Since the Philippines is 7 hours ahead of the UK, I stayed up until 2:30 AM to wait for the shortlist announcement, and couldn’t even take a short nap beforehand because I was so excited. You can watch the official announcement here, but here is the shortlist:
I was able to guess four out of six (Girl, Woman, Other, Dominicana, A Thousand Ships, and The Mirror & the Light), though guessing Dominicana right gave me no pleasure, as I didn’t like that one at all. But I was so pleasantly surprised when Weather made it; it’s my favorite read so far, so I’m glad that it’ll get more attention now that it’s advanced to the shortlist. I had to laugh when A Thousand Ships was announced—if there’s anything I can conclude about the judges’ tastes, it’s that they cannot get enough of Greek retellings—but a number of bloggers also found this to be a great read, so fingers crossed that this one deserves its spot there.
Overall, I don’t hate this shortlist, but I’m disappointed that Dominicana was chosen over the far superior How We Disappeared or even Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line for the ‘diversity’ book. I honestly don’t know what the judges saw in that one. I also wonder about why there seems to be just one slot for a ‘diverse’ book in the first place, and why a shortlist that honors women and women’s writing features two books with famous dead white men (though arguably Shakespeare is a peripheral figure in Hamnet).
Still, this shortlist is a LOT better than my predictions. I’ll still be reading the remaining books on my list, and I’m even considering giving Mantel’s intimidating trilogy a go, since I’m seeing even more positive reviews of it now. Besides, The Mirror & the Light and Girl, Woman, Other are the only ones with a real shot at the Prize anyway. I’m still firmly rooting for Evaristo, though—Mantel already has TWO Bookers to her name while Evaristo has only a half, so I think it’s only fair she gets this one. I’ll keep you guys posted if I ever do plan on reading it.
What did you think about the shortlist? Any thoughts or violent reactions? Did your favorites make it there? Let me know in the comments!
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