I love the Women’s Prize for Fiction. I mean, I love book awards in general but this one in particular delights me. I do love fiction written by women, so obviously this is my jam.
As usual, I have some thoughts.
But first, here is the longlist in all its glory:
- H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker (William Heinemann)
- The Idiot by Elif Batuman (Jonathan Cape)
- Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon (The Borough Press)
- Miss Burma by Charmaine Craig (Grove Press)
- Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (Corsair)
- The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar (Harvill Secker)
- Sight by Jessie Greengrass (John Murray)
- Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (Harper Collins)
- When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy (Atlantic)
- Elmet by Fiona Mozley (Hodder & Stoughton)
- The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (Hamish Hamilton)
- See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt (Tinder Press)
- A Boy in Winter by Rachel Seiffert (Virago)
- Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)
- The Trick to Time by Kit de Waal (Viking)
- Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (Bloomsbury Circus)
I will not attempt to read the longlist because a) I am so very bad at TBRs (the fact that I still haven’t read Home Fire or Elmet even though I tried to read the Man Booker longlist is the perfect proof for that) and b) there are a few books I am not so sure about.
I have already read three of the books on this list:
Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan, The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar and See What I Have Done by Sarah Schmidt and they have one thing in common: I rated them all two stars. Now, to be fair, The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock I struggled with rating and here I can definitely see what makes it a great book for the right person. Which is why I don’t mind it being on the list. The other two (especially Manhattan Beach) I totally disagree with. They cannot possibly be two of the best books written by women this year. While I have seen some rave reviews for See What I Have Done, literally no one I follow thought Manhattan Beach was a masterpiece. And still, here it is. (I do love that literature is this subjective, I just like grumbling.)
I have also DNFed The Ministry of of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy. I just could not get into it at all.
A couple of the books I already own:
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman and Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie both sound absolutely brilliant and I really should get to them soon now. I own Eleanor Oliphant on audio and loved the narrator’s accent (I do miss Scotland dearly sometimes).
Newly added to my TBR:
H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker, Sight by Jessie Greengrass and When I Hit You: Or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy. Those sound stunning and I cannot wait to get to them.
As for the rest: I am sure they are all very brilliant books but they just do not speak to me. Especially the Jesmyn Ward book has been praised by pretty much everyone but for some reason I am fairly sure I won’t enjoy it (I might be wrong about that). If it goes on to win, I will reconsider.
Overall, I am super intrigued by the list and the different genres and kinds of books on it. It looks like a good mix of famous authors and new authors, buzzed-about books and books that flew under my radar. Super exciting stuff.
What are your thoughts? Are you planning on reading the longlist? Is there a book on there that I should still consider reading? Is there a book you would have liked to be on the list?