Tomorrow (June 6th) The Women’s Prize for Fiction winner will be announced and. as always, the shortlist is a strong one. Here are my reviews of all six books:
Personally I would like Home Fire to win. It is clever, topical and well written. However I think When I hit You will be the winner as it is also topical, clever, experimental ,darkly humorous and tackles a taboo subject.
So that’s my prediction:
as for the rest, Although I thought Sing, Unburied, Sing was amazing, the prize tends not to favour books which have won prizes before, The Idiot is too quirky for the prize, The Mermaid is too light heartened and Sight is too experimental.
Unexpectedly the shortlist was announced early this morning. here it is:
Kamila Shamsie – Home Fire (proper review soon)
Elif Batuman – The Idiot
Imogen Hermes Gowar – The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock
Although I plan to read the whole longlist, I’ll give priority to Idiot and Mermaid.
At this point, I can’t really complain. I’m not a huge fan of Sight but I can see why it made the shortlist. I personally hope that When I hit you wins.
Until June 6th ….
Book 9/16 from the Women’s Prize Longlist.
The subject of domestic abuse is tricky in literature. From my experience the account could be so highly personal that one feels like a voyeur. Obviously one cannot make such acts humorous due to the serious topic. Kandasamy tackles this differently.
The reader is presented with a series of epigraphs, poems and then chunks of text detailing four years with an abusive husband. At first the courtship begins with little warning signs, which the narrator ignores but then it escalates and each chapter focuses on the stages of abuse. First the husband bans the narrator from using e-mail, then a laptop to raping and hitting the protagonist.
However sordid this tale, Kandasamy approaches everything using inventive metaphors, and a use of language that is creative, not unlike Arundhati Roy, who is given a namecheck in this book. Here is a story about love gone completely wrong.
My edition of the novel has some writings which detail the type of reader the book is aimed for. The one that struck me, as a male, was the section stating that all males should see the book as a sort of warning sign and as a preventive tale. Personally throughout the novel I kept saying, ‘that’s not me’ and this little piece does reference that but really I should see it as a way to prevent myself becoming an abuser and in that aspect When I hit is a prefect warning.
Chances this will be shortlisted: oh yes!!!!
Other Women’s Prize Reviews:
Now THAT was a surprise!!!!!! Can’t wait to read it!
Tomorrow (April 16th) The Pulitzer Prize winners will be announced. What really concerns me is the concerns me is the fiction prize as the past winners have been top reads. This year I have a gut feeling that this one will win the category for best fiction:
You can read my review here
Obviously there will be a blog post tomorrow.
Here’s a review of last year’s winner:
Han Kang (South Korea), Deborah Smith, The White Book (Portobello Books)
László Krasznahorkai (Hungary), John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes, The World Goes On (Tuskar Rock Press)
Antonio Muñoz Molina (Spain), Camilo A. Ramirez, Like a Fading Shadow (Tuskar Rock Press)
Virginie Despentes (France), Frank Wynne, Vernon Subutex 1 (MacLehose Press)
Olga Tokarczuk (Poland), Jennifer Croft, Flights (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
On the whole I’m pleased. I’ve got The White Book and Vernon Subutex 1 on the TBR pile and a PDF copy of Flights. HOPEFULLY after the Women’s Prize Longlist, I’ll have time to tackle these books.
A few minutes ago the Man Booker International Longlist has been announced. This prize focuses on translated fiction. Here’s the Longlist.
Laurent Binet, Sam Taylor, The 7th Function of Language
Javier Cercas, Frank Wynne, The Impostor
Virginie Despentes, Frank Wynne, Vernon Subutex 1
Jenny Erpenbeck, Susan Bernofsky, Go, Went, Gone
Han Kang, Deborah Smith, The White Book
Ariana Harwicz, Sarah Moses & Carolina Orloff, Die, My Love
László Krasznahorkai, John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet & George Szirtes, The World Goes On
Antonio Muñoz Molina, Camilo A. Ramirez, Like a Fading Shadow
Christoph Ransmayr, Simon Pare, The Flying Mountain
Olga Tokarczuk, Jennifer Croft, Flights
Wu Ming-Yi, Darryl Sterk, The Stolen Bicycle
Gabriela Ybarra, Natasha Wimmer, The Dinner Guest
Out of the 13 mention, I have read one. It is highlighted. I DNF’s the Binet as I felt that it too similar to Eco’s books, and yes I know Eco makes a guest appearance in the Binet book.
Die My Love is on the TBR stack.
As for the others, I am very curious about all of them, especially the Han Kang and Virginie Despentes but I’ll have to hold back and wait until the shortlist is announced. I will definitely read the winner.
There are two prizes where I can be obsessive about. The first one is the Man Booker and the second is the Women’s Prize for Fiction. In fact, dare I say, that the winners of the latter prize tend to be better than the former.
The longlist was announced and here it is:
The above are the ones I’ve read and reviewed, just click on them. Here are the remaining ones:
The Idiot – Elif Batuman
Three Things about Elsie – Joanna Cannon
Miss Burma – Charmaine Craig
Manhattan Beach – Jennifer Egan
The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock – Imogen Hermes Gowar
When I hit you, or Portrait of the Write as a Young Wife – Meena Kandasamy
See what I have done – Sarah Schmidt
A Boy in Winter – Rachel Seiffert
The Trick to Time – Kit de Waal.
So, as I have been doing for the past few years, I will read the remaining titles and write a review. At the moment I have the Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock on the TBR pile but I will try get the remaining seven titles so I can do a batch read.