The winner of the Women’s Prize for Fiction has just been announced!
An American Marriage is a really good book, an easy read and the first third of the book was so amazing – to add to that, the topics An American Marriage deals with are really relevant: racism, the judicial system, loyalty, family and marriage, which I think are the reasons why it was chosen for Oprah’s Book Club. It’s a good book for creating discussion, for sure. But it’s not, in my opinion, the greatest book written by a woman in 2018, the most innovative and unique, the most creative. Tayari Jones is an amazing writer, there is no doubt about that. But the Women’s Prize for Fiction is about more than just a good book people will like – it’s about giving a voice to a group of writers who used to be (and still are) constantly silenced and dismissed as “serious” authors. I don’t mind if the main character is unlikable and if the book is not one I loved and will die for – but it needs to have something more, a challenge perhaps on the way it’s written, on the way the main character is, on the plot, anything really. The themes are important and definitely need to be talked about and represented more in fiction, but that does not change the fact that An American Marriage is a conventional contemporary, even if a very good one, and does not bring anything new. So it’s disappointing.
I would have been happy with most of the books that never made it to the shortlist winning the prize, but I’m not surprised by this result at all. The entire prize has been, so far, giving off a vibe of trying to please the crowd instead of challenging it. An American Marriage is the safest book of the entire longlist. It would have been a truly satisfying ending to see The Pisces or Ghost Wall win, they both felt like they had that extra oomph that a lot of the other books don’t. Continue reading