Thoughts on the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 Longlist

Hello readers!

The longlist for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 came out! (crowd cheers)

My TBR cries as I add 13 books to it, but that’s okay because I’m pretty excited to read those. I am surprised that Ducks, Newburyport didn’t make it and honestly disappointed to not see it there. I’m less surprised that The Man Who Saw Everything and My Dark Vanessa didn’t make it either, but I really wish they had! The Testaments isn’t there either, which actually pleases me, as I really didn’t want to pick it up.

My thoughts on the books for this year:

  • Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner // read, 3 stars
    I didn’t enjoy this book very much – I have a review on it and ended up giving 3 stars because the main character got me exhausted and resentful of the length of the book by the second half. I’m surprised to see it on this list and I’m a bit sad that people will read this one and not Ducks, if they’re following the longlist!
  • Girl, Woman, Other by Bernardine Evaristo // read, 4 stars
    This was predictable, but I’m so happy it made the longlist! This is a very accessible novel and very interestingly told in 12 POVs, most of them of queer black women. I loved it. If I have time, I’d like to re-read it.
  • The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel // in TBR
    Also predictable, but I’m really excited to see this one here, since I loved the first two books and the wait for the third has been interminable (GRRM fans laugh)! I am hoping to pick it up as soon as possible!
  • Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams // not previously in TBR
    I’m not terribly excited to see this one here but I’ve heard really great things, so I’m hoping to be very wrong and have my mind blown. For the longest time I thought it was YA but apparently it’s not and now I hear it’s Bridget Jones + Americanah (only the best book ever, in my humble opinion) so I’m curious!
  • Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line by Deepa Anappara // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – seems to be a crime novel that looks suspiciously like Middle Grade. I’m squinting at this but trying to keep an open mind.
  • Dominicana by Angie Cruz // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – sounds like it could be interesting, but doesn’t particularly call my attention.
  • Actress by Anne Enright // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – this sounds SO good, I’m excited! I am weirdly drawn to stories of women losing their minds (laughs nervously).
  • Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – I’m not sure I’m interested in this one. It reminds me of Ordinary People (and has a blurb by Diana Evans, curiously), which didn’t blow my mind. I get the feeling this will be an okay read.
  • A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – I quickly looked up the synopsis and it’s giving me Silence of the Girls vibe, which I was very lukewarm about last year – but who knows, could be a surprising favorite! I do like the idea of it.
  • How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – I’m not terribly excited by this. The grandson of a woman who was forced to work as a “comfort woman” telling his grandmother’s story seems to me a bit irksome. But we will see. I just got this in ebook!
  • The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo // not previously in TBR
    I’d vaguely heard of before – I’m not sure I’m interested in this one, to be honest, but it could be good. I’m keeping an open mind.
  • Girl by Edna O’ Brien // not previously in TBR
    I’d also vaguely heard of this before, mostly because it showed on some prediction lists. I’m quite uncomfortable about Edna O’Brien writing this story, honestly, although I’m sure she’ll do a brilliant job. It just sounds – opportunistic.
  • Hamnet by Maggie O’ Farrell // not previously in TBR
    This one I was kinda hoping wouldn’t make it, because I wanted to read first I am, I am, I am. But that’s ok, I hear the author is brilliant and I’m curious to see what she does with this story!
  • Weather by Jenny Offill // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – but it says “darkly funny”, so I’m in. It sounds fabulous.
  • The Dutch House by Ann Patchett // not previously in TBR
    I’ve been carefully avoiding this book, after being not really wow-ed by Commonwealth, despite The Dutch House having received so much praise so far. I’m curious but not super excited about this one!
  • Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson // not previously in TBR
    Never heard of before – it sounds like it could be good, although for now I feel rather lukewarm about it.

So there we are! 16 books, from which I’ve read a grand total of 2, just like last year. Which is funny considering I had read a few books I was almost sure would be making the list (namely The Man who Saw Everything, 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in this Strange World, My Dark Vanessa and Ducks, Newburyport) and had a few on my TBR I thought might make it, too. So, I put more effort this year and got the same results as putting no effort. Conclusion? Never put effort into anything.

I’m excited to read Actress, Weather, Hamnet and The Mirror and the Light! I also just got Queenie, which will probably be my first read. I’m wondering if to get any of the other books as audio, but normally for literary fiction it doesn’t work so well for me. What do you guys think?

Clearly from the amount of books I wrote “Never heard of before”, my guesses were quite off and I am a disgrace at predicting longlists. But it’s fine, at least I get a great excuse to get a bunch of new books!

Are you excited about the books in the list this year? Will you read any of them? Did you predict better than me???? (I’m at 1/16 LOL I’m bringing disgrace to my whole family, but to be fair, my list was of books I WISH would make it… and if you count the 2 books I got right that would not make it, I am at x = 1 -(-2) = 3 which means I’m 200% better than I first thought. MATH!)

See you guys, wish me luck with reading the longlist!

16 thoughts on “Thoughts on the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2020 Longlist

  1. Pingback: Women’s Prize 2020 Longlist Reaction – pace, amore, libri

  2. I’m in exactly the same boat as you, having only read 2 despite being sure I’d read loads of good contenders 😂 At least we’re starting from the same point and can encourage each other throughout the list 💪🏼

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  3. It was really interesting to read your thoughts. I am also happy that Girl, Woman, Other is on the list, though it is very predictable. I can say that I did not enjoy The Dutch House at all and I wish I had that time back even 🙂 However, I have heard that people who listened to an audiobook The Dutch House had a very positive experience. Tom Hanks is apparently narrating it and they found it (his voice, maybe?) rather good.

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  4. I would trade Fleishman for Ducks in a heartbeat, despite not having read Fleishman yet…
    I also agree on being wary about Girl, based on the author’s perspective in telling it.
    And Weather has Ducks vibes, you might like it! It didn’t impress me nearly as much as Ducks, but it is short and I enjoyed the writing style.
    Looking forward to seeing what you think of the books as you get to them! Especially not having heard of some of them, I love seeing those fresh perspectives. Happy longlist reading! 🙂

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    • It is a lot of new stuff. On one hand I’m excited because so many weren’t on my radar before, on the other… who has the time to add another 13 books to read in a couple months??? So I’m dreading it a little! Will you read some of those or follow the prize from a distance? 🙂

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      • I tend to follow the prize from a distance and enjoy the excitement everyone shares. It feels sort of like watching a sports team all season end up at the big game. This time, though, I will be reading Actress because I have a copy of it!

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  5. Pingback: Weekly Wrap Up + Starting with the Women’s Prize Longlist W10/2020 | Naty's Bookshelf

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