The Orange Prize Short List 2012… Thoughts

So the six novels that make up the Orange Prize Short List have been announced. I don’t know if you could hear the cries of woe that came from ‘Gillespie and I’ by Jane Harris not being on the list, followed by the bellowing ‘what were they thinking?’ either way here is the actual list as it stands…

Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding
Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

What do I think of the list? Well if I am being truly honest I am mainly sulking about the lack of one title which I just don’t understand not appearing. This isn’t just bias though as I have tried, and failed, with ‘The Forgotten Waltz’ and ‘State of Wonder’ and so have to assume that it is simply a case that the judges and I have very different tastes. That’s all part of fun of awards though isn’t it?

On more positive note, as I don’t want to come across as a spoil sport as I do love this prize, Madeline Miller’s marvellous debut novel ‘Song of Achilles’ is in the mix and I am going to hope that now wins. I will also be reading a couple of the others. Esi Edugyan is a title on The Readers Summer Book Club so I will be reading that in the next few weeks before Gavin and I interview her, ‘Foreign Bodies’ is on the incoming shelves at the moment and I have rather fancied reading ‘Painter of Silence’ since I saw Kim’s review on Reading Matters.

At the moment I just have everything crossed for Madeline Miller being triumphant on May the 30th! What do you make of the final six short listed titles?


Filed under Orange Prize

40 responses to “The Orange Prize Short List 2012… Thoughts

  1. I actually like the shortlist. I haven’t read Gillespie and I, as yet, but was disappointed to see Jane lose out.

    I’ve read both Half Blood Blues and The Forgotten Waltz, I also own Painter of Silence and Song of Achilles, so will be reading them very soon. I’m not sure on how the judging panel chose these, they seem like safe choices.

    I’ll be backing Esi to win with Half Blood Blues for now. That may change as I read more of the list, though.

  2. sharkell

    I loved Half Blood Blues and State of Wonder. I haven’t read the rest but share your disappointment about Gillespie and I which I am 3/4 of the way through. I’m keen to read the rest, too.

  3. I am gutted that Gillespie and I didn’t make it! I’ll back Song of Achilles, but that’s the only one of the shortlist I’ve read. Better hop to it and read more!

  4. JoV

    I’m happy that 2 of my favourites are there, i.e. Forgotten Waltz and The Song of Achilles, looks like it is only two of us who posted about the shortlist announcement very quickly. Mine at local time 10:01am. 🙂
    My thoughts:

  5. I loved “Half Blood Blues” & “Song of Achilles”. Didn’t like “State of Wonder” but was impressed by the quality of writing that could keep me reading when the subject was something I would normally have avoided like the plague. I could see the excellence of writing in “Forgotten Waltz” but I loathed the protagonists. Haven’t read the other 2 yet but a friend thinks very highly of “Painter of Silence.”

  6. kimbofo

    Despite not being a fan of this prize (books should be judged on the quality of the writing, not the gender of the writer), I have to say this shortlist looks very strong. I’ve read three books that are on it (I didn’t read them because they were longlisted for this prize) and liked them all very much: Half-Blood Blues, Painter of Silence (thanks for link) and The Forgotten Waltz. I’d like to see Enright win it — I think she is an amazing writer and The Forgotten Waltz is incredibly accomplished, accessible and human.

    • I don’t know what my issue with The Forgotten Waltz is. I seem to have some kind of natural, yet irrational, aversion to it and I can’t work out why that is. But thats the case. Why do we get these irrational reactions to certain books I would like to know? Lol.

  7. I’m really enjoying The Song of Achilles at the moment so pleased to see it chosen. Foreign Bodies is an interesting choice – it was a good read but hasn’t stayed with me though it would stand up to discussion well in a book group (or judging panel!). Can’t see it winning. I reckon Half Blood Blues or The Forgotten Waltz to win.

  8. I don’t know much of any of these books, except for Half Blood Blues which I read at the end of last year. I loved it – wonderfully evocative, beautifully written and for me at least it remains very memorable – and an excellent plot too.

    • Ali would you fancy joining me and Gavin via skype to talk about Half Blood Blues in a week or two?

      • Well I don’t have skype – and it is a few months since I read it and so not sure how much I could bring to your discussion. But I look forward to hearing what you two think of it. I loved the atmosphere of the book and the relationship between the two central characters particularly.

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  10. I’m very sad that ‘Gillespie and I’ didn’t make the shortlist, but then again I’m still bemoaning the fact that ‘The Snow Child’ didn’t make the long list. 🙂

  11. Be interesting if they, like the Pulitzer, simply reject them all.

  12. A great list no matter who wins, its just great to see everyone get excited about books. 🙂 Too hard to know who will win, judges are mere readers after all and we all know how different we all can be when it comes to that.

    • Yes thats very true Claire, it is all about the excitement of books and the debate they cause. Well put.

      • The best thing about these prize lists for me is that I try reading books I would never otherwise a/ have heard of or b/ would not have thought would appeal. I find them a great way to get me out of my reading comfort zone.

  13. happy see half blood there as I have read it ,all the best stu

  14. Amy C

    The only one I’ve read is State of Wonder, but I loved it (so i guess our tastes differ on that one!). But I keep hearing such good things about Gillespie and I so I will have to grab that one from the library.

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