Honor roll: Orange Prize for Fiction

Each of these works has been nominated for one of these awards: Orange Prize for Fiction, Women's Prize for Fiction. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:A Spell of Winter

A Spell of Winter: A Novel

Helen Dunmore

Bearing the distinctive lyrical beauty of her predecessors, A Spell of Winter asserts Dunmore’s claim to the territories staked out by some of the great nineteenth-century novelists. But with a strong, sensuous magic and a modern understanding of love that is all her own, Dunmore defies all the old formulas.

Catherine and her brother, Rob, do not know why they have been abandoned by their parents. In the house of their grandfather, “the man from nowhere,” they forge a passionate refuge for themselves against the terror of family secrets, and while the world outside moves to the brink of war, their sibling love becomes fraught with dangers. But as Catherine fights free of the past, the spell of winter that has held her in its grasp begins to break.

The novel’s rich imagery moves between the stark, harsh winter world that Catherine loves and the warm summers she loathes,…[more]

Book:The Short History of a Prince

The Short History of a Prince: A Novel

Jane Hamilton

Set in Jane Hamilton’s signature Midwest, The Short History of a Prince is the story of Walter McCloud and his ambition to become a great ballet dancer. With compassion and humor, and alternating between Walter’s adolescent and adult voices, the novel tells of Walter’s heartbreak as he realizes that his passion cannot make up for the innate talent that he lacks.

Introduced as a child to the genius of Balanchine and the lyricism of Tchaikovsky by his stern but cultured aunt Sue Rawson, Walter has dreamed of growing up to shine in the role of the Prince in The Nutcracker. But as Walter struggles with the limits of his own talent and faces the knowledge that Mitch and Susan, his more gifted friends, have already surpassed him, Daniel, his older brother, awakens one morning with a strange lump on his neck that leads to fearful consequences—and to Walter’s realization that a happy family, and a son’s place in it, can tragically change overnight. The year that follows will in fact transform…[more]

Book:Visible Worlds

Visible Worlds: A Novel

Marilyn Bowering

In Visible Worlds, award-winning Canadian poet and playwright Marilyn Bowering has created a beguiling, multilayered fiction that brings together two seemingly disparate stories as it races the shattering personal consequences of war. Spanning the middle part of our century, with World War II and the Korean War as its fulcrum, the novel expertly distills an epic story into a finely limned, elegant narrative of understated proportions.

Set in Canada, Germany, Korea, and the Soviet Union, Visible Worlds begins in 1960, with the death of Nate Bone on a Winnipeg football field, as his family and friends stand by and watch. The story then shifts to the tundra of Siberia, where, at the same time, a young woman identified only as Fika is trying to make her way from the Soviet Union to freedom. As the novel unfolds, these two seemingly unrelated events—literally worlds apart—become key pieces in Bowering’s astonishing fictional…[more]

Book:Love Like Hate Adore

Love Like Hate Adore

Deidre Purcell

What happens if your brother is accused of rape? Through her narrator, Angela Devine, the author defends against intense media and public pressure on a young male in a date rape case.

Book:The Magician's Assistant

The Magician's Assistant

Ann Patchett

What is to become of a magician’s assistant without her magician? This is the question Sabine asks herself after the death of Parsifal, the magician she worked with for more than 20 years and her husband for only a few months.

Parsifal loved men, especially Phan, and though Sabine loved Parsifal, she contented herself with his friendship. Now Parsifal and Phan are both gone, and Sabine is left with full responsibility for their possessions and their histories. Always the assistant, her life is still defined by service to Parsifal. But in the world of illusion Sabine has occupied for her entire life, things are rarely what they seem. According to Parsifal, he had no living relatives. Now, with his death, comes the news that he has a mother and two sisters living in Alliance, Nebraska. Inevitably, the strangers will meet and Sabine will be carried away from her beloved Los Angeles to seek the truth of Parsifal’s past in the bitterly windswept steppes of Nebraska in winter. It is here…[more]

Book:The Weight of Water: A Novel

The Weight of Water: A Novel

Anita Shreve

More than a century after someone murders two people on a small island off the coast of New Hampshire, a photographer comes to shoot a photo essay about the famous crime. As she investigates the bleak, isolated lives of the victims, she comes to identify with their spiritual loneliness. For her own marriage is falling apart, crumbling into nights of heavy drinking and terrible silences.

Incited by the chaotic forces that blasted the island years ago, this modern woman is drawn inexorably toward the violence of the past, toward choices that will destroy all she has ever valued. With exquisitely stylish prose and arresting psychological insight, Anita Shreve captures one woman’s journey into the farthest extremes of emotion.

Book:Accordion Crimes

Accordion Crimes: A Novel

Annie Proulx

Rarely has a literary novel so captured the hearts and minds of readers across America and the world as E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News, winner of the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Now we have Proulx’s new novel, Accordion Crimes, a masterpiece of storytelling that spans a century and a continent.

Accordion Crimes opens in 1890 in Sicily as an accordion maker completes his finest instrument and dreams of owning a music store in America. He and his eleven-year-old son, carrying little more than the accordion, voyage to the teeming, violent port of New Orleans. Within a year, the accordion maker is murdered by an anti-Italian lynching mob, but his instrument carries Proulx’s story as it falls into the hands of various immigrants who carry it from Iowa to Texas, from Maine to Louisiana, looking for a decent life. The music is their last link with the past—voice for their fantasies, sorrows and exuberance—but it, too,…[more]

Book:Hen's Teeth

Hen's Teeth: A Kellen Stewart Crime Thriller

Manda Scott

At midnight in Glasgow, Dr. Kellen Stewart learns that her ex-lover Bridget—who was only 41—died of cardiac arrest. With the help of her pathologist friend, Kellen follows the evidence to Bridget’s farm, where she encounters a strange menagerie of priceless hens, lethal eggs, vanishing corpses, and bio-medical marvels to die for.

Book:One By One in the Darkness

One By One in the Darkness

Deirdre Madden

A story about three Northern Irish sisters. It has a double narrative, part of which describes their childhood and shows the impact of the political changes and the violence of the late-1960s upon the people of Ulster, as the wholeness and coherence of early childhood gradually break down.

Book:The Book of Color

The Book of Color

Julia Blackburn

In the late 19th century, an English missionary arrives on a remote island in the Indian Ocean, intent on wiping our fornication among the natives. Instead he incurs a curse that strikes first his dark-skinned wife, then his son and grandson. But is the curse supernatural--or a white man's guilty fascination with an alien new world? "A hypnotic, cryptic, haunting exploration of the power of memory."--Boston Globe.

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