‘Asymmetry’ by Lisa Halliday consists of two seemingly unrelated stories which are eventually revealed to have surprising connections. The first part, ‘Folly’, concerns Alice, an editorial assistant in her twenties living in post 9/11 New York City who begins a relationship with a much older man, a Jewish author named Ezra Blazer who has repeatedly been overlooked for a Nobel Prize for Literature. In the second part, ‘Madness’, an Iraqi-American economist, Amar Jaafari, is on his way to Kurdistan to visit his brother but is detained by immigration officials at Heathrow Airport. Continue reading
Tag Archives: Novels
The Man Booker International Prize 2018 longlist was announced yesterday. The 13 books are:
The 7th Function of Language by Laurent Binet, translated by Sam Taylor
The Impostor by Javier Cercas, translated by Frank Wynne
Vernon Subutex 1 by Virginie Despentes, translated by Frank Wynne
Go, Went, Gone by Jenny Erpenbeck, translated by Susan Bernofsky
The White Book by Han Kang, translated by Deborah Smith
Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz, translated by Sarah Moses and Carolina Orloff
The World Goes On by László Krasznahorkai, translated by John Batki, Ottilie Mulzet and George Szirtes
Like a Fading Shadow by Antonio Muñoz Molina, translated by Camilo A Ramirez
The Flying Mountain by Christoph Ransmayr, translated by Simon Pare
Frankenstein in Baghdad by Ahmed Saadawi, translated by Jonathan Wright
Flights by Olga Tokarczuk, translated by Jennifer Croft
The Stolen Bicycle by Wu Ming-Yi, translated by Darryl Sterk
The Dinner Guest by Gabriela Ybarra, translated by Natasha Wimmer
The Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist is due to be announced on Thursday 8th March and I have been thinking about which books could make the cut. My predictions last year included the eventual winner The Power by Naomi Alderman which is satisfying but I also hope to be pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of some novels which are new to me.
For many years, there have been 20 titles on the longlist. However, there were supposed to be only 12 last year but the judges decided to increase their selection to 16. This year – who knows? Novels first published in the UK between 1st April 2017 and 31st March 2018 are eligible. Of those I have read, I would be particularly happy to see any of the following on the longlist:
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng – I really enjoyed this excellent novel set in Shaker Heights, Ohio in the 1990s which addresses adoption, abortion and surrogacy.
Elmet by Fiona Mozley – last year’s Man Booker Prize dark horse blends ancient folklore and dialect with modern settings and political debates. Continue reading
‘The Accident on the A35’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet sees the return of Inspector Georges Gorski who featured in The Disappearance of Adèle Bedeau. His latest case in the sleepy French town of Saint-Louis in Alsace involves the circumstances surrounding a car accident which fatally injures prominent local solicitor Bertrand Barthelme. Although there is no evidence to suggest a crime has been committed, it is soon discovered that Barthelme had repeatedly lied about his whereabouts to his wife Lucette and teenage son Raymond so Gorski agrees to Lucette’s request to look into the circumstances further. Meanwhile Raymond discovers the address of a house in the rue Saint-Fiacre in Mulhouse on a piece of paper in his father’s desk and sets out to conduct his own investigation.
2018 marks the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker Prize and the organisers have launched a one-off prize to celebrate the best of the winning novels to date.
Five writers and poets will be choosing what they consider to be the best winner from each decade. The judges and their categories are Robert McCrum (1969-1979), Lemn Sissay (1980s), Kamila Shamsie (1990s), Simon Mayo (2000s) and Hollie McNish (2010s). There were joint winners in 1974 and 1992 hence why there are 51 winning novels to date. The “Golden Five” shortlisted books will go to a public vote between 26th May until 25th June and the winner will be announced at the Man Booker 50 festival at the Southbank Centre in London on 8th July. Continue reading
Winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 1998, ‘Larry’s Party’ is the third book I have read by Carol Shields. I read ‘Unless’ a couple of years ago but didn’t love it, didn’t review it and now can’t really remember anything about it. However, I really enjoyed The Stone Diaries back in 2013 and ‘Larry’s Party’ is very similar in many ways – both novels are fictional biographies of “ordinary” people who live quiet yet complex lives. While ‘The Stone Diaries’ spans nearly the whole 20th century, ‘Larry’s Party’ is slightly more focused in scope covering a mere two decades of the life of Laurence “Larry” J. Weller, born in 1950 in Winnipeg to English immigrant parents. Continue reading
Set in eighteenth century Britain, ‘The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock’ by Imogen Hermes Gowar tells the story of Jonah Hancock, a middle-aged widower and respectable Deptford merchant who discovers that the captain of one of his ships has sold his vessel in exchange for a stuffed “mermaid”. Although initially horrified by this transaction, Mr Hancock is later persuaded to profit from the rare curiosity he has acquired and loans the mermaid to Mrs Chappell for display at her infamous high society parties and Soho brothel. Celebrated courtesan Angelica Neal is tasked with entertaining Mr Hancock which she sees as an irritating distraction at first. However, as the display becomes the talk of London, Angelica decides she wants a mermaid of her own and Mr Hancock does whatever it takes to find another one. Continue reading