The Women's Prize For Fiction Longlist Announced - Here's Our 5 Favourites

13 March 2013 by

‘Lamb' by Bonnie Nadzam

This year shortlist for The Women’s prize for fiction is as eclectic as you’d imagine.

It’s the place where Barbara Kingsolver’s treatise about climate change (the timely ‘Flight Behaviour’) meets a compelling study of Turkish patriarchy (Elif Shafak’s 'Honour’)  and a novel based on bird watching notes made by an Australian naturalist in the 1920’s (Carrie Tiffany’s ‘Mateship with Birds’).

But which of the 20 shortlisted books will join previous winners like Lionel Shriver’s modern classic 'We Need To Talk About Kevin' and Zadie Smith’s 'On Beauty'? Here's our top five...

1)      ‘Lamb' by Bonnie Nadzam

It’s been compared to Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ and for good reason. This disturbing study of the ambiguous relationship between the savvy  11-year- old title character and middle aged man is brilliant and nausea inducing in equal measure.

2)      ‘How Should a Person Be’ by Sheila Heti

Self-help books? Who needs ‘em? Sheila Heti’s novel shares the same spirit of a SH tome but is executed in a much more realistic, almost revolutionary way via a series of actual emails and conversations she has with her pals. No wonder it’s been called:  ‘’Girls’ in book form’.

NW Zadie Smith

3)       ‘NW’ by Zadie Smith

Despite receiving mixed reviews at the time of release, Smith’s tale of four disparate Londoners whose lives intertwine is undeniably stunning and bursting with the kind of literary prowess we've come to expect from this former Women's prize for fiction winner.

4)       ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn

Crime novelist Flynn hit pay dirt with her third novel, a labyrinthine, brilliantly plotted tale of love gone sour via some artfully executed revenge. Stephen King is obvs a big fan. Addictive.

5)      ‘Bringing Up The Bodies’ by Hilary Mantel  

The success of Mantel’s sequel to ‘Wolf Hall’ suggested our collective obsession with the Tudors was not going to end anytime soon. As Margaret Atwood commented:  “Those Tudors! We can’t get enough of them!” Damn right.

By Priya Elan


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