On June 5th the winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2019 was announced. The book was picked from a shortlist of six titles which were picked from a long list of 16 titles, each of them being of excellent quality, after all they do say just to be nominated is an honour. The books were chosen by five judges, Sarah Wood, Leyla Hussein, Arifa Akbar, Dolly Alderton, and Professor Kate Williams who was the chair of the judges. In an interview Williams described the shortlisted finalists as “exciting, vibrant and adventurous” she went on to say “We fell totally in love with these books and the amazing worlds they created. These books are fiction at its best – brilliant, courageous and utterly captivating”. So let us take a gander at both the winner and the shortlist and see just how great these books are, I’m sure at least one of these will make it into your ‘to read’ pile, though if it’s anything like my own that likely won’t mean you’ll be reading it any time soon. But I digress, on with the show!
An American Marriage
Author: Tayari Jones
Let’s start by looking at the winner of the prize, Tayari Jones’s An American Marriage. The story centres around a newly married American couple, Celestial and Roy, who are pretty much the embodiment of the American dream. She is a young artist just starting out on the path to success whilst Roy is a young executive. Seemingly life couldn’t be better for the two until circumstances entirely out of their control invade and turn their world on its head. Roy is arrested for a crime Celestial unquestionably knows he did not commit and sentenced to 12 years of prison. As the years pass during his sentence Celestial struggles to keep grasp of their love that has for so long been her rock, she begins to turn to their closest friend Andre. In a turn of events Roy’s sentence is suddenly overturned and he is freed from his incarceration, able to return home to continue his life where it left off, but has too much changed since?
This is an amazing work of storytelling that peers inside the hearts and minds of three complex characters both bound together and torn apart by events that none of them could ever have imagined would take place.
Author: Madeline Miller
Circe follows the title character throughout her life in a world that is certainly not easy for women to live in, Ancient Greece. She is the daughter of Helios, god of the sun though her intrepid journey begins when she is cast aside and rejected by her kin who despise her lack of divinity both in voice and in looks. Becoming isolated she decides to instead to turn the world of mortals for companionship, it’s here she discovers witchcraft, a power forbidden to the gods.