We recorded Tuesday’s episode of The Readers today and Simon and I discussed the Women’s Prize for Fiction long list and I surprised myself but choosing seven (now eight) novels that I liked the sound of, which is not bad from a selection of twenty.
Long and short lists should be treated like shopping lists I think, obviously attention should be paid the eventual winner, but until then it’s good to look at books you might not have considered, or if you have to move them up your reading list, or if you’ve read and enjoyed them to commend your own taste, or if not liked criticise the judges (I’m not keen on this last one though people do).
Anyway, here is my selection:
One real surprise was Alif the Unseen as it’s one of ours (that is marketed as a genre novel) I have it sitting on my Kindle!
I loved the way the guardian presented the long list and my selection is very much based on their snippet reviews - ‘conversations about work, cups of tea, the weather. And yet somehow these small things make us more aware of the importance of these moments.’ I know it sound very mundane the setting is funeral home and I think that the mix would give some interesting insights.
Simon has managed to both excite and put me off this book by commenting on the ending. I know lots of people have loved this book but now I have a bit of doubt in my head.
“People are hospitalised, repeatedly; sacked, kidnapped, and incarcerated.’ Eventually, though, ‘dark satire gives way to spiritual uplift’.” thanks again to the guardian – it’s intriguing from that description alone!
I was reading the comments on a review by Andrew Motion and some of them were quite brutal about his misunderstanding of this book – I’ve had it for ages but it’s a little daunting reading prose poetry. Not that I dislike it but there is a rhythm to your thoughts – would take stamina?
A detective novel spanning Seattle to the South Pole? Oh go on then!
Simon is calling this one the winner. It’s had so much praise and is a bit of a departure from what Kate is best known for. Going to be giving it a read soon.
Finally, to be honest I’m never going to read this one. I don’t think I’m brave enough. I’ve heard that the subject matter is well handled and I’m glad that authors have scope to tackle the subject and that there are readers brave enough to read it.
So there we have it a quick tour of my picks and here is a bit more about it including the full list:
The Women’s Prize for Fiction – previously known as the Orange Prize for Fiction – celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world.
The full longlist
- Kitty Aldridge – A Trick I Learned From Dead Men
- Kate Atkinson – Life After Life
- Ros Barber – The Marlowe Papers
- Shani Boianjiu – The People of Forever are Not Afraid
- Gillian Flynn – Gone Girl
- Sheila Heti – How Should A Person Be?
- AM Homes – May We Be Forgiven
- Barbara Kingsolver – Flight Behaviour
- Deborah Copaken Kogan – The Red Book
- Hilary Mantel – Bring Up the Bodies
- Bonnie Nadzam – Lamb
- Emily Perkins – The Forrests
- Michèle Roberts – Ignorance
- Francesca Segal – The Innocents
- Maria Semple – Where’d You Go, Bernadette
- Elif Shafak – Honour
- Zadie Smith – NW
- ML Stedman – The Light Between Oceans
- Carrie Tiffany – Mateship with Birds
- G Willow Wilson – Alif the Unseen