The Stella Prize 2016 Longlist

Stella-Prize-2016-longlist

I’m not a book-prize-tart* but I have warm-fuzzies for the Stella Prize.

The 2016 Stella Prize longlist was announced half an hour ago, so this news is fresh via Twitter. Here ’tis –

1. THE WOMEN’S PAGES by Debra Adelaide
2. THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD by Stephanie Bishop
3. PANTHERS AND THE MUSEUM OF FIRE by Jen Craig
4. SIX BEDROOMS by Tegan Bennett Daylight
5. HOPE FARM by Peggy Frew
6. A FEW DAYS IN THE COUNTRY: AND OTHER STORIES by Elizabeth Harrower
7. A GUIDE TO BERLIN by Gail Jones
8. THE WORLD WITHOUT US by Mireille Juchau
9. A SHORT HISTORY OF RICHARD KLINE by Amanda Lohrey
10. ANCHOR POINT by Alice Robinson
11. THE NATURAL WAY OF THINGS by Charlotte Wood
12. SMALL ACTS OF DISAPPEARANCE: ESSAYS ON HUNGER by Fiona Wright

I’ve only read one but have another four lined up in the TBR stack. And I’m busting to read Small Acts…

It’s going to be a great reading year.

*I just made that up but it’s someone who only reads book-prize winners so that they can pontificate loudly at dinner parties.

Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson

Ester Nilsson, the main character in Wilful Disregard by Lena Andersson, is either a complete nut or very, very normal. I still haven’t quite decided.

“The dreadful gulf between thought and words, will and expression, reality and unreality, and the things that flourish in that gulf, are what this story is about.”

The story is simple – 31-year-old Ester is in a content relationship with Per. She’s asked to give a lecture on famous artist, Hugo Rask. Hugo is in the audience, Ester has a fan-girl moment and then leaves Per – because she’s suddenly in love with Hugo. Hugo doesn’t give a toss about Ester, not truly, but in an all-too-familiar scenario, his indifference doesn’t deter her. The story reveals the excruciatingly shameful, truthful details of Ester’s actions and feelings. Continue reading

Thomas and Mary by Tim Parks

Usually when I read a book I don’t think much about the author’s personal life. Sure, an author has to invest some of themselves in what they write but unless it’s a memoir I don’t dwell on the extent of that investment. And then I read Thomas and Mary by Tim Parks. And I can’t stop thinking about the state of Tim Parks’s personal life. Specifically, I’m thinking he’s either been through a bitter divorce; paying child support for the next one thousand years; and/or has had affairs left, right and centre. I’m wondering because Thomas is such an intimately drawn character.

Of course, I could be wrong and the reality is that Tim Parks has an exceedingly good imagination. Continue reading

Six Degrees of Separation – from Olive Kitteridge to Doppler

six-degrees-olive-kitteridge

It’s time for #6Degrees (and for the first time, I’m hosting – that’s code for you absolutely must join in, please)!

We begin with Elizabeth Strout’s Pulitzer Prize winner, Olive Kitteridge. The story is set in a small town in Maine, as is John Irving’s beautiful saga, The Cider House Rules. Continue reading