Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013
March 12, 2013 § 2 Comments
The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced, with twenty titles on it. Last year I got a bit carried away with prize fever and tried to read too many longlists for too many prizes, which drew me away from books I actually wanted to read. It’s one thing to make a new discovery on a longlist and try it because it looks good; it’s quite another to end up feeling obliged to read mediocre books simply to discuss a long- or shortlist. So I won’t be attempting to read the whole twenty this year.
I’ve only read three on the list: NW (Zadie Smith), Flight Behaviour (Barbara Kingsolver) and May We Be Forgiven (AM Homes). I thought the first was excellent and the third intriguing. Was it excellent? It depends on which way I read the author’s intentions, which made me realise how important context is, no matter how much we might think a work should stand on its own. I tried (I really did) to read Bring Up The Bodies, but I fear Mantel’s fiction is just not for me, much as I admire her non-fiction.
So what’s here that I really want to read? What is there that interested me when I first heard about it, but what has been buried under the constant avalanches of new titles? Six books. A decent number to be going on with (while I also try to fill out my enormous gaps in two recent translation prize lists: the Independent Prize for Foreign Fiction and the Best Translated Book Award).