Whistles Book Club: Baileys Women’s Prize For Fiction 2017

22.05.2017

One of the world’s most prestigious literary prizes and the UK’s only literary prize for female writers, you can always look to the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction shortlist to inspire your next read.

With previous winners including Zadie Smith, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Lionel Shriver, this year’s six selected novels include a futuristic look into the power of women and a deftly told anti-love story between a woman and her older husband. Add these books to your reading list now.

Stay With Me by Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

Yejide is hoping for a miracle, for a child. It is all her husband wants, all her mother-in-law wants, all she wants. So when her in-laws insist upon a new wife, it is too much for Yejide to bear. Desperate to get pregnant before her rival, Yejide tries everything - arduous pilgrimages, medical consultations, dances with prophets, appeals to God – until her hopelessness leads to betrayal when she finally becomes pregnant. Unravelling against the social and political turbulence of 80s Nigeria, Stay With Me is the debut novel from Ayọ̀bámi Adébáyọ̀

The Power by Naomi Alderman

Suddenly – tomorrow or the day after – women find that with a flick of their fingers, they can inflict agonizing pain and even death. What would a young girl do to an abusive father if she had this power? What would a female politician do if she had this power? Imagine how vulnerable a young man might feel alone in the street, late at night and a woman approaches him. With a single twist, the four lives at the heart of Naomi Alderman’s novel are transformed, and we look at the world in an entirely new light

The Dark Circle by Linda Grant

The Second World War is over, but for an East End teenage brother and sister living on the edge of the law, life has been suspended. Diagnosed with tuberculosis, they are sent away to a sanatorium, where they find themselves in the company of army and air force officers, a car salesman, a young university graduate, a mysterious German woman, a member of the aristocracy and an American merchant seaman. Trapped in this sterile, closed environment, with a host of extraordinary characters, they find that a cure is tantalisingly just out of reach and only by inciting wholesale rebellion can freedom be snatched.

The Sport Of Kings by C.E. Morgan

Hellsmouth, a wilful thoroughbred filly, has the legacy of the Forges family riding on her. They are one of the oldest and proudest families in Kentucky; descended from the first settlers to brave the Wilderness Road; as mythic as the history of the South itself. Through an act of naked ambition, Henry Forge is attempting to blaze this new path on the family's crop farm. His daughter, Henrietta, becomes his partner in the endeavour but has desires of her own. Together through sheer will, the family stubbornly try to create a new future – one that isn't determined by Kentucky's bloody past – while they mould Hellsmouth into a champion.

First Love by Gwendoline Riley

Neve is a writer in her mid-30s married to an older man, Edwyn. For now they are in a place of relative peace, but their past battles have left scars. As Neve recalls the decisions that led her to this marriage, she tells of other loves and other debts, from her bullying father and her self-involved mother to a musician who played her and a series of lonely flights from place to place.

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien

In Canada in 1991, ten-year-old Marie and her mother invite a guest into their home: a young woman who has fled China in the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests. Her name is Ai-Ming. As her relationship with Marie deepens, Ai-Ming tells the story of her family in revolutionary China, from the crowded teahouses in the first days of Chairman Mao's ascent to the Shanghai Conservatory in the 1960s and the events leading to the Beijing demonstrations of 1989. Forced to re-imagine their private selves, their fates reverberate through the years, with deep and lasting consequences for Ai-Ming - and for Marie.

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