Tomorrow evening will see the winner of the 2017 Bailey’s Prize for Women’s Fiction announced and the book community is buzzing with excitement. Now that I’ve read a handful of the shortlisted books, let’s take a final look at the contenders and who my money is on to win.
The Dark Circle
Linda Grant tells the story of two Jewish teenagers confined to a Sanatorium for tuberculosis in the late 40s/early 50s. Unfortunately this book really wasn’t my cup of tea, I couldn’t get on board with the style, which was odd and jarring, or the plot, which seemed non-existent as not much happens. Perhaps its just individual taste, as grant is a previous winner of the prize, however for me this definitely doesn’t compete with some of the others on the shortlist.
The Sport of Kings
Morgan’s epic is a multi-generational saga of the American South. I didn’t get the chance to read this one but from the book chatter that I’ve heard it seems interesting, however looking at the odds and the lack of people raving about it, I feel like it seems unlikely to win.
Stay With Me
I loved this book. The story is of a Nigerian woman and the pressure she faces, from herself, her family, and society, to have children – and the consequences this pressure has. It was beautifully written, emotive, harrowing and heartbreaking. Odds-wise it is also high in the running and I would be happy if this won.
The story of a woman’s marriage to an older man, First Love is one I actually chose not to read, based on a some not-so-great responses, and some reviews which really didn’t sell it to me. The premise seems interesting but it sounds like it wasn’t brilliantly executed and so I think it probably isn’t likely to be a winner.
This is my favourite book. Not just on the shortlist, of all time; it has pretty much usurped The Great Gatsby (the ultimate English Grad cliche) and I have been raving about it to anyone who will listen because it is amazing, radical, revolutionary and I think everyone needs to read it. This isn’t just me on my soapbox – the buzz around this book is huge. I’m excited that it has the best odds to win, and I would be ecstatic if it does because it truly deserves to.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing
At the time of writing I’m still reading this, but it is a truly beautiful, engaging and expansive novel. It is simultaneously wonderfully written and also very easy to ready – which are two things that don’t often go together. it is incredibly immersive and the elements of Chinese culture, history and language are fascinating. Again, I definitely wouldn’t be disappointed if it won.
If you haven’t yet guessed my favourite to win it’s The Power, and while I would be pretty disappointed if this doesn’t win, I would also be happy if either Thien or Adebayo’s books did. Thankfully, the two main contenders according to the bookies are The Power and Stay with Me, so my fingers are crossed for tomorrow night! Don’t miss the announcement tomorrow to find out who the winner is.