Friday Musings: The Baileys Prize Shortlist

screen-shot-2016-04-11-at-17-13-27Given the way the cards have fallen, it’s difficult for me to muse very much about a shortlist where I’ve read only one of the shortlisted titles (A Little Life), although I’m absolutely thrilled that it made the shortlist. My few musings are as follows:

  • Having read only Girl At War and Pleasantville from the longlist, I didn’t feel very qualified to comment on what ought to be shortlisted, either, although I wasn’t convinced enough by either of those novels to back them. For me, Pleasantville got bogged down in its complicated plot, while Girl At War, ironically, felt structurally too neat and simple, despite the emotional impact of its early twist.
  • This article on the shortlist, by Elle Thinks, is a great read – I looked at the first page of The Improbability of Love in Waterstones the other day and wanted to put it down immediately, and it certainly sounds like it ticks a lot of my personal dislikes. On the other hand, I haven’t read an Atkinson novel I liked since Behind the Scenes at the Museum, so was perhaps a little unfairly relieved to see that A God in Ruins wasn’t shortlisted, although I’ve not read it and it may be brilliant.
  • I wish that Rush Oh! and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet had been shortlisted – they were the two titles I most wanted to read from the longlist.
  • As I’m committed to getting through my TBR pile, I may not do my usual shortlist read along this year, especially as few of the chosen grab my attention, but of the shortlisted novels, I’m most intrigued by The Glorious Heresies. 

3 thoughts on “Friday Musings: The Baileys Prize Shortlist

  1. I haven’t been very inspired by the Baileys Prize this year either. Given how much it has shaped my reading in previous years it feels a bit bizarre. The Glorious Heresies and A Little Life are the only two shortlistees I want to read (and the latter is more like a duty than a desire – it kind of scares me). I’d be really really interested to hear what you thought of Rush Oh and A Long Way to a Small Angry Planet. A Long Way… has proved an acquired taste among my friends. It seems to do least well with people who read sf regularly.


    • I couldn’t put down A Little Life, despite its harrowing nature, but it has certainly divided readers and many seem to have found it much more difficult to get through than I did. I’d love to know your thoughts if you do tackle it.


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