Friday, June 1, 2012


The English literary world continues its love affair with historical novels with the announcement that the winner of the Orange Prize is Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller.   The novel deals with a brief reference in Homer's Iliad to Patroclus, a princeling exiled to the court of Achilles' father, which Miller fleshes out into the love that grows between him and Achilles as they go off to war together.

More exciting is the short list for this year's Impac Award which contains some gems - as it always does.   In case you missed it, here it is:

  1. Rocks in the Belly by Jon Bauer (British / Australian). Scribe Publications (First Novel)
  2. The Matter with Morris by David Bergen (Canadian). Harper Collins, Canada
  3. A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan  (American) Alfred A. Knopf
  4. The Memory of Love by Aminatta Forna  (Born in Britain, raised in Sierra Leone) Bloomsbury Publishing
  5. Even the Dogs by Jon McGregor  (British) Bloomsbury
  6. Matterhorn by Karl Marlantes  (American) Atlantic Monthly Press (First novel)
  7. Landed by Tim Pears  (British) William Heinemann
  8. Limassol by Yishai Sarid  (Israeli) translated from Hebrew by Barbara Harshav Europa Editions
  9. The Eternal Son by Cristov√£o Tezza, (Brazilian) translated from Portuguese by Alison Entrekin, Scribe Publications
  10. Lean on Pete by Willy Vlautin (American) Faber & Faber 
 What a challenge for the judges!   Some of these authors are well established and classy writers such as Jennifer Egan, Jon McGregor, Tim Pears.   Others like Karl Marlantes and Bauer are first time novelists but with Matterhorn Marlantes has produced a momentous piece of writing.   We'll know the winner on 13 June!  

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