The Orange Prize

The small bookstores in my town are conspiring against me.

A week ago I saw the usual selection of Stephen Kings and Jeffrey Archers, and lusted over We Need To Talk About Kevin (which I had never thought of buying before). I returned two days ago, determined to purchase just that. Headed straight down the aisle, reached for an unblemished copy, stood up. And found myself face to face with this:


It was one of the nominated books for the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction. And it was a debut novel, to boot.

I was petrified. Caught up between buying something I had wanted for a month and something … current.

And then, there! Another nominee for the Orange Prize! At the corner of a bookshelf, at that!


Oh no oh no oh no! I was trapped – only had enough money to buy one book. And all these books are so expensive!

What’s one litblogger to do when faced with such consummate strategy?

The Nominees (In The Other Of My Interest)

1. The Observations. I’m somewhat addicted to reading debut novels, and then charting the author’s progress from book to book like a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis. Maybe because I’m still trying to figure out how to craft the perfect novel. But back to topic – what I’ve heard about The Observations is pretty intruiging … Jane Harris apparently wrote a manuscript, thought it wasn’t good enough, and left it to rot in her attic. Then she takes it out after an extremely long period, says: “What the heck,” and sends it to a few publishers.

Bidding war starts. The rest is history.


2. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers. I’m looking forward to reading this, especially since it’s written in broken English.

‘I am alien, like Hollywood film Alien, I live in another planet, with funny-looking and strange language. I standing in most longly and slowly queue with all aliens waiting for visa checking’

How can you not laugh at something like that?


3. Digging To America. Two couples adopt twin Korean girls, and this act starts a relationship between their two families of different cultures. One couple is White; the other Iranian Americans. The way they bring up their daughters contrast with each other, as does the distrust that permeates American society after 9/11, that affects the Iranian Americans. When a member of one family falls in love with a member of the other … cultural differences come to a head. (Psst: NYT review here).

4. Half Of A Yellow Sun. It’s set in the Nigeria-Biafra conflict. I’ve no idea what that even is (isn’t turmoil a thing you relegate to the bottom of your mind, seated in your armchair watching the evening news?). It must’ve been painful, and it must’ve been something she wanted us to remember.

5. Arlington Park. One rain soaked, gloomy day. Five middle-class British women. All living in Arlington Park. Doesn’t make me particularly interested, but I suppose it’ll have to be above the one book on this list I’ve already read.

6. The Inheritance Of Loss. Bought it, read it, didn’t like it.

The question tickling me now is this: which book of this list should I consume?

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