Books that take place over a long period of time

Happy Friday, everyone!

I’ve recently discovered that I really enjoy books that take place over a long period of time. I guess I like being able to see how the characters develop and how everything is connected and related. I also think it’s cool when you know something is going to happen and you’re just waiting for it to happen. So today I thought I’d talk about and recommend some books that do that. Somewhat unsurprisingly, I rated (almost) all these books four or five stars.

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The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant: this is a fiction book that is written somewhat like a memoir, and follows the main character over her lifetime. I really enjoyed seeing how the main character and her relationships developed. There are also some great settings in this book, and great female friendships.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne: this is a similar structure to the Boston Girl in that it follows the main character from before he was born until his late 70s. I liked seeing how the main character developed, and how society with and around him.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee: this book follows the same family over several generations, and it’s one of my all-time favourites. Seeing the family develop over time was probably the best part of this book. There are certain characters who you expect to end up one way who end up going the opposite way, and vice versa. It’s just so brilliantly done and so realistic. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi: after putting this book on every TBR since I started this blog, I finally read this book, and I’m so glad I did. It was amazing. It follows the same blood line for literally hundreds of years, from pre-slavery times in Ghana to modern-day America, with one timeline primarily in Ghana and one timeline primarily in America. I loved the structure of this book and loved seeing the family develop over such a long period of time.

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The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid: this book follows Evelyn Hugo as she tells us about her seven husbands. Each section is divided based on the husband. Again, I loved seeing how Evelyn developed over time and how each husband played a role in her life.

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro: this book follows the narrator and her friends from the time they’re school children up until they’re adults. I really liked seeing how they changed and how their relationships were influenced by each other over time. This is one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read, too.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden: this is another book that follows the main character throughout her whole life. Seeing how she changed over time, and how Japan was changing, was really interesting. Arthur Golden and this book are kind of #problematic, though, so maybe try buying a used copy or getting it from your library instead of buying it.

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My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares: tbh I read this book so long ago and don’t remember a ton of it. But, I do know that it takes place over the narrator’s (immortal) life and we get to see different time periods and settings. It’s super unique, and I highly recommend it.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Americanah follows two main characters from when they’re kids until they reunite again as adults. I loved seeing their paths, how they changed, and how they didn’t change. I highly recommend this book if you’re looking for a character-driven novel with unlikeable characters.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold: this book starts with the murder of Susie Salmon, and then follows her in the afterlife, her family on Earth as they reconcile her death, and her murderer. I know this book is fairly polarizing in that you either love it or hate it, but I think it’s super interesting.

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So those are some of my favourite books just in general, but also books that take place over a long period of time. Have you read any of these? Is this style of books something you enjoy as well? Do you have any recommendations? Let me know!

Thanks for reading! xx


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19 thoughts on “Books that take place over a long period of time

  1. I’m a bit iffy about books that take place over such a long period of time. I’ve read a few that had long time periods but weren’t done all that well — and of course, I can’t think of any examples at the moment.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Good list! The only book I can think of that fits the criteria is Cloud Atlas. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to but maybe that was because I was expecting there to be some big mystery when there wasn’t supposed to be one. I like how each story linked into the next though. And how each was characteristically unique.

    Liked by 1 person

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