Looking for a good read, perhaps you may find something of interest in the in the shortlist for the Orange prize for fiction 2012. Plus save with a book discount for The Book People.
Now in its 17th year, the Orange Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual book award for fiction written specifically by women. Launched in 1996, the prize celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. The winner receives a cheque for £30,000 and a limited edition bronze known as a ‘Bessie’, created by the artist acclaimed Grizel Niven.
Books have the ability to transport you into another world, in a way few other mediums can. But more than that, a good read can also transform the way we see ourselves and each other, bringing about subtle changes in our society. Of course it’s impossible to predict which books will become timeless and continue to be relevant for generation after generation, but the Orange prize for fiction marks out a few which could well fall into that category.
Four nationalities are covered by the selection, and the shortlist includes six distinctive voices and subjects with very different themes. All are worthy of recognition, but there can only be one winner.
The winner will be announced at a glitzy ceremony on 30th May, but there is still time for you to make up your own mind which deserves the title. And with a book discount at MyVoucherCodes for The Book People, now is the time to get reading.
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan – The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymus Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a café and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black.
Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero’s bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there’s more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surface secrets buried since Hiero’s fate was settled.
The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright – The Forgotten Waltz is a memory of desire: a recollection of the bewildering speed of attraction, the irreparable slip into longing. In Terenure, a pleasant suburb of Dublin, in the winter of 2009, it has snowed. Gina Moynihan, girl about town, recalls the trail of lust and happenstance that brought her to fall for ‘the love of her life’, Seán Vallely. AS the city outside comes to a halt, Gina remembers the days of their affair in one hotel room or another: long afternoons made blank by bliss and denial. Now, as the silent streets and the stillness and vertigo of the falling snow make the day luminous and full of possibility, Gina walks through the weather to meet a girl she calls his ‘beautiful mistake’: Seán’s fragile, twelve-year-old daughter, Evie.
Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick – The collapse of her brief marriage has stalled Bea Nightingale’s life, leaving her middle-aged and alone, teaching in an impoverished borough of 1950s New York. A plea from her estranged brother gives Bea the excuse to escape lassitude by leaving for Paris to retrieve a nephew she barely knows; but the siren call of Europe threatens to deafen Bea to the dangers of entangling herself in the lives of her brother’s family.
Travelling from America to France, Bea leaves the stigma of divorce on the far side of the Atlantic; newly liberated, she chooses to defend her nephew and his girlfriend Lili by waging a war of letters on the brother she has promised to help. But Bea’s generosity is a mixed blessing: those she tries to help seem to be harmed, and as Bea’s family unravels around her, she finds herself once again drawn to the husband she thought she had left in the past.
Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding – Iasi, Romania, the early 1950s. A man is found on the steps of hospital, frail as a fallen bird. He carries no identification and utters no words, and it is days before anyone discovers that he is deaf and mute. And then a young nurse called Safta brings paper and pencils with which he can draw. Slowly, painstakingly, memories appear on the page: a hillside, a stable, a car, a country house, dogs and mirrored rooms and samovars in what is now a lost world.
The memories are Safta’s also. For the man is Augustin, son of the cook at the manor at Poiana that was her family home. Born six months apart, they grew up with a connection that bypassed words. But while Augustin’s world remained the same size, Safta’s expanded to embrace languages, society – and love, as Augustin watched one long hot summer, in the form of a fleeting young man in a green Lagonda.
Safta left before the war, Augustin stayed. But even in the wide hills and valleys around Poiana he did not escape its horrors. He watched uncomprehending as armies passed through the place. Then the Communists came, and he found himself their unlikely victim. There are many things that he must tell Safta that may be more than simple drawings can convey.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller – Greece in the age of Heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to Phthia to live in the shadow of King Peleus and his strong, beautiful son, Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine, their bond blossoms into something far deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’s mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett – Among the tangled waterways and giant anacondas of the Brazilian Rio Negro, an enigmatic scientist is developing a drug that could alter the lives of women forever. Dr Annick Swenson’s work is shrouded in mystery; she refuses to report on her progress, especially to her investor’s, whose patience is fast running out. Anders Eckman, a mild-mannered lab researcher, is sent to investigate. A curt letter reporting his untimely death is all that returns.
Now Marina Singh, Anders’s colleague and once a student of the mighty Dr Swenson, is their last hope. Compelled by pleas of Anders’s wife, who refuses to accept that her husband is not coming home, Marina leaves the snowy plains of Minnesota and retraces her friend’s steps into the heart of the South American darkness, determined to track down Dr Swenson and uncover the secrets being jealously guarded among the remotest tribes of the rainforest.
What Marina does not yet know is that, in this ancient corner of the jungle, where the muddy waters and saturating grasses hide countless unknown perils and temptations, she will face challenges beyond her wildest imagination. Marina is no longer the student, but only time will tell if she has learnt enough.
Save £27.94 on the Orange Prize for Fiction Shortlist 2012 collection of 6 books now only £20 at The Book People. Plus get a bonus 5% off orders over £40 book discount, valid until 30th June at MyVoucherCodes.