Times have changed since Norman Mailer asserted that men write with their dicks (Advertisements for Myself) and that women have the wrong genitals to be serious writers, but it is still gratifying for women of my generation to see women’s literature appreciated and honored. The longlist has been announced for the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly the Orange Prize and then The Baileys Women’s Prize). And I’ve already read three on the list and rejected one.
Does that make me qualified to judge? Sure.
Here is the longlist:
The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker
• Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton
• My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite
• The Pisces by Melissa Broder
• Milkman by Anna Burns
• Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
• Ordinary People by Diana Evans
• Swan Song by Kelleigh Greenberg-Jephcott
• An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
• Number One Chinese Restaurant by Lilian Li
• Bottled Goods by Sophie van Llewyn
• Lost Children Archive by Valeria Luiselli
• Praise Songs for the Butterflies by Bernice L. McFadden
• Circe by Madeline Miller
• Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss
• Normal People by Sally Rooney
I loved Pat Barker’s The Silence of the Girls, a retelling of the Iliad from a woman’s perspective, and Melissa Broder’s The Pisces, an offbeat novel about a Sappho scholar who falls in love with a merman. (You can read my thoughts at my old blog, Miribile Dictu, the Barker here and the Broder here.)
I very much disliked Sally Rooney’s Normal People, a novel about two hollow young people, Marianne and Connell, and their hooking up and splitting up and friendship and depression and hooking up again and their years at Trinity. You can read my thoughts on it here .
And I started Anna Burns’s Milkman, which won the Booker Prize last year. It filled me with ennui, but if you need a sleeping pill I recommend it!
Do you know any of the books on the longlist? Do you recommend them?