Six authors made the leap from the longlist to the shortlist for Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the UK’s most prestigious award for women of all nationalities writing in English:
Ruby, Cynthia Bond (RH/Hogarth; RH Audio; OverDrive Sample).
Bond’s debut novel was an Oprah pick last Feb. and made the NYT‘s bestseller list. It was also very much admired abroad with The Guardian offering: “Many will compare Ruby to the work of Toni Morrison or Zora Neale Hurston … It may be most apt to compare Bond to Gabriel García Márquez [as] Ruby is woven with magical realism.”
The Green Road, Anne Enright (W. W. Norton; Thorndike; OverDrive Sample).
A Man Booker Prize winner, Enright was also on the Booker’s 2015 longlist for this title. When the hardback edition came out last May, People said, “With language so vibrant it practically has a pulse, Enright makes an exquisitely drawn case for the possibility of growth, love and transformation at any age.” It was one of New York magazine’s 8 Books You Need to Read This May and an Indie Next pick.
The Glorious Heresies, Lisa McInerney (PRH/Tim Duggan Books; Random House Audio).
Also a debut, this title is scheduled to hit shelves in the US on Aug. 9. It is set in contemporary, post-crash Ireland. On that side of the ocean McInerney has already gained considerable praise with The Irish Times writing that she is “arguably the most talented writer at work in Ireland today.”
The Portable Veblen, Elizabeth Mckenzie (Penguin Press; OverDrive Sample).
This was an Indie Next pick for Feb. 2016. Bookseller Rico Lange, of Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA said: “This story of an engaged couple trying to navigate crazy family dynamics, betrayal, and professional dilemmas on their way to getting married is one of the funniest, most unique novels I’ve ever read.” Kirkus, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly all gave it starred reviews.
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (RH/Knopf; OverDrive Sample) is the final of the three debuts on the list, written by the incoming chair of London’s National Art Galley. Rothschild (yes, one of THOSE Rothschilds) is the first woman to hold that position. Naturally, her first novel is inspired by one of her favorite artists, Jean-Antoine Watteau. It was both a LibraryReads and a Indie Next pick.
A Little Life, Hanya Yanagihara (RH/Doubleday; OverDrive Sample).
It is doubtful much more needs to be said about Yanagihara’s 2015 sensation. It was a National Book Award finalist and short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. As we wrote when it published, it enjoyed lavish attention. The LA Times’ review began, “I’ve read a lot of emotionally taxing books in my time, but A Little Life … is the only one I’ve read as an adult that’s left me sobbing.” Vogue said the book announces “the arrival of a major new voice in fiction.” Kirkus, in a starred review, claims “The phrase ‘tour de force’ could have been invented for this audacious novel.”
The award winner will be announced on June 8th.