Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The London Train and The Orange Prize

Big News in Books Today 

Our selected book for February, The London Train, was a runner up for The Orange Prize for Fiction in the U.K.  I thought today, I would give you a little background in this and other literary prizes.  We tend to view these, especially the English prizes as "terribly literary, don't you know". It surprised me, to learn that the current "Honorary Director" of the Orange (Now called Women's Prize for Fiction), is none other than Kate Moss....the model.  Gorgeous as she is, I was unaware of her expertise in literary fiction.  The Booker Prize, which is probably the top prize for fiction in England, highly regarded by all in the world of books, who for the second time in three years chose Hilary Mantel and her books about Cromwell as their winner, had the actor who plays Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey on their selection committee.  Since I have read both The London Train and Mantel's books, and have recommended them as selections in book clubs, I must agree that these prizes have value.  What I am not sure of is, do they have value because I agree with their opinions or because they bring to light, new and exciting authors for us all to try.  I think probably, the later.  In case any of you are curious about prizes for American authors, today, the Mystery Writers of America have announced their list of books nominated for their prize, The Edgar.  I look forward to looking through the list and possibly picking one of them for a future selection. One more piece of book news....It has been announced that Dan Brown, author of The Da Vinci Code will publish a new book this May, and it is to be called Inferno. Discuss amongst yourselves.
Now that you have a little inside information on the prize associated with The London Train , we can talk about whether or not it would receive the CapRadio Reads award.  The book starts with the death of one of the protagonist's mother, Evelyn. She has died in a nursing home and before Paul, her son, can get there, she has been taken away. Shortly, he discovers from his former wife, that his oldest daughter has gone missing .  His reactions to both these difficult moments, seems to be oddly thoughtful and not at all emotional. Since Paul is the author of Literary Criticism, is he purely a critical thinker, or is he a flawed, unemotional character? Are the characters in this book all flawed, and does this make them more interesting? It has been written of the author, Tessa Hadley, that she is "more about emotions and characters and less about plot".  How do you, as a reader, react to this type of writing? I know some readers find themselves having to like characters in a book to enjoy the read. As you read on, think more about the opinions of the characters than your opinion of them.  But please, read and enjoy the book in it's entirety. I don't think you will be disappointed.
Have you signed up to come to our Book Review Meeting on Tuesday, February 12th at 6:30pm?  Seating is limited and it will be a terrific evening so please  Sign Up Here.  Otherwise, please share your opinion here by commenting on this blog. I would love to read it and share it with other viewers!

1 comment:

  1. I do enjoy good characterizations and well-written emotional depictions. That, to me, is more important than the characters being likable or a typical "plot." This book is appealing to me so far, only 43 pages in. Great choice!