Saturday, 21 March 2015

The Baileys/Walter Scott Longlists, #1: Summary

The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction longlists have been released, and while there's no chance I will be able to review all the novels, I'm going to read along with as many as I can in preparation for reading the full shortlists when they're out. (Incidentally, I love this article on 'literary historical fiction' from a previous judge of the Walter Scott Prize; a strong argument for an important category.)
Sarah Waters' The Paying Guests conveniently appears on both longlists, and I've already reviewed it on this blog; I absolutely loved it, and think it's Waters' best novel yet, with the exception of The Night Watch. From the Walter Scott longlist, I've also reviewed Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist, which I enjoyed, but which I felt struck an awkward balance between historical fact and fantasy. Finally, Audrey Magee's The Undertaking was up for last year's Baileys Prize, and I read it then; I liked it, but I felt that the central concept was too simplistic to carry an entire novel.
I will shortly be reviewing Emma Healey's Elizabeth is Missing, Lissa Evans's Crooked Heart, Emily St John Mandel's Station Eleven and Xiaolu Guo's I Am China from the Baileys longlist; from the shorter Walter Scott longlist, I'm going to tackle Anna Hope's Wake and Damon Galgut's Arctic Summer. If there's any time left, I'll read Kamila Shamsie's A God in Every Stone, which is on both lists!

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