Well, well. It's that time, once again. The shortlist's out and from that list I've read only one: Anne Enright's The Forgotten Waltz.
There But for the... didn't make the cut, somehow. A bit puzzled but I knew State of Wonder would make it through. It was one of my original poorly-informed guesses, though if you look back so was There But for the... So, let's not look back, shall we?
Couldn't be losing my touch, could I?! Perish the thought. My brain is positively catching fire, I'm taxing it so heavily. If my brain were the American Colonies and I were Britain I'd be dumping all my tea in protest.
Now, the real question that keeps me on the edge of my seat is, "Will I even try to read any more of these before the announcement in late May?" Because, really, what could be more interesting than that. I am bent over with the weight of it, my dear internets. Sure, the IPPY judging will soon be done but I have another event to start promoting between now and June: Booktopia, Oxford, MS 2012.
I'm actually going to make one of these literary shindigs for a change; if you don't think I'll milk that for all its worth you haven't been hanging out here long at all. I'll be meeting authors like Jesmyn Ward, Kevin Brockmeier, biographers of Eudora Welty and Margaret Mitchell... The list goes on and it's positively stellar. A lot to do between now and mid-June: books to be read, authors to interview, research to be done...
But back to the Oranges.
Cynthia Ozick. Oh dear lord, she's a precious gem. Go back to one of her earlier works like The Shawl, or The Puttermesser Papers and you'll see this woman's as much Nobel-worthy as Orange Prize recipient material. She may even be too lofty to win. Is that blasphemous?
Anne Enright. Lovely writer! Adore her. But she does have that Booker already... I know, it's not supposed to have any bearing on anything but for my money one award per writer (with a few Sebastian Barry exceptions)until all have something to put in a trophy case is sufficient. Did I love her book? Why, yes! But I wasn't betting on it making the shortlist, either! It tells a damn good story, very quirky-in-a-good-way, extremely fresh from the standpoint of the plot framework. Loved it.
That leaves the two I'm unfamiliar with: Esi Edugyan and Georgina Harding. The two Dark Horse candidates. And this is killing me!
Will a relative unknown come from behind for a surprise victory or will Patchett or Miller claim the £ 30,000 Prize? Option three: will Cynthia Ozick win because she's had such a long career, with such a string of beautiful books, and deserves recognition?
I honestly didn't expect to be this frazzled. I usually skim across the top of the list and when the divining rod points I call it. This year's a totally different experience. But I really think Patchett, Miller or Ozick will prevail. In that order, too, as far as likelihood.
So, here are the remaining events leading up to the BIG DAY:
- Orange and Grazia writers’ evening at Southbank Centre: 28 May
- Orange Prize Shortlist Readings at Southbank Centre: 29 May
- Orange Prize for Fiction awards ceremony: 30 May
Here are all the books I could read, given time:
State of Wonder
The Song of Achilles
I've read the Enright, so that leaves:
Painter of Silence - not released in the Colonies until September!!
Half Blood Blues - thought I owned it but I can't actually FIND it in the maelstrom Chez Moi
These are my unknowns, the two I may be unable to test drive. Internets, this is a frightening proposition.
At least I know I won't be bored the entire month of May. There is that. Now I'm trotting off to find reactions re: the Shortlist, blogs with gossip and the like.
Blog dedicated to reading the Oranges:
And one for 2012, in particular:
Read on, my internets!