A self-indulgent post where I muse and comment on the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction longlist.
I have read [links to my reviews]:
On the whole, I'm impressed by the quality of the longlisted titles I have read. The only one that I think shouldn't be on the list is Almost English, which I thought was dreadful. Three of them made my Top Ten Books of 2013, which is very satisfying, and I hope the Adichie, Catton and Tartt make it to the shortlist.
I want to read:
The Strangler Vine: MJ Carter. This sounds so fabulous - even though I generally avoid historical novels set in the nineteenth-century Empire - that I may have to give it a go.
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing: Eimear McBride. This has been on my to-read list since I first heard about it.
Still Life With Bread Crumbs: Anna Quindlen. I read one of Anna Quindlen's earlier novels (One True Thing) and, while expecting it to be an easy, generic read, I was pleasantly surprised by how interesting I found it. I'd certainly like to read something else by her.
The Burgess Boys: Elizabeth Strout. I'm intrigued by the synopsis.
I may be convinced to read:
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon: Fatima Bhutto. Nothing about the synopsis of this debut grabs me immediately, but equally I have no reason to think I'll dislike it.
Eleven Days: Lea Carpenter. This sounds like it's treading very dangerous ground between trashy and interesting, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.
Reasons She Goes to the Woods: Deborah Kay Davies. I'm intrigued by the title and the central idea, but (a) it has a child narrator - see below and (b) I'm not won over by the idea of reading very short chunks of prose.
The Flamethrowers: Rachel Kushner. I feel this could go either way and, with limited reading time, I'm not convinced enough at the moment.
The Undertaking: Audrey Magee. I'm not sure I can take any more novels about Nazis.
All The Birds, Singing: Evie Wyld. Although Wyld's debut was well-written, I found it ultimately very disappointing. I may be tempted to try this to see if it is any better.
I don't want to read:
MaddAddam: Margaret Atwood. I'm not a Margaret Atwood fan, I'm afraid, and having read five of her novels I have decided that life is short and reading time is precious.
The Dogs of Littlefield: Suzanne Berne. I disliked her previous Orange-Prize-winning A Crime in the Neighbourhood, and this sounds very similar.
The Bear: Claire Cameron. I admit this is pure prejudice on my part but I am currently avoiding all novels with child narrators unless I have a very good reason to think they will be able to portray children in a non-cliched way.
The Lowland: Jhumpa Lahiri. I avoided this once when it was on the Booker shortlist and I still don't want to read it!
What are everyone else's thoughts on the longlist?