My vote and my prediction
This year's shortlist is quite strong, and for the first time in my obsessive reading of prize lists, I can say I will cheer and celebrate any winner this year. Will I cheer more loudly for some winners than others? Yes, but all the titles are deserving of the Prize, even though I happened to prefer two titles more. Honestly, I won't be surprised with any name called Wednesday evening in London; a case can be made for any of these books to win. Several members of the Orange January/July group on Library Thing who have read the entire shortlist are participating in a shadow jury. It's been fascinating to see how different our reactions are to some titles. Here's how I ranked the six titles for the shadow jury (title links go to my reviews):
- State of Wonder by Ann Patchett (6 stars)
- Painter of Silence by Georgina Harding (4.5 stars)
- Foreign Bodies by Cynthia Ozick (4 stars)
- The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright (4 stars)
- Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan (4 stars)
- Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller (4 stars)
If I were on the Orange Prize jury, I would do all I could to convince my peers to pick State of Wonder and make Ann Patchett the first author to win this Prize twice. It was my favorite novel of 2011, and I haven't stopped singing its praises since I read it last summer. If I were a betting woman, however, I'd pick Georgina Harding to win for Painter of Silence. It's a lovely novel, and it appears to have more of a consensus behind it than the other novels.
I'm using my last four days of vacation this week, as I have to use it all by the end of May. It's wonderful to have seven days off of work, and I'm hoping to finish reading the last four titles on the Orange Prize longlist before I go back to work Friday. This afternoon, I'm staying indoors to avoid the oppressive heat and reading On the Floor by Aifric Campbell. What are you reading this weekend?