Orange Prize Shortlist Announced

Here are the six shortlisted titles for the 2010 Orange Prize.  The winner will be announced on June 9.

  • Rosie Alison: The Very Thought of You
  • Barbara Kingsolver: The Lacuna
  • Attica Locke: Black Water Rising
  • Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall
  • Lorrie Moore: A Gate at the Stairs
  • Monique Roffey: The White Woman on the Green Bicycle

I haven’t read any of these yet, and for the near future (well, relatively near) I only plan to read Wolf Hall, which, because it has already been picking up loads of awards, must be the favorite here.  I’ve heard much too much bad about The Lacuna and The Gate at the Stairs to make me want to read them, but they keep getting positive publicity too.  The other three I haven’t looked into.  Does anyone have a prediction?

7 thoughts on “Orange Prize Shortlist Announced”

  1. tolsmted says:

    I’m mid-way through Wolf Hall. So far it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read. Period. It really isn’t your typical historical novel and the more I read by Hilary Mantel(I finished Vacant Possession a week ago) the more impressed I am with her range. But I really feel there is some extraordinary writing in Wolf Hall, hopefully it won’t disappoint.

    I haven’t read any of the other titles, though I can say that in my experience Kingsolver is a bit erratic – putting out a good book one year and a mediocre one the next.

  2. Trevor says:

    I’m glad to hear you’re loving Wolf Hall! I have dabbled in the opening pages, and I really enjoyed it. I love that time period, and I think it will be a great read for me. The only reason I keep putting it off is its length. I’ve got a few other long books in line.

    As for Kingsolver, I really liked The Poisonwood Bible. Thought it came out of nowhere, actually. From what I’ve heard of The Lacuna it is not my cup of tea — too much too much too much.

  3. Colette Jones says:

    Interesting, Trevor – I have so far avoided The Lacuna because I recently read The Poisonwood Bible and found it excellent up until she jumps to the present day and drums home her “message” for 150 pages. I found Animal Dreams to have a similar problem with way too much explained and pounded into my head with a heavy fist. The first one I read, and by far my favourite, with no problems that I noticed or recall, was Prodigal Summer.

    So what will I think of Lacuna, I wonder. I will read it as I will attend the Orange shortlist readings in London the night before the prize and want to have read all the books (three to go: The Lacuna, The Very Thought of You, and Black Water Rising).

    Of the other three I have read, Wolf Hall would be my favourite, but I’m hoping one of the other three overtakes. On the other hand, perhaps Hilary Mantel will break some record for the number of prizes a particular book can win, which would be quite thrilling. Is there a known record?

  4. Joe says:

    Colette, my reaction to The Poisonwood Bible was the same as yours. I loved the first three-quarters of the book and was greatly disappointed by the last section. Since then, I have avoided her books.

    I also have a love-hate relationship with Lorrie Moore. Some of her writing is very good, but a lot of it srikes me as “one-liners” — I feel that she sometimes uses her characters in the service of a joke.

    On the other hand, I am eager to read “Wolf Hall.” I’m waiting for it to turn up at my local library, be released in paperback, or appear in the window of the used book store around the corner.

  5. Lee Monks says:

    I don’t think they’ll give this to Mantel, as I think they’ll be (wrongly) conscious of wanting to celebrate a different book and mark out the award as not merely following suit. I think someone somewhere along the line that’s involved in the Orange decision will emphasise that point. Call me cynical etc. I’d imagine Lorrie Moore would get it.

  6. I am inclined to agree with Lee’s assessment of the jury discussion, although I disagree with his outcome (the Moore was just too weak for me). I think it will come down to whether Wolf Hall is just too impressive, or does it go to one of the three lesser known authors as a statement. The Roffey looks interesting to me but I think it is one of the three Colette has read and she doesn’t have it on top from that selection.

  7. Colette Jones says:

    That’s correct, Kevin. The Roffey didn’t grab me and in fact it would come third in the three I’ve read. I liked A Gate at the Stairs more than you did but we do seem to agree on where it fails. I think you might like the Roffey. It’s quite possible I just wasn’t in the right mood when I read it. When I finished it I felt I needed to take a break from the Orange longlist.

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