Yesterday the longlist for the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction was announced:

  • Island of Wings, by Karin Altenberg
  • On the Floor, by Aifric Campbell
  • The Grief of Others, by Leah Hager Cohen
  • The Sealed Letter, by Emma Donoghue
  • Half-Blood Blues, by Esi Edugyan (my review here)
  • The Forgotten Waltz, by Anne Enright
  • The Flying Man, by Roopa Farooki
  • Lord of Misrule, by Jaimy Gordon (my review here)
  • Painter of Silence, by Georgina Harding
  • Gillespie and I, by Jane Harris
  • The Translation of the Bones, by Francesca Kay
  • The Blue Book, by A.L. Kennedy
  • The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
  • The Song of Achilles, by Madeline Miller
  • Foreign Bodies, by Cynthia Ozick (my review here)
  • State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett (my review here)
  • There but for the, by Ali Smith
  • The Pink Hotel, by Anna Stothard
  • Tides of War, by Stella Tillyard
  • The Submission, by Amy Waldman

I have read only four of them (links to the reviews above), and would rank those as follows: (1) Foreign Bodies (this is Ozick, so I am obligated to love it — and I did), (2) Lord of Misrule (I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book about horse racing — or, rather, about the unfortunates crowding around the horse races), (3) Half-Blood Blues (I liked this one much more than I was expecting and wouldn’t have been upset had it won the Booker last year), and then State of Wonder (this one was also better than I thought but was much less to my taste — the story comes before the development of any interesting ideas here).

My positive response to the four I read means I might like many more on this list.  My focus over the next few months will be on the Best Translated Book Award longlist (the list here), but I’ve been meaning to slip in Gillespie and I and The Forgotten Walz (after all, I need to have read some of the books written in Great Britain and Ireland as they put together the prize!).

The shortlist will be announced on April 17 and the winner on May 30.

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