All good stories are meant to give us pleasure, but not all pleasures are delightful. Some novels are powerful in the ways they undo us. We love them, not because of action-packed scenes or crazy twists and turns, but because they speak to something urgent and, perhaps, sad within us. These stories are often intimate and emotionally rewarding. They make us feel powerfully. They change something deeply felt in us. We read them to connect with something raw and honest about life, no matter how painful it might be to witness. Here are novels that speak to a reader’s search for emotional authenticity.