The Bread the Devil Knead by Lisa Allen-Agostini
Salt Lick by Lulu Allison
Careless by Kirsty Capes
Remote Sympathy by Catherine Chidgey
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller
Flamingo by Rachel Elliott
The Sentence by Louise Erdrich
Build Your House Around My Body by Violet Kupersmith
Sorrow and Bliss by Meg Mason
The Exhibitionist by Charlotte Mendelson
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
This One Sky Day by Leone Ross
The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
The Final Revival of Opal & Nev by Dawnie Walton
Creatures of Passage by Morowa Yejidé
I am pleased to see ‘Great Circle’ by Maggie Shipstead and ‘Sorrow and Bliss’ by Meg Mason on the longlist as these were among my favourite books of 2021. Some have expressed surprise that titles such as Beautiful World, Where Are You by Sally Rooney, The Fell by Sarah Moss and To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara didn’t make the cut. However, while they are very good novels, I don’t think they are the best work to date by these authors, so it’s good to see more room for others this year instead.
I have read ‘The Paper Palace’ by Miranda Cowley Heller but haven’t reviewed it – it is a very strong debut, and it doesn’t surprise me to learn that Heller was Head of Drama Series at HBO for a decade, as the novel has the feel of a prestige TV drama in its emotional dissection of an affair during a summer in Cape Cod. I also have a copy of ‘The Book of Form and Emptiness’ by Ruth Ozeki which I am looking forward to reading soon, having enjoyed all of her previous novels.
Whereas last year’s longlist was dominated by well-known authors, there are several on this year’s list who are new to me. One of the five debut novels on the list I am particularly intrigued by is ‘Careless’ by Kirsty Capes, a coming-of-age story which draws on the author’s personal experiences of the care system. I have also seen lots of positive reviews for ‘The Exhibitionist’ by Charlotte Mendelson which is about the family of an artist preparing for his latest exhibition.
Which longlisted books have you read and which ones are you keen to read?