Though I haven’t properly finished another Longlisted book, I have been working on a couple of them.
On my Kindle, I’m reading The Bees by Laline Paull. What’s charming about this book is its use of bees as characters: anthropomorphism, if you want to be picky about it. Paull gives us so much information about what goes on in bee colonies via a fictional story based on a deformed bee, a “Flora,” who wasn’t quite a sanitation bee but not one of the more elegant, lady-like bees, either. Not knowing exactly where to put her, the colony bounces her around a bit. The novel also addresses current theories as to why bees are diminishing so quickly, a theme addressed in rumors between the bees themselves, who speak of what’s been happening in hushed whispers. Something is causing birth defects but what?
I can’t see the book winning the prize but, as I’m finding from other reads on the list, I would recommend it to voracious readers such as myself, who’ll read anything that’s beautifully done. At first, I was a bit put off by the idea of bees as storytellers but, you know, they’re absolutely fascinating. I love watching bees in my garden and I don’t jump and scream when they come near me. I’m not an ass to them, so they’re not asses to me, either. We have a deal. I have no such deal with spiders, however. I see them, they die. No novel could change my mind on that.
Not even Charlotte’s Web…
From my library stash, I’ve begun A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie. This is the first of the Longlisters I’m finding dull. Honestly, I see nothing special in it whatsoever. Here’s Amazon’s declaration:
A God in Every Stone is a kaleidoscopic masterpiece of empire and rebellion by a storyteller of dizzying ambition and talent.
No. No, it isn’t. And I hope I’ve never written a sentence like that in my own reviewing. I won’t be finishing this novel. No time to spare for soporific reads.
So, here’s the list, updated. The books I’ve read, attempted or have refused to read (I’m so sorry, Anne Tyler)/can’t lay hands on are highlighted:
THE LONGLIST – 2015
Outline by Rachel Cusk (Faber)
Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans (Doubleday) – US release July 28, 2015
Aren’t We Sisters? by Patricia Ferguson (Penguin)
I Am China by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus)
Dear Thief by Samantha Harvey (Jonathan Cape)
Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey (Viking)
Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (Picador)
The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman (Chatto & Windus)
The Girl Who Was Saturday Night by Heather O’Neill (Quercus)
The Bees by Laline Paull (Fourth Estate)
The Table of Less Valued Knights by Marie Phillips (Jonathan Cape)
The Walk Home by Rachel Sieffert (Virago) – ????
A God in Every Stone by Kamila Shamsie (Bloomsbury)
How to Be Both by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
The Shore by Sara Taylor (William Heinemann) – US release May 26, 2015
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler (Chatto & Windus)
The Offering by Grace McCleen (Sceptre) – ????
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (Virago)
After Before by Jemma Wayne (Legend Press)
The Life of a Banana by PP Wong (Legend Press) – US release May 1, 2015
AND THEN THERE WERE ELEVEN.
I am so kicking ass.