It’s finally here!
I have waited for this day for literal months and I am so glad the longlist is finally here and we can all start reading and discussing it. My predictions were actually ok this time around: I correctly guessed six and had two more on my maybe pile that made the list, so I am feeling sufficiently smug. It also seems to be a longlist not many people have read many books of yet, so that is exciting! I have only read one book so far and have to admit that quite a few are not books I was particularly thrilled about before their inclusion – but maybe this means I will find many gems I might otherwise have missed.
Without further ado, here is the longlist in its absolute glory:
- Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara
- Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner
- Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
- Dominicana by Angie Cruz
- Actress by Anne Enright
- Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
- Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie
- A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
- How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
- The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo
- The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel
- Girl by Edna O’ Brien
- Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell
- Weather by Jenny Offill
- The Dutch House by Ann Patchett
- Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
I am mostly happy with this list – sad that a few that I really wanted to get to soon didn’t make it (The Fire Starters! Trust Exercise!) but overall glad for what looks like a really diverse longlist, both genre and style-wise.
Read: I have only read Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo; I thought it was excellent – so I am obviously way happy to see it here.
Well pleased: Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara sounds really different to what I normally read but like I could really love it. Weather by Jenny Offill sounds JUST like my type of book and I am glad for the inclusion of some shorter books. Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson sounds like an incredible offering by an author I wanted to get to for a while. I am obviously happy to see a myth-retelling make the list; even if A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes will have to compete with the absolutely incredible The Silence of the Girls (which was my highlight from last year’s shortlist). I am also really pleased that Hilary Mantel made the list – I do love when people are on top of their game and I am excited to see her win everything with The Mirror and the Light – but I will only read this if I have finished all other books on the longlist and feel like reading three 600 page long historical novels (so not very likely).
Optimistic: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams has been getting such positive reviews and while it doesn’t quite sound like my type of book enough that I would have definitely read it, I am glad the judges made up my mind for me. Dominicana by Angie Cruz could be really great – depending on the writing style.
Cautiously optimistic: Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner sounds awful, admittedly – but I really like the author’s non fiction and I have heard some reviews that indicate that I might actually get on with it. I am not always happy with family sagas but The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo sounds like the type of multigenerational story that could work for me (although its high page count of 544 is giving me pause). The women do sound difficult which is always a plus! Ann Patchett is another author I have wanted to get to for years, so I am glad for the push – and I do like stories about siblings, so maybe The Dutch House will work for me even if it is a bit outside my comfort zone. Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell will probably be brilliant (I do like her writing style, even if I have only read her nonfiction) but it will also probably be very difficult for me to read.
Slightly pessimistic: I have tried to read Enright’s The Gathering a few years back and found it endlessly bleak, I am hoping Actress is not as dark and hopeless. Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie is the only book on the list I hadn’t heard of before and it doesn’t sound like my type of book.
Really dreading: I do not enjoy reading books about atrocities. So both Girl by Edna O’ Brien and How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee do not appeal to me at all. I guess I should be glad that the inevitable WWII novel is at least not set in Germany.
Still, I will try to read as many books as possible before the shortlist is announced on April 22nd. I will hopefully be able to alternate between books I am super happy to get to and those I am less thrilled about so that unlike last year, I won’t be running out of steam. I have downloaded A Thousand Ships as an audiobook and I am going into town in a few minutes to see what my local bookstore stocks (probably not very many). I am keeping my fingers crossed for Weather!
Are you happy with the longlist? Which books would you have loved to see? Are you planning on reading any of the longlisted books?