I have now read all six books short listed for the Orange Prize 2009. Overall, I wasn’t very impressed with the quality of books which made the short list. I think that the judges this year must be fans of literary fiction, particularly books which are reflective and full of wisdom. I prefer great characters and a complex plot, so I didn’t get much pleasure from reading the final six.
So who is going to win the Orange Prize this year?
Here are my thoughts on each book’s chances…..
The Invention of Everything Else by Samantha Hunt
I don’t think this has a real chance of winning. Some people enjoyed it, and it does have some interesting literary devices in it, but overall it doesn’t have the feel of a prize winning book.
Molly Fox’s Birthday by Deirdre Madden
There is an outside chance that this could win the Orange Prize. Fans of literary fiction really enjoy this book, and lovers of general fiction (like me) do not find anything wrong with it. It is a nice gentle read, and it does have a great ending. If the judges are a mixture of literary fiction and general fiction lovers then they could well compromise on their favourite book by agreeing to choose this as a winner.
Scottsboro by Ellen Feldman
I don’t think this has a realistic chance of winning. There is nothing wrong with it, but it doesn’t have that magic spark. It is a reasonable read about an important historical case, but I think it did well to get nominated.
Home by Marilynne Robinson
I think that Home has a very real chance of winning the Orange Prize. Fans of literary fiction love this book, they rave about it being their favourite book of the year, and how amazing the poetic prose is. I didn’t enjoy it at all, but I’ve a feeling that the judges do and so it will probably win.
The Wilderness by Samantha Harvey
This my favourite by a long way. The writing was so moving and thought provoking. It was in a league above the rest for me and I really hope that it wins, but I’m not that sure it will.
Burnt Shadows by Kamila Shamsie
Burnt Shadows has an outside chance of winning. The plot is very ambitious, and I don’t think it quite worked, but everyone enjoyed it to some extent, and there were quite a few literary devices to please those judges. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if this managed to sneak through to win, as not many books try to achieve the things this one does.
The winner is announced on 3rd June, and I really hope that The Wilderness wins, but if I had to place a bet I’d put my money on Home.
Have you read any of the shortlist?
Who do you think will win?
I look forward to hearing your opinions!