Annal: 2000 Orange Prize for Fiction

Results of the Orange Prize in the year 2000.

Book:When I Lived in Modern Times

When I Lived in Modern Times

Linda Grant

When I Lived in Modern Times is one woman’s story of discovery-of herself, of her heritage, and of the nation that would one day become Israel.

It is April 1946. For a weary and exhausted Europe, it’s a time to begin picking up the pieces of the past, and for the armies of displaced persons on the move to slowly return home-if they still have one. But for Evelyn Sert, a twenty-year-old woman from London standing on the deck of a ship bound for Palestine, it is a time of adventure and a time of change when anything seems possible.

Landing on the shores of a nation fighting to be born, Evelyn is quickly caught up in the spirited, chaotic churning of her new, strange country. Unsure of herself and where she belongs in this world whose only constant is change, she will become Eve…[more]

Book:Amy and Isabelle

Amy and Isabelle

Elizabeth Strout

With compassion, humor, and striking insight, Amy and Isabelle explores the secrets of sexuality that jeopardize the lovebetween a mother and her daughter. Amy Goodrow, a shy high school student in a small mill town, falls in love with her math teacher, and together they cross the line between understandable fantasy and disturbing reality. When discovered, this emotional and physical trespass brings disgrace to Amy’s mother, Isabelle, and intensifies the shame she feels about her own past. In a fury, she lashes out at her daughter’s beauty and then retreats into outraged silence. Amy withdraws, too, and mother and daughter eat, sleep, and even work side by side but remain at a vast, seemingly unbridgeable distance from each other.

This conflict is surrounded by other large and small dramas in the town of Shirley Falls—a teenage pregnancy, a UFO sighting, a missing child, and the trials of Fat Bev, the community’s enormous (and enormously funny and compassionate) peacemaker…[more]

Book:The Dancers Dancing

The Dancers Dancing

Eilis Ni Dhuibhne

It is 1972: a group of teenagers, some from Dublin, some from Derry, are spending a month in the Irish-speaking district of Donegal, learning Irish language and culture from their teachers and from the local people they are boarding with. Urban dwellers, released for the first time from the reins of parental control, they respond to the untamed landscape of river, hill, and seas, finding in it unnerving echoes of their own submerged—and now emerging—wildness.

In this richly complex new novel. Ni Dhuibhne, one of Ireland’s most exciting and original writers, uses the experiences and emotions of girls on the cusp of womanhood to explore dangerous territories of sex, politics, class, and Irishness.

Book:Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood: A Novel

Rebecca Wells

When Vivi and Siddalee Walker, an unforgettable mother-daughter team, get into a savage fight over a New York Times article that refers to Vivi as a “tap-dancing child abuser,” the fallout is felt from Louisiana to New York to Seattle. Siddalee, a successful theater director with a huge hit on her hands, panics and postpones her upcoming wedding to her lover and friend, Connor McGill. Vivi’s intrepid gang of lifelong girlfriends, the Ya-Yas, sashay in and conspire to bring everyone back together.

In 1932, Vivi and the Ya-Yas were disqualified from a Shirley Temple Look-Alike Contest for unladylike behavior. Sixty years later, they’re “bucking seventy” and still making waves. They persuade Vivi to send Sidda a scrapbook of girlhood mementos titled “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.” …[more]

Book:If I Told You Once

If I Told You Once

Judy Budnitz

In her sparkling, startling novel about mothers, daughters, and love, Judy Budnitz gives the traditional folktale an electrifying twist as she follows four generations of women from an Eastern European village to the tenements of an American city.

Ilana, eager to escape her formidable mother’s all consuming love, embarks on an epic journey to the New World, met along the way by evil, magic, and good fortune. The daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter who follow in her footsteps share her special powers of observation and, often, destruction. The result is a family saga unlike any other: a hilarious, heartbreaking story of family ties that bind.

With dazzling imagination and spell-binding storytelling, Judy Budnitz confirms her status as one of her generations most talented and original voices.

Book:White Teeth

White Teeth: A Novel

Zadie Smith

On New Year’s morning, 1975, Archie Jones sits in his car on a London road and waits for the exhaust fumes to fill his Cavalier Musketeer station wagon. Archie—working-class, ordinary, a failed marriage under his belt—is calling it quits, the deciding factor being the flip of a 20-pence coin. When the owner of a nearby halal butcher shop (annoyed that Archie’s car is blocking his delivery area) comes out and bangs on the window, he gives Archie another chance at life and sets in motion this richly imagined, uproariously funny novel.

Epic and intimate, hilarious and poignant, White Teeth is the story of two North London families—one headed by Archie, the other by Archie’s best friend, a Muslim Bengali named Samad Iqbal. Pals since they served together in World War II, Archie and Samad are a decidedly unlikely pair. Plodding Archie is typical in every way until he marries Clara, a beautiful, toothless…[more]

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