SPOILER – All of them!
The Shortlist was announced on the 21st April and I am only posting about it now!!! #BADBOOKBLOGGER I always seem to be running behind 😀
I am sure everyone has already seen the shortlist, but for anyone who hasn’t – no judgement if you’ve been hiding out during lockdown and the whole global pandemic, I am sure I have missed loads of things – I have to say I think it’s a really good selection this year. A REALLY GOOD SELECTION. I also thought it was a good longlist – with lots I want to read. What did you think?
All the books on the shortlist were already on either my TBR pile or my wishlist. But between home-schooling, blog tours, life in general under the lockdown, trying to get on top of my NetGalley surplus AND as well as my reading mojo being a bit hit or miss – I’ve only finished Hamnet and Weather. Two very different books.
I LOVED Hamnet.
Loved it, loved it, loved it.
And I liked Weather, but not quite as much as Hamnet – I will post a review for Weather soon (well maybe soon because I seem to be WAY behind with blogging at the moment!).
So far my prediction for the winner is – Hamnet
But that might change when I get the chance to read them all!! Do you have a prediction you would like to share?
So just in case you haven’t seen the SHORTLIST I’ve listed them all below in no particular order:-
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, Hamnet is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.
Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged 11. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.
Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.
I have already read and reviewed Hamnet and you can find my review – HERE, if you are interested. I LOVED it.
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo
This is Britain as you’ve never seen it.
This is Britain as it has never been told.
From Newcastle to Cornwall, from the birth of the twentieth century to the teens of the twenty-first, Girl Woman Other follows a cast of twelve characters on their personal journeys through this country and the last hundred years. They’re each looking for something – a shared past, an unexpected future, a place to call home, somewhere to fit in, a lover, a missed mother, a lost father, even just a touch of hope . . .
A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes
In A Thousand Ships, broadcaster and classicist Natalie Haynes retells the story of the Trojan War from an all-female perspective, for fans of Madeline Miller and Pat Barker.
This was never the story of one woman, or two. It was the story of all of them. . .
In the middle of the night, Creusa wakes to find her beloved Troy engulfed in flames. Ten seemingly endless years of brutal conflict between the Greeks and the Trojans are over, and the Greeks are victorious. Over the next few hours, the only life she has ever known will turn to ash . . .
The devastating consequences of the fall of Troy stretch from Mount Olympus to Mount Ida, from the citadel of Troy to the distant Greek islands, and across oceans and sky in between. These are the stories of the women embroiled in that legendary war and its terrible aftermath, as well as the feud and the fatal decisions that started it all. . .
Powerfully told from an all-female perspective, A Thousand Ships gives voices to the women, girls and goddesses who, for so long, have been silent.
Dominicana by Angie Cruz
Fifteen-year-old Ana Canción never dreamed of moving to America, the way the girls she grew up with in the Dominican countryside did. But when Juan Ruiz proposes and promises to take her to New York City, she must say yes. It doesn’t matter that he is twice her age, that there is no love between them. Their marriage is an opportunity for her entire close-knit family to eventually immigrate. So on New Year’s Day, 1965, Ana leaves behind everything she knows and becomes Ana Ruiz, a wife confined to a cold six-floor walk-up in Washington Heights. Lonely and miserable, Ana hatches a reckless plan to escape. But at the bus terminal, she is stopped by César, Juan’s free-spirited younger brother, who convinces her to stay.
As the Dominican Republic slides into political turmoil, Juan returns to protect his family’s assets, leaving César to take care of Ana. Suddenly, Ana is free to take English lessons at a local church, lie on the beach at Coney Island, dance with César at the Audubon Ballroom, and imagine the possibility of a different kind of life in America. When Juan returns, Ana must decide once again between her heart and her duty to her family.
In bright, musical prose that reflects the energy of New York City, Dominicana is a vital portrait of the immigrant experience and the timeless coming-of-age story of a young woman finding her voice in the world.
The Mirror and the light by Hilary Mantel
‘If you cannot speak truth at a beheading, when can you speak it?’
England, May 1536. Anne Boleyn is dead, decapitated in the space of a heartbeat by a hired French executioner. As her remains are bundled into oblivion, Thomas Cromwell breakfasts with the victors. The blacksmith’s son from Putney emerges from the spring’s bloodbath to continue his climb to power and wealth, while his formidable master, Henry VIII, settles to short-lived happiness with his third queen, Jane Seymour.
Cromwell is a man with only his wits to rely on; he has no great family to back him, no private army. Despite rebellion at home, traitors plotting abroad and the threat of invasion testing Henry’s regime to breaking point, Cromwell’s robust imagination sees a new country in the mirror of the future. But can a nation, or a person, shed the past like a skin? Do the dead continually unbury themselves? What will you do, the Spanish ambassador asks Cromwell, when the king turns on you, as sooner or later he turns on everyone close to him?
With The Mirror and the Light, Hilary Mantel brings to a triumphant close the trilogy she began with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies. She traces the final years of Thomas Cromwell, the boy from nowhere who climbs to the heights of power, offering a defining portrait of predator and prey, of a ferocious contest between present and past, between royal will and a common man’s vision: of a modern nation making itself through conflict, passion and courage.
Weather by Jenny Offill
‘What are you afraid of, he asks me and the answer of course is dentistry, humiliation, scarcity, then he says what are your most useful skills? People think I’m funny’
Lizzie Benson slid into her job as a librarian without a traditional degree. But this gives her a vantage point from which to practise her other calling: as an unofficial shrink. For years, she has supported her God-haunted mother and her recovering addict brother. They have both stabilized for the moment, but then her old mentor, Sylvia Liller, makes a proposal. Sylvia has become famous for her prescient podcast, Hell and High Water, and wants to hire Lizzie to answer the mail she receives: from left-wingers worried about climate change and right wingers worried about the decline of western civilization.
As she dives into this polarized world, she begins to wonder what it means to keep tending your own garden once you’ve seen the flames beyond its walls. When her brother becomes a father and Sylvia a recluse, Lizzie is forced to acknowledge the limits of what she can do. But if she can’t save others, then what, or who, might save her?
And all the while the voices of the city keep floating in–funny, disturbing, and increasingly mad.
The winner will be announced on the 9th September 2020 and I am determined to read them all before then. DETERMINED!
Are you planning on reading them? Any you have read and loved? Any others you think I need to start soon?
Just as an after thought – I still really want to read Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson, Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams, How we disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee and Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie from the longlist.
I hope everyone is having a good Sunday?