The 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced today. The longlist of 20 novels was released on March 8, and I included the list on my blog: (http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/2016/03/longlist-for-2016-baileys-womens-prize.html). That list has been narrowed down to six finalists:
Ruby by Cynthia Bond (U.S.)
When a telegram from her cousin forces 30-year-old Ruby Bell to return home to her East Texas hometown, she finds herself reliving the devastating violence of her girlhood. With the terrifying realization that she might not be strong enough to fight her way back out again, Ruby struggles to survive her memories of the town’s dark past. Meanwhile, Ephram Jennings, determined to protect the woman he loves from the town desperate to destroy her, must choose between loyalty to the sister who raised him and the chance for a life with the woman he has loved since he was a boy. (https://www.amazon.ca/Ruby-Novel-Cynthia-Bond-ebook/dp/B00GEYN1PM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460400332&sr=1-1&keywords=ruby)
The Green Road by Anne Enright (Ireland)
The children of Rosaleen Madigan grow up in the West of Ireland, in a world that is about to change. When her oldest brother, Dan, announces he will enter the priesthood, young Hanna watches her mother retreat in sorrow to her bed. In the years that follow, three of the children leave home for lives they could never have imagined. Dan for the frenzy of New York under the shadow of AIDS; Emmet for the backlands of Mali where he learns the fragility of love and order; actress Hanna for modern-day Dublin and the trials of motherhood. In her early old age, their difficult, wonderful mother, Rosaleen, decides to sell the family home, the house she was born in and where she raised her own family, with all its ghosts and memories. Her adult children visit for Christmas, carrying with them the complications of their present lives and the old needs of childhood as they are brought face to face with their mother's ageing and the effects her decision will have on them all. (https://www.amazon.ca/Green-Road-Anne-Enright/dp/0771025149/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460401264&sr=1-1&keywords=the+green+road)
The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney (Ireland)
One messy murder affects the lives of five misfits who exist on the fringes of Ireland's post-crash society. Ryan is a fifteen-year-old drug dealer desperate not to turn out like his alcoholic father Tony, whose obsession with his unhinged next-door neighbour threatens to ruin him and his family. Georgie is a prostitute whose willingness to feign a religious conversion has dangerous repercussions, while Maureen, the accidental murderer, has returned to Cork after forty years in exile to discover that Jimmy, the son she was forced to give up years before, has grown into the most fearsome gangster in the city. In seeking atonement for the murder and a multitude of other perceived sins, Maureen threatens to destroy everything her son has worked so hard for, while her actions risk bringing the intertwined lives of the Irish underworld into the spotlight. (https://www.amazon.ca/Glorious-Heresies-Longlisted-Baileys-Fiction-ebook/dp/B00NLJKMX2/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460401419&sr=1-1&keywords=the+glorious+heresies)
The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie (U.S.)
This novel is set in and around Palo Alto, amid the culture clash of new money and old (antiestablishment) values, and with the specter of our current wars looming across its pages. A young couple on the brink of marriage—the charming Veblen and her fiancé Paul, a brilliant neurologist—find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other’s dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tête-à-tête with a very charismatic squirrel. (https://www.amazon.ca/Portable-Veblen-Novel-Elizabeth-Mckenzie-ebook/dp/B00WS1PAZY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460401542&sr=1-1&keywords=the+portable+veblen)
The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild (U.K.)
Annie McDee, thirty-one, is working as a chef for two rather sinister art dealers. Recovering from the end of a long-term relationship, she is searching in a neglected secondhand shop for a birthday present for her unsuitable new lover. A grimy painting catches her eye. After spending her meager savings on the picture, Annie prepares an elaborate birthday dinner for two, only to be stood up. The painting becomes hers, and as it turns out, Annie has stumbled across a lost masterpiece by one of the most important French painters of the eighteenth century. But who painted this masterpiece is not clear at first. Soon Annie finds herself pursued by interested parties who would do anything to possess her picture. For a gloomy, exiled Russian oligarch, an avaricious sheikha, a desperate auctioneer, and an unscrupulous dealer, among others, the painting embodies their greatest hopes and fears. In her search for the painting’s identity, Annie will unwittingly uncover some of the darkest secrets of European history—as well as the possibility of falling in love again. (https://www.amazon.ca/Improbability-Love-novel-Hannah-Rothschild-ebook/dp/B00RKO6N3W/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460401731&sr=1-1&keywords=the+improbability+of+love)
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (U.S.)
When four classmates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York to make their way, they're broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is kind, handsome Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude, who serves as their center of gravity. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. (https://www.amazon.ca/Little-Life-Novel-Hanya-Yanagihara-ebook/dp/B00N6PCZO0/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1460401904&sr=1-1&keywords=a+little+life)
Note: I reviewed this book on August 10, 2015: http://schatjesshelves.blogspot.ca/2015/08/review-of-little-life-by-hanya.html.
The Bailey Prize was established to recognize the literary achievement of female writers. One of the United Kingdom's most prestigious literary prizes, it is awarded annually to a female author of any nationality for the best original full-length novel written in English and published in the United Kingdom in the preceding year.
The winner, who will receive £30,000, will be announced on June 8.