Monday, 14 March 2016

Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist

 Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist
£30,000 prize. • Shortlist announced 11th April. • Winner announced June 8th.

It's certainly the time of year for literary prizes, click here for my rundown of the Man Booker International longlist and here for the YA Book Prize. The Baileys Women's Prize has a longlist featuring a whopping twenty books, of which I've only read one. It seems I don't read a lot of books that get nominated for these big prizes, so I'm certainly intrigued to sift through them and gain a little bit of an insight into their plots.  

A Little Life is the only one I've read (and adored!), but I also have Ruby sitting patiently on my shelf. A God in Ruins comes very highly recommended by a lot of people whose opinions I really value so it's no surprise to see it on the list. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is another that I've consistently read a lot of excellent things about, so I think I might have to add that to my to-read list as it sounds very intriguing.

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson
In Life After Life Ursula Todd lived through the turbulent events of the last century again and again. In A God in Ruins, Atkinson turns her focus on Ursula’s beloved younger brother Teddy, a would-be poet, RAF bomber pilot, husband and father, as he navigates the perils and progress of the 20th century.

Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett
An impassioned, charming, and hilarious debut novel about a young woman's coming-of-age, during one of the harshest whaling seasons in the history of New South Wales.

Ruby by Cynthia Bond
Ephram Jennings has never forgotten the beautiful girl with the long braids running through the piney woods of Liberty, their small East Texas town. Young Ruby Bell, “the kind of pretty it hurt to look at,” has suffered beyond imagining, so as soon as she can, she flees suffocating Liberty for the bright pull of 1950s New York.

The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks
Peeling away the myth to bring the Old Testament's King David to life in Second Iron Age Israel, Brooks traces the arc of his journey from obscurity to fame, from shepherd to soldier, from hero to traitor, from beloved king to murderous despot and into his remorseful and diminished dotage.


The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling.

A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton
When Amaterasu Takahashi opens the door of her Philadelphia home to a badly scarred man claiming to be her grandson, she doesn’t believe him. But the man carries with him a collection of sealed private letters that open a Pandora’s Box of family secrets Ama had sworn to leave behind when she fled Japan.

Whispers Through a Megaphone by Rachel Elliott
Miriam hasn't left her house in three years, and cannot raise her voice above a whisper. But today she has had enough, and is finally ready to rejoin the outside world. Meanwhile, Ralph has made the mistake of opening a closet door, only to discover with a shock that his wife Sadie doesn't love him, and never has. And so he decides to run away.

The Green Road by Anne Enright
Spanning thirty years and three continents, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigan family, and her four children.

The Book of Memory by Petina Gappah
Memory is an albino woman languishing in Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison in Harare, Zimbabwe, where she has been convicted of murder. As part of her appeal, her lawyer insists that she write down what happened as she remembers it. As her story unfolds, Memory reveals that she has been tried and convicted for the murder of Lloyd Hendricks, her adopted father. But who was Lloyd Hendricks? And did everything happen exactly as she remembers?

Gorsky by Vesna Goldsworthy
London dances to the tune of Gorsky’s billions. The most enigmatic of oligarchs, Gorsky has been led to the city by his love for Natalia, whom he first knew in Russia. That she is now married to an Englishman is an inconvenient detail.

The Anatomist's Dream by Clio Gray
In a small salt-mining town, Philbert is born with a ‘taupe’, a disfiguring inflammation of the skull. Abandoned by both parents and with only a pet pig for company, he eventually finds refuge and companionship in a travelling carnival, Maulwerf’s Fair of Wonders, as it makes its annual migration across Germany bringing entertainment to a people beset by famine, repression and revolutionary ferment.

At Hawthorn Time by Melissa Harrison
As the lives of these four people overlap, we realize that mysterious layers of history are not only buried within them, but also locked into the landscape. A captivating novel, At Hawthorn Time is about what it means to belong, and about what it is to take our own, long road into the unknown.


Pleasantville by Attica Locke
In this sophisticated thriller, lawyer Jay Porter, hero of Locke’s bestseller Black Water Rising, returns to fight one last case, only to become embroiled once again in a dangerous game of shadowy politics and a witness to how far those in power are willing to go to win.

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney
One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland's post-crash society. Biting, moving and darkly funny, The Glorious Heresies explores salvation, shame and the legacy of Ireland's twentieth-century attitudes to sex and family.

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie
Set in and around Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old anti establishment values, and with the specter of our current wars looming across its pages, The Portable Veblen is an unforgettable look at the way we live now. A young couple on the brink of marriage—the charming Veblen and her fiancé Paul, a brilliant neurologist—find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each others dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tête-à-tête with a very charismatic squirrel.

Girl at War by Sara Nović
Ten-year-old Ana Jurić is a carefree tomboy who runs the streets of Croatia's capital with her best friend, Luka, takes care of her baby sister, Rahela, and idolizes her father. But as civil war breaks out across Yugoslavia, soccer games and school lessons are supplanted by sniper fire and air raid drills. When tragedy suddenly strikes, Ana is lost to a world of guerilla warfare and child soldiers; a daring escape plan to America becomes her only chance for survival.


The House at the Edge of the World by Julia Rochester
Shortly after their eighteenth birthday, twins Morwenna and Corwin’s father dies accidentally when he falls off a cliff, drunk. With him go the last vestiges of their childhood, and soon after both move away to start their separate adult lives. When their beloved grandfather grows ill, the pull of home is too strong to resist and they find themselves back in the family house in Devon, drawn to the map, their grandfather’s life’s work. But is there a deeper meaning hidden among the tiny pictures of shipwrecks, asps and farting devils, and could it lead them closer to what really happened to their father all those years ago?

The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild
Annie McDee, thirty-one and recovering from the end of a long-term relationship, is chef for two sinister art dealers. She's just spent her meager savings on a dusty junk-shop painting for her new, unsuitable, boyfriend. But when he doesn't show up for his birthday dinner, it becomes hers. And amazingly, the painting speaks--though only we hear "him." Shrewd, spoiled, charming, world weary, and cynical, he comments, from his unique perspective, on Annie and the modern world, but he also recounts tales of his previous owners. Once it becomes known that Annie has the painting she finds herself at the center of a frantic scramble among dealers, collectors, and other highly interested parties, for its ownership

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters.

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara 
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome, but that will define his life forever.

Are any of these on your must-read list? 


Jennie

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6 comments:

  1. I'm really enjoying these series of posts! I've only read My Name Is Lucy Barton from this list, and I'm sad to say I didn't really love it. But then, perhaps that's the nature of these nominated books on various long (and short!)-lists....quite often they're not what I expect and highlight how different my tastes are to those of the people picking. I'd really like to read Whispers Through A Megaphone and The Book Of Memory, though x

    Lorna | Lorna, literally.

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    1. I agree. I suppose it highlights how tricky it is to define what makes a 'great book' and what that even really means!

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  2. I am loving these posts, Jennie. But let's be real - I'm getting that book buying itch everytime I read them! Haha. I want to read all of them, but I especially loved A Little Life. I think it deserves the accolades it's getting.

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  3. A Little Life is one of my favourite books ever. I've recommended it to anyone who will listen since reading it last year. I hope you'll be writing reviews for the books on the list you read as I'd love to hear what you think of them :)

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    1. I definitely will if I read any of them!

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