leave: he has seen an entirely beautiful young boy and has fallen under an enchantment. He must stay near the boy, though never speaking to him, even until it is too late. A classic among novels under 150 pages.

Pedro Páramo - Juan Rulfo

Pedro Páramo – Juan Rulfo

Swearing to his dying mother that he’ll find the father he has never met, a certain Pedro Páramo, Juan Preciado sets out across the barren plains of Mexico for Comala, the hallucinatory ghost town his father presided over like a feudal lord. Between the realms of the living and the dead, in fragments of dreams and the nightly whispers of Comala’s ghosts, there emerges the tragic tale of Pedro Páramo and the town whose every corner holds the taint of his rotten soul.

The Patience Stone - Atiq Rahimi

The Patience Stone – Atiq Rahimi

One of my favourite novels under 150 pages. A young woman prays at her husband’s bedside as he lies in a coma with a bullet in his neck. From outside come the sounds of tanks, gunshots, screaming and, most terrifying of all, silence. Inside, her two frightened daughters call to her from the hallway.

As she tries to keep her husband alive, the woman rages against men, war, culture, God. Even as her mind appears to unravel, she becomes intensely clear-sighted. Now is her chance – her first ever – to speak without being censored. Her husband’s body reminds her of the legend of the patience stone, a stone that hears all confessions until it explodes, and finally, spurred to new heights of daring, she spills out her most explosive secret. An exquisite choice among novels under 150 pages.

Yesterday - Ágota Kristóf

Yesterday – Ágota Kristóf

In spare, elegant prose, this modern novella recounts a troubled young man’s flight from a judgmental village.  Tobias, the illegitimate son of a prostitute and the local schoolmaster, finds peace with a factory job in the comfortable anonymity of a city. But his fragile respite is shattered by the appearance of Caroline, his boyhood love, who materializes with a husband and child in tow. A gem among novels under 150 pages.

The Postman Always Rings Twice - James M. Cain

The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M. Cain

The torrid story of Frank Chambers, the amoral drifter, Cora, the sullen and brooding wife, and Nick Papadakis, the amiable but inconvenient husband, has become a classic of its kind, and established Cain as a major novelist with a spare and vital prose style and a bleak vision of America. A classic among novels under 150 pages.

The Sense of an Ending - Julian Barnes

The Sense of an Ending – Julian Barnes

Tony Webster and his clique first met Adrian Finn at school. Sex-hungry and book-hungry, they would navigate the girl-less sixth form together, trading in affectations, in-jokes, rumour and wit. Maybe Adrian was a little more serious than the others, certainly more intelligent, but they all swore to stay friends for life.

Now Tony is retired. He’s had a career and a single marriage, a calm divorce. He’s certainly never tried to hurt anybody. Memory, though, is imperfect. It can always throw up surprises, as a lawyer’s letter is about to prove. A lovely book among novels under 150 pages.

Minor Detail - Adania Shibli

Minor Detail – Adania Shibli

Minor Detail begins during the summer of 1949, one year after the war that the Palestinians mourn as the Nakba – the catastrophe that led to the displacement and expulsion of more than 700,000 people – and the Israelis celebrate as the War of Independence. Israeli soldiers capture and rape a young Palestinian woman, and kill and bury her in the sand.

Many years later, a woman in Ramallah becomes fascinated to the point of obsession with this ‘minor detail’ of history. A haunting meditation on war, violence and memory, Minor Detail cuts to the heart of the Palestinian experience of dispossession, life under occupation, and the persistent difficulty of piecing together a narrative in the face of ongoing erasure and disempowerment. An interesting one among novels under 150 pages.

Trilogy - Jon Fosse

Trilogy – Jon Fosse

Trilogy is Jon Fosse’s critically acclaimed, luminous love story about Asle and Alida, two lovers trying to find their place in this world. Homeless and sleepless, they wander around Bergen in the rain, trying to make a life for themselves and the child they expect. Through a rich web of historical, cultural, and theological allusions, Fosse constructs a modern parable of injustice, resistance, crime, and redemption. Consisting of three novellas (WakefulnessOlav’s Dreams, and Weariness), Trilogy is a haunting, mysterious, and poignant evocation of love, for which Fosse received The Nordic Council’s Prize for Literature in 2015. An award-winning book among novels under 150 pages.

A Whole Life - Robert Seethaler

A Whole Life – Robert Seethaler

Andreas lives his whole life in the Austrian Alps, where he arrives as a young boy taken in by a farming family. He is a man of very few words and so, when he falls in love with Marie, he doesn’t ask for her hand in marriage, but instead has some of his friends light her name at dusk across the mountain. When Marie dies in an avalanche, pregnant with their first child, Andreas’ heart is broken. He leaves his valley just once more, to fight in WWII – where he is taken prisoner in the Caucasus – and returns to find that modernity has reached his remote haven… One of my favourites among novels under 150 pages.

The Sweet Indifference of the World - Peter Stamm

The Sweet Indifference of the World – Peter Stamm

Christoph, a middle-aged writer, has a story to share with Lena, a young actress. A long time ago, he was in a relationship with a woman called Magdalena, who was also an actress. Lena is currently in a relationship with a man called Chris, who is also a writer. As the two talk, it becomes clear that the two relationships contain echoes, similarities, and coincidences too remarkable to be called coincidences. Are Chris and Lena doomed to repeat Christoph and Magdalena’s broken relationship, or are Christoph and Magdalena a warning from the future? Who really exists? Is there such a thing as fate? An interesting one among novels under 150 pages.

An Answer from the Silence - Max Frisch

An Answer from the Silence – Max Frisch

This novel by esteemed Swiss writer Max Frisch is an exploration of the question: “Why don’t we live when we know we’re here just this one time, just one single, unrepeatable time in this unutterably magnificent world?!” This outcry against the emptiness of ordinary everyday life uttered by the hero of Frisch’s book is countered by “an answer from the silence” he meets when face-to-face with death.

When An Answer from the Silence begins, the protagonist has just turned thirty and is engaged to be married and about to start work as a teacher. Frightened by the idea of settling down, he journeys to the Alps in a do-or-die effort to climb the unclimbed North Ridge, and by doing so prove he is not ordinary. But having reached the top he returns not in triumph, but in frostbitten shock, having come dangerously close to death. An interesting one among novels under 150 pages.

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman - Denis Thériault

The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman – Denis Thériault

Secretly steaming open envelopes and reading the letters inside, Bilodo has found an escape from his lonely and routine life as a postman. When one day he comes across a mysterious letter containing a single haiku, he finds himself avidly caught up in the relationship between a long-distance couple who write to each other using only beautiful poetry. He feasts on their words, vicariously living a life for which he longs. But it will only be a matter of time before his world comes crashing down around him. A lovely read among novels under 150 pages.

Mrs Caliban - Rachel Ingalls

Mrs Caliban – Rachel Ingalls

Dorothy is a grieving housewife in the Californian suburbs; her husband is unfaithful, but they are too unhappy to get a divorce. One day, she is doing chores when she hears strange voices on the radio announcing that a green-skinned sea monster has escaped from the Institute for Oceanographic Research – but little does she expect him to arrive in her kitchen. Muscular, vegetarian, sexually magnetic, Larry the frogman is a revelation – and their passionate affair takes them on a journey beyond their wildest dreams … Rachel Ingalls’s Mrs Caliban is a bittersweet fable, a subversive fairy tale, as magical today as it was four decades ago among novels under 150 pages.

Assembly - Natasha Brown

Assembly – Natasha Brown

Come of age in the credit crunch. Be civil in a hostile environment. Step out into a world of Go Home vans. Go to Oxbridge, get an education, start a career. Do all the right things. Buy a flat. Buy art. Buy a sort of happiness. But above all, keep your head down. Keep quiet. And keep going.

The narrator of Assembly is a Black British woman. She is preparing to attend a lavish garden party at her boyfriend’s family estate, set deep in the English countryside. At the same time, she is considering the carefully assembled pieces of herself. As the minutes tick down and the future beckons, she can’t escape the question: is it time to take it all apart? An exciting one among novels under 150 pages.

Such Small Hands - Andrés Barba

Such Small Hands – Andrés Barba

A horror among novels under 150 pages. Her father died instantly, her mother in the hospital. She has learned to say this flatly and without emotion, the way she says her name (Marina), her doll’s name (also Marina) and her age (seven). Her parents were killed in a car crash and now she lives in the orphanage with the other little girls. But Marina is not like the other little girls. In the curious, hyperreal, feverishly serious world of childhood, Marina and the girls play games of desire and warfare.

The daily rituals of playtime, lunchtime and bedtime are charged with a horror; horror is licked by the dark flames of love. When Marina introduces the girls to Marina the Doll, she sets in motion a chain of events from which there can be no release. With shades of Daphne du Maurier, Shirley Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro and Mariana Enriquez, Such Small Hands is a beautifully controlled tour-de-force, a bedtime story to keep readers awake among novels under 150 pages.

Strike Your Heart - Amélie Nothomb

Strike Your Heart – Amélie Nothomb

Marie is the prettiest girl in her provincial hometown and is dating the most popular boy in town. She is the envy of all her schoolmates and she loves it. When she falls pregnant and gives birth to Diana, things change. Diana steals the hearts of all who meet her, inciting nothing but jealousy in her mother.

This is Diana’s story. The story of a young, brilliant woman who grows up without maternal affection. It is the story of Diana’s relationships with other women: her best friend, the sweet Elisabeth; her mentor, the selfish Olivia; her sister, the beloved Célia; and, of course, her mother. It is a story about the baser sentiments that often animate human relations: rivalry, jealousy, distrust. A gem among novels under 150 pages.

The Hole - Hye-young Pyun

The Hole – Hye-young Pyun

In this tense, gripping novel by a star of Korean literature, Oghi has woken from a coma after causing a devastating car accident that took his wife’s life and left him paralyzed and badly disfigured. His caretaker is his mother-in-law, a widow grieving the loss of her only child. Oghi is neglected and left alone in his bed.

His world shrinks to the room he lies in and his memories of his troubled relationship with his wife, a sensitive, intelligent woman who found all of her life goals thwarted except for one: cultivating the garden in front of their house. But soon Oghi notices his mother-in-law in the abandoned garden, uprooting what his wife had worked so hard to plant and obsessively digging larger and larger holes. When asked, she answers only that she is finishing what her daughter started. A Korean among novels under 150 pages.

Die, My Love - Ariana Harwicz

Die, My Love – Ariana Harwicz

In a forgotten patch of French countryside, a woman is battling her demons embracing exclusion yet wanting to belong, craving freedom whilst feeling trapped, yearning for family life but at the same time wanting to burn the entire house down. Given surprising leeway by her family for her increasingly erratic behaviour, she nevertheless feels ever more stifled and repressed.

Motherhood, womanhood, the banality of love, the terrors of desire, the inexplicable brutality of another person carrying your heart forever Die, My Love faces all this with a raw intensity. It s not a question of if a breaking point will be reached, but rather when and how violent a form will it take? An exciting one among novels under 150 pages.

Check out my other lists about books!

  1. 10 Uplifting Books
  2. Great Novels by Poets
  3. Feel-Good Cozy Mystery Series
  4. Autumn Books – 20 Cozy Novels
  5. Winter Books- 20 Atmospheric Novels
  6. Spring Books – 20 Lovely Novels
  7. 20 Captivating Gothic Books
  8. Japanese Books Under 200 Pages
  9. 20 Best Campus and Academic Novels
  10. 25 Intriguing Dark Academia Books
  11. 20 Literary Romance Novels
  12. 20 Best Food Culture and Food History Books
  13. Comforting Food Memoirs
  14. Top 5 Haiku Books
  15. 15 Best Eco-fiction Novels
  16. Perfect Christmas Books
  17. 20 Best Turkish Books
  18. Standalone Fantasy Books
  1. Books Set in Museums
  2. Books Set in Hotels
  3. Books Set on Islands
  4. Novels Set in Ancient Egypt
  5. Novels Set in Bookshops
  6. Novels Set in Libraries
  7. Books Set in the English Countryside
  8. Books Set in Edinburgh
  9. Books Set in Oxford
  10. Books Set in Istanbul
  11. Books Set in Forests
  1. Novels Under 100 Pages
  2. Novels Under 150 Pages
  3. Novels Under 200 Pages
  4. Novels About Books
  5. Best Books About Books
  6. Novels About Vincent Van Gogh
  7. Novels About Leonardo da Vinci
  8. Novels About Marriage
  9. Novels About Food
  10. Novels About Writers
  11. Books About Witches
  12. Novels About Ernest Hemingway
  13. Best Books About Birds
  14. Best Books About Walking
  15. Best Books About Tea
  16. Novels About Scents & Perfume

Are there any other novels under 150 pages that should be on this list? Please share your favourite books with us in the comments section below.

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