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).

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§ 2 Responses to Women’s Prize for Fiction 2013

  • buriedinprint says:

    I sympathize with the need to reduce the goal from “longlist” to selected titles and, yet, I haven’t made that decision yet. I am still in the perusing stage which, admittedly, could become the “don’t actually read anything before the shortlist is announced” stage. So many of this year’s titles do look interesting though. (The Forrests and The Red Book are hovering near the top of my current stack however.)

    • Slightly Bookist says:

      Mine too could become the “don’t actually read anything before the shortlist is announced” list! I was particularly glad The Forrests was on the list because I read a lot of good reviews about it last year but then it fell off the radar (if that isn’t too mixed a metaphor).

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