The Baileys Prize shortlist has been announced – and it’s rather wonderful.
Although I’m disappointed that Emma Flint’s outstanding debut, Little Deaths, didn’t make it, the shortlist represents an eclectic range of women and writing talent.
If, like me, you’re going to spend the next few weeks reading through the Baileys Prize shortlist, I thought it would be worth us taking a look at the contenders.
There are six stonking stories on the shortlist but what are they all about? Let’s have a look.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien
This is the only book from the shortlist that I’m familiar with, as it was nominated for last year’s Man Booker Prize. I wasn’t too enamoured with it but Claire reviewed it and thought it was worth a read.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
Book club is clearly on to something as we had already chosen this as our next red, based on a recommendation from Ellen.
It’s a dystopian novel in which teenage girls suddenly have the power to inflict physical harm to men with their fingertips. Criticised as man-hating by some, lauded as continuing what Margaret Atwood started by others, it’s certainly provoking debate.
Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀̀
This debut novel tells the story of a Nigerian couple desperate to have a child and the emotional turmoil that entails. It’s been described by The Guardian as “intensely sad” but also “bright and big-hearted” so I may need a box of tissues at hand for this one.
The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
Grant’s book is set just after the Second World War and follows a brother and sister who are sent away to a tuberculosis sanatorium. They meet a cast of war veterans and their search for a cure dissolves into a full-scale rebellion.
The Sport of Kings by C.E. Morgan
Morgan uses the story of a Kentucky horse racing family to explore concepts of race and power. The Telegraph called it “the most daring novel of 2016” and “a high literary epic of America”. Not much to live up to there, then?
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
This is another book that inspects the intricacy of a marriage. It charts the relationship between Neve, in her 30s, and her much older husband, Edwyn, and explores the minutiae of their everyday lives to showcase the ups and downs of long-term love. I’m getting married in six weeks so I hope this one isn’t too bleak.
Well, that is definitely one heck of a Baileys Prize shortlist. I love the breadth of stories represented here, and the diversity and range of the authors. It’s one of the most exciting Baileys Prize shortlists in a while and I’m dying to get started.