The Shortlist

Today the shortlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction was announced, and I have to say I have mixed feelings, mostly because I was really rooting for a title that didn’t make the list, “The Marlowe Papers” by Ros Barber. Oh well, regardless of my wishes the six titles that did make the list are all strong contenders to win the prize and seem to have pleased the majority of the critics that pontificate on these types of things.


I’ve read three of them, “May We Be Forgiven” by A. M. Homes, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” by Maria Semple, and “Bring up the Bodies” by Hilary Mantel. Of the three I enjoyed Maria Semple’s book the most because of its humor, and I would love to see something funny win a book prize for a change, but Homes’ book too was terrific with its dark humor and rich story, but I have a feeling Mantel might actually win again.

I don’t want to be mean but I kind of hope she doesn’t win, because even though it was a well written book, I had a devil of time getting through the darn thing, and I LOVE Tudor history. Oh well, good thing I’m not a judge, huh?

I plan on reading the other three titles before the prize is awarded on June 5th, so my opinion might change but I doubt it, and if you haven’t had a chance to read “The Marlowe Papers”,  I highly recommend you give it a go!  It’s a great story, written entirely in verse, about Christopher Marlowe and the truth surrounding his ‘death’, his role as a spy, and that casper milquetoast, Shakespeare.


2 thoughts on “The Shortlist

  1. You’ve read the three I haven’t, but for all that I’ll be adding The Marlowe Papers to my list, the long lists are always the more interesting aspect of the prize, because once the small group of readers (the judges) start narrowing down the selection, it’s less likely to show the same inclinations as any one of us readers. Perhaps if they’d all been blogging before becoming a judge, we might have a more of a clue as to their inclinations and whether they match our own.

    It’s the books that don’t win the prize that I like to get to. So pleased that The Snow Child almost made it to the top of the Pulitzer pile. Being in the top 3 almost as good, this is a book that will endure I am sure.

    • I did see that we had ever so neatly divided the short list reads between ourselves! I have the Atkinson book waiting to begin on my Kindle and I’m hoping I can snag the other two titles at the library when I get home this week. I’ve never read anything by Smith, and I’m not a huge fan of Kingsolver but I will give it a try. I’m glad you’re going to try The Marlowe Papers, and I hope you’ll like it as much as I did.
      I was thrilled to see the Pulitzer news about The Snow Child! Last year when I was up in Alaska I visited the bookstore she works at in Palmer trying to get a chance to meet her but no luck. I too think it’s a book that will endure, and I hope she plans on coming out with another book soon!

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