This is part of my Reading Resolutions for this year as I want to try and read a bit more outside YA, and to do that I am hoping to read this years shortlist, and here are those books.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien
As Do Not Say We Have Nothing was also shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year, this is the one I know the most about, in theory, anyway, though my lack of contextual knowledge leaves me slightly in the dark about the details. In 1990 a mother and daughter in Canada take in a young woman called Ai-ming, who has fled the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. From this I gather that we’re going to be getting a story within a story with Ai-ming recounting her own life. The Man Booker is not the only prize that this book has won, and I’m also looking forward to this being much more diverse than my usual reads.
The Power by Naomi Alderman
In this book we have four very diverse teenage protagonists, hailing from Nigeria to London and in between, who develop a startling power. In a book of contemporary magical realism these teenage girls suddenly find themselves with the power to cause immense pain or death to others. Understandably, such a development changes this familiar world forever. What is most striking about this concept is the idea of this power being in the hands of found girls, rather than men, and that there is almost a superhero/super-villain quality to the whole thing.
The Dark Circle by Linda Grant
Moving away from the more contemporary novels we have this one from Linda Grant that falls into the historical fiction genre. Set post Second World War, our London-born protagonists, and morally grey siblings, are sent away to a tuberculosis sanitarium in Kent. At this sanatorium they are met with a whole host of colourful characters, from an American merchant, to mysterious German, to young university student, and everyone in between. People, patients through all walks of life finding themselves faced with a very uncertain future.
The Sport of Kings by C.E Morgan
Sticking temporarily with the historical fiction genre comes The Sport of Kings, which, judging but he cover is about horse racing. This is entered around one family, the Forges, who are taking their first steps into the world of racehorse breeding. Although this family has a well known name, this is not familiar territory for them. With a varied cast of characters, from Henry Forge, to his daughter, whose heart lies elsewhere, to their new stablehand, who has just been released from prison, The Sport of Kings, is a story of ambition, trailblazing and justice.
First Love by Gwendoline Riley
At just under 150 pages, Gwendoline Riley’s novel follows Neve, a thirty something writer, married to the older, Edwyn. Essentially this story recounts how she came to be in this position and how her marriage became about, which, like all decisions, is not made solely by Neve and Edwyn, but also by the people around them. While those who love them, and who are loved by them may not realise it they have had a much more significant hand in shaping the lives of Neve and Edwyn, lives which may not be as idyllic as first assumed.
Stay With Me by Ayobami Adebayo
And finally, comes Adebayo’s Say With Me a novel set against the backdrop of the political upheaval of 1980s Nigeria. Our protagonist, Yejide only wants one thing in life; a child. Her husband wants a child. Her mother-in-law wants a grandchild. However, despite trying absolutely everything, from pilgrimages to medicine, and Yejide remains childless. As a result her husbands family are pushing him to find a new wife, and leave her behind. Ultimately this is a novel about love and marriage form a different cultural perspective, and above all a novel about desperation.
And there they are, the 6 shortlisted books for this year’s Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction. They all sound pretty interesting but the one that stands out for me is The Dark Circle because I am a sucker for morally grey characters (*cough*cough* Kaz Brekker).
But what about you? Have you read any of these, and if so hat did you think? Which one would you like to read most?
Thanks for reading!