The judges of the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction announced their shortlist yesterday. In some respects "Hurrah!". I can focus my reading for the next couple of weeks on the 6 books that actually stand a chance.
But also "pardon?". At this stage in the game we're all playing catch up with the Judges in terms of reading, I for instance, am only up to my 5th book from the longlist of 20 titles, and without knowing the full context for the judges' decision it can make their choice of shortlist seem somewhat arbitrary. i.e. wrong.
All power to Kirsty Wark though, chairman of judges, who sums up the Orange Prize shortlisting process beautifully, "Once you've whittled the books down and got rid of the obvious crap it becomes a question of taste, and books affect people differently ... there are books on this list that some judges hated."
The lucky titles that have made it through are listed below (with my original rankings in parenthesis). Of these, I have only so far managed to review Rose Tremain's book, the Road Home. I thought it was good, but not exceptional, so I'm blimin' well hoping that "Lottery" will deliver the belly laughs that were promised in Ms Wark's recent interview with the Times. And of course, my friends at Ben Sheddling books (shameless plug) have expressed a keen interest in "Lullabies". Oh which one to read next?
Watch this space dear reader.
The shorty short list.
Heather O’Neill - Lullabies for Little Criminals (7)
Nancy Huston - Fault Lines (9)
Rose Tremain - The Road Home (11)
Patricia Wood - Lottery (12)
Charlotte Mendelson - When We Were Bad (13)
Sadie Jones - The Outcast (17)