Recent book titles that have won awards.
About the book: From the Man Book Prize Website: In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist,
is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman.
But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’.
The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…
Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.
Chair of the Man Booker Prize judges, Kwame Anthony Appiah comments:
‘The language of Anna Burns’ Milkman is simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny,
resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist. From the opening page her words pull us into the daily violence of her
world — threats of murder, people killed by state hit squads — while responding to the everyday realities of her life as a young woman,
negotiating a way between the demands of family, friends and lovers in an unsettled time. The novel delineates brilliantly the power of
gossip and social pressure in a tight-knit community, and shows how both rumour and political loyalties can be put in the service of a
relentless campaign of individual sexual harassment. Burns draws on the experience of Northern Ireland during the Troubles
to portray a world that allows individuals to abuse the power granted by a community to those who resist the state on their behalf.
Yet this is never a novel about just one place or time. The local is in service to an exploration of the universal experience of societies in crisis.’
About the book: On 22 February 1862, two days after his death, Willie Lincoln is laid to rest in a marble crypt in a Georgetown cemetery.
That very night, shattered by grief, his father Abraham arrives at the cemetery, alone, under cover of darkness.
Over the course of that evening, Abraham Lincoln paces the graveyard unsettled by the death of his beloved boy,
and by the grim shadow of a war that feels as though it is without end.
Meanwhile Willie is trapped in a state of limbo between the dead and the living –
drawn to his father with whom he can no longer communicate, existing in a ghostly world populated by the recently passed and the long dead.
Unfolding in the graveyard over a single night, narrated by a dazzling chorus of voices,
Lincoln in the Bardo is a thrilling exploration of death, grief and the deeper meaning and possibilities of life.
About the book: After signing up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms,
John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War. Having fled terrible hardships themselves,
they find these days to be vivid and filled with wonder, despite the horrors they both witness and are complicit in.
Their lives are further enriched and endangered when a young Indian girl crosses their path, a
and the possibility of lasting happiness emerges, if only they can survive.
What the judges said: “A miracle of a book – both epic and intimate – that manages to create spaces for love and safety in the noise and chaos of history.”
About the book: Born in the ‘agrarian ghetto’ of Dickens on the southern outskirts of Los Angeles and raised by a
single father, a controversial sociologist, the narrator of The Sellout spent his childhood as the subject in racially charged psychological
studies. He is led to believe his father’s pioneering work will result in a memoir that will solve his family's financial woes.
But when his father is killed in a police shoot-out, he realises there never was a memoir. All that’s left is the bill for a drive-through funeral.
Fuelled by this deceit and the general disrepair of his hometown, the narrator sets out to right another wrong:
Dickens has literally been removed from the map to save California from further embarrassment.
Enlisting the help of the town’s most famous resident – Hominy Jenkins – he initiates the most outrageous action conceivable:
reinstating slavery and segregating the local high school which lands him in the Supreme Court.
What follows is a remarkable journey that challenges the sacred tenets of the United States Constitution,
urban life, the civil rights movement and the holy grail of racial equality – the black Chinese restaurant.
About the book: When Faith’s father is found dead under mysterious circumstances,
she is determined to untangle the truth from the lies.
Searching through his belongings for clues she discovers a strange tree.
A tree that feeds off whispered lies and bears fruit that reveals hidden secrets.
But as Faith’s untruths spiral out of control, she discovers that where lies seduce, truths shatter....
What the judges said: “We all loved this dark, sprawling, fiercely clever novel that blends
history and fantasy in a way that will grip readers of all ages.”
From the Costa Book Awards.
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