Orange Prize Other

Five Discarded Oranges

Photo Credit: Christine, Flickr

The Orange longlist was recently announced and I’m making an effort to try every book in the hope I’ll discover a few gems. I’m aware that many of the books won’t be to my taste and so am abandoning any that fail to excite me.

These are the books that I’ve abandoned so far:

The Flying Man

The Flying Man by Roopa Farooki

Five words from the blurb: man, charm, Pakistan, escapes, game

I haven’t had much success with books written by Roopa Farooki in the past and so I didn’t hold out much hope for this one. I tried the first 20 pages and discovered that her writing style is as light as usual. I’m sure this will be a reasonably entertaining read (as confirmed by cardigangirlverity), but I’m afraid I’m looking for books that really sparkle.


The Translation of the Bones

The Translation of the Bones by Francesca Kay

Five words from the blurb: motherhood, faith, love, emotional, London

I can’t fault this one – the writing was excellent and the characters sprung to life. But after 40 pages I realised that I wasn’t excited about picking it up and carrying on, so I didn’t. Tiny Library describes this as a: Quiet, understated read about faith and family.

Her review confirms that I made the right choice in abandoning this book – quiet and understated rarely work for me.

There but for the

There but for the by Ali Smith

Five words from the blurb: dinner party, stranger, satirical, perspective, memory

I’ve been avoiding this book for a while. Lots of people love it, but I know that I don’t normally enjoy Ali Smith’s experimental style. In an effort to give her the benefit of the doubt I got a copy of the audio book from the library and took it with me on a long car journey. Unfortunately I discovered that I dislike her style on audio as much as I do in print. It felt pretentious and I just didn’t get it. I forced myself to listen to all of disc one, but Ali Smith will never be for me – I prefer more conventional narration. This book divides opinion. If you want to know why others love it I suggest you read Simon’s review.


Lord of Misrule

Lord of Misrule by Jaimy Gordon

Five words from the blurb: horses, racing, steal, fast, winners

I’m not a big fan of horse racing and so was nervous about starting this one. Luckily I was quickly bowled over by the impressive writing. Unfortunately my enthusiasm was short lived. Beautiful, profound statements were scattered throughout the text, but I failed to connect to any of the characters. Reading became a real chore and so I abandoned it after 60 pages. This is another book that divides opinion. The Mookse and the Gripes describes this as: a remarkably unique novel.


Foreign Bodies

Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick

Five words from the blurb: teacher, New York, divorce, family, love

This book has a very strange beginning involving a series of letters in which one character abuses and rants at another. The story progresses to include an annoying woman travelling to Europe to look for her nephew. It’s safe to say that this story will never be for me, but as it is a satire of The Ambassadors by Henry James (a book I haven’t read) I suspect that fans (or enemies!) of that book would find a lot to enjoy. Unabridged Chick enjoyed the book, despite disliking the characters. Perhaps you will too?

Remaining Oranges

I’ve nearly finished my trial of this year’s Orange longlist. I’m currently half way through Island of Wings by Karin Altenberg, and hope to post a review in the next week. I then just have On the Floor by Aifric Campbell, The Pink Hotel by Anna Stothard, and The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen left. I hope to finish in time to predict the shortlist, but I admit that I’m distracted by books (like Salvage the Bones and Running the Rift) that commenters on my Orange longlist prediction post were especially passionate about.

Did you love any of these books?

Was I wrong to abandon any of them?

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