Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls was banned shortly after it was published in 1960, and the Irish author’s own parish priest publicly set it on fire. The groundbreaking work cast a critical eye on a repressive, post-war Ireland, launching an entire generation of writers, including Colm Tóibín. The book would ultimately become an eponymous trilogy, but it all began with Kata and Baba, childhood friends who lit out for Dublin. One is romantic, the other independent, and their friendship tumultuous. Love, of course, changes everything, and lives once intertwined become concurrent.Read about another novel on the list.