Annal: 2008 Orange Prize for Fiction

Results of the Orange Prize in the year 2008.

Book:The Road Home

The Road Home: A Novel

Rose Tremain

In the story of Lev, newly arrived in London from Eastern Europe, Rose Tremain has written a wise and witty book about the contemporary migrant experience.

On the coach, Lev chose a seat near the back and he sat huddled against the window, staring out at the land he was leaving…. Lev is on his way to Britain to seek work, so that he can send money back to Eastern Europe to support his mother and little daughter.

Readers will become totally involved with his story, as he struggles with the mysterious rituals of “Englishness,” and the fashions and fads of the London scene. We see the road Lev travels through Lev’s eyes, and we share his dilemmas: the intimacy of his friendships, old and new; his joys and sufferings; his aspirations and his hopes of finding his way home, wherever home may be.

Book:Fault Lines

Fault Lines

Nancy Huston

Sol is a highly gifted six-year-old; his adoring mother believes he is destined for greatness. Yet he is also unsettling, chillingly un-childlike. He bears the same birthmark as his father, grandmother and great-grandmother had before him. When Sol and his family make an unexpected trip to Germany, terrible secrets start to emerge.Narrated by children in each generation of the family, “Fault Lines” traces their history back through the years, from California to New York, from Haifa to Toronto and Munich. As dormant family secrets are awakened, shock waves reverberate from a hidden past into a fragile present.Domestic in focus and epic in scope, “Fault Lines” is a vibrant, richly drawn and captivating piece of storytelling. It shows what can happen when past and present collide. Birthmarks are not all that can be passed down through a family line…

Book:Lottery

Lottery: A Novel

Patricia Wood

Money isn’t the same as treasure, and IQ isn’t the same as smarts…An uplifting and joyous new novel hailed by Jacqueline Mitchard as “solid gold.”

Perry L. Crandall knows what it’s like to be an outsider. With an IQ of 76, he’s an easy mark. Before his grandmother died, she armed Perry well with what he’d need to know: the importance of words and writing things down, and how to play the lottery. Most important, she taught him whom to trust—a crucial lesson for Perry when he wins the multimillion-dollar jackpot. As his family descends, moving in on his fortune, his fate, and his few true friends, he has a lesson for them: never, ever underestimate Perry Crandall.

Book:Lullabies for Little Criminals

Lullabies for Little Criminals: A novel

Heather O'neill

Lullabies for Little Criminals is the heartbreaking and wholly original debut novel by This American Life contributor Heather O’Neill, about a young girl fighting to preserve her bruised innocence on the feral streets of a big city.

Baby, all of thirteen years old, is lost in the gangly, coltish moment between childhood and the strange pulls and temptations of the adult world. Her mother is dead; her father, Jules, is scarcely more than a child himself, and always on the lookout for his next score. Baby knows that ‘chocolate milk’ is Jules’ slang for heroin, and sees a lot more of that in her house than the real article. But she takes vivid delight in the scrappy bits of happiness and beauty that find their way to her, and moves through the threat of the streets as if she’s been choreographed in a dance.

Soon, though, a hazard emerges that is bigger than even her hard–won survival skills can handle. Alphonse, the local…[more]

Book:The Outcast

The Outcast: A Novel

Sadie Jones

A mesmerizing portrait of 1950s hypocrisy and unexpected love, from a powerful new voice

It is 1957, and Lewis Aldridge, straight out of prison, is journeying back to his home in Waterford, a suburban town outside London. He is nineteen years old, and his return will have dramatic consequences not just for his family, but for the whole community.

A decade earlier, his father’s homecoming has a very different effect. The war is over and Gilbert has been demobilized. He reverts easily to suburban life—cocktails at six-thirty, church on Sundays—but his wife and young son resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert’s wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her. …[more]

Book:When We Were Bad

When We Were Bad: A Novel

Charlotte Mendelson

Claudia Rubin is in her heyday. Wife, mother, rabbi, and sometime moral voice of the nation, it is she whom everyone wants to be with at her older sons glorious February wedding. Until Leo becomes a bolter and the heyday of the Rubin family begins to unravel. Leo’s calm, married, more mature sister, Frances, tries to hold the centre together, but the stresses force her to re-examine her own middle way and lead to a decision as shocking in its way as Leo’s has been. Meanwhile, Claudia’s husband Norman has, uncharacteristically, a secret to hide—a secret whose imminent unveiling he can do nothing about. A warm, poignant, and true portrayal of a London family in crisis, in love, in denial, and—ultimately—in luck.

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