Peeling the orange

March 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

So, here is the long list, announced on International Women’s Day.

  •  Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg
  • On the Floor by Aifric Campbell
  • The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen
  • The Sealed Letter by Emma Donoghue
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
  • The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
  • The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki
  • Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon
  • Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
  • Gillespie and I by Jane Harris
  • The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay
  • The Blue Book by A.L. Kennedy
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
  • State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
  • There but for the by Ali Smith
  • The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard
  • Tides of War by Stella Tillyard
  • The Submission by Amy Waldman

I’ve got a lot of reading to do for this, since I’ve only read The Sealed Letter and Half Blood Blues. I picked up the Donoghue after reluctantly and belatedly reading Room and being much more impressed than I expected. Historical fiction is not my favourite genre, but when it’s done very well it’s excellent. This was done well – Donoghue is a good writer – although the plot machinations (based on a true story) needed one of the characters to be too naive for too long, so she became slightly irritating. Half Blood Blues was also well written and very interesting, but a novel set in such a time and place needed a much stronger and more ominous sense of threat in addition to the horror of the individual events. Still, both are worthy contenders for the prize.

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