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Posts by Nicole Del Sesto

Booker Shortlist Announcement

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Booker 2022 – Shortlist Predictions

Drumroll please ….

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Booker Longlist: After Sappho

So our panel rounds out the longlist with After Sappho.

After Sappho – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Anita and Tracy

Selby Wynn Schwartz is already an award-winning writer, but with After Sappho she joins that select band of authors who have been longlisted for the Booker for their debut novel.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website: 

A joyous reimagining of the lives of a brilliant group of feminists, sapphists, artists and writers from the past, as they battle for control over their lives, for liberation and for justice.

Told in a series of cascading vignettes, featuring a multitude of voices, After Sappho hails the female torchbearers of the late 19th and early 20th century.

WHAT did we want? To begin with, we wanted what half the population had got by just being born.

Sarah Bernhardt – Colette – Eleanora Duse – Lina Poletti – Josephine Baker – Virginia Woolf… these are just a few of the women sharing the pages of a novel as fierce as it is luminous. Lush and poetic, furious and funny – in After Sappho, Selby Wynn Schwartz has created a work that celebrates the women and trailblazers of the past – and also offers hope for our present, and our futures.

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Booker Longlist: Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Book 12 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Anita, Jen, and Tracy.

NoViolet Bulawayo’s debut novel, We Need New Names, was shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:

This energetic and exhilarating joyride from NoViolet Bulawayo is the story of an uprising, told by a vivid chorus of animal voices that help us see our human world more clearly. 

A long time ago, in a bountiful land not so far away, the animals lived quite happily. Then the colonisers arrived. After nearly a hundred years, a bloody War of Liberation brought new hope for the animals – along with a new leader: a charismatic horse who commanded the sun and ruled and ruled – and kept on ruling…

Glory tells the story of a country trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it.

So what did our panel think? Keep reading to find out.

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Booker Longlist – Trust by Hernan Diaz

Book 11 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Nicole, Tracy, Lisa and Jen

Hernan Diaz A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the PEN/Faulkner Award, Hernan Diaz is the author of two novels, which have been translated into more than twenty languages.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website: 

A literary puzzle about money, power, and intimacy, Trust challenges the myths shrouding wealth, and the fictions that often pass for history.

He is a legendary Wall Street tycoon; she is the daughter of eccentric aristocrats. Together, they have risen to the very top – but at what cost have they acquired their immense fortune? This is the mystery at the centre of Bonds, a successful 1938 novel that all New York seems to have read. But there are other versions of this tale of privilege and deceit.

Trust elegantly draws these competing narratives into conversation with each other – and in tension with the perspective of one woman bent on disentangling fact from fiction. The result is a provocative and propulsive novel that spans an entire century and becomes more exhilarating with each new revelation.

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Booker Longlist: Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer

Book 8 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Jen, Nicole, & Tracy

Maddie Mortimer was born in London in 1996 to a family of writers: both her mother and her maternal grandfather were also authors.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:

Under attack from within, Lia tries to keep the landscapes of her past, her present and her body separate. But time and bodies are porous, and unpredictable.

Something gleeful and malign is moving in Lia’s body. It shape-shifts down the banks of her canals, leaks through her tissue, nooks and nodes. It taps her trachea like the bones of a xylophone. It’s spreading.

Lia’s story is told, in part, by the very thing that’s killing her; a malevolent voice that wanders her systems, learning her from the inside-out. The novel moves between her past and her present as we come to understand the people that have shaped her life.

In turn, each of these take up their place in the battle raging within Lia’s body, at the centre of which dances the murderous narrator and a boy nicknamed ‘Red’ – the toxic chemo that is Lia’s last hope.

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Booker Longlist: Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

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Booker Longlist: Nightcrawling by Leila Mottley

Book 6 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Nicole, Tracy, Lisa, and Susie.

Leila Mottley was born in 2003 in Oakland, California, where she still lives and works.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:

At once agonising and mesmerising, Nightcrawling presents a haunting vision of marginalised young people navigating the darkest corners of an adult world.

‘When there is no choice, all you have left to do is walk.’

Determined to survive in a world that refuses to protect her, a 17-year-old girl finds herself walking the mean streets of Oakland after dark. When she is picked up by the police, the gruesome deal they offer in exchange for her freedom lands her at the centre of a media storm – and facing a terrible choice.

If she agrees to testify, she could help expose the corruption of a police department. But honesty comes at a price – one that could leave her family vulnerable to retaliation, and endanger everyone she loves.

This book has been getting glowing reviews but what did our panel think? Keep reading to find out.

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Booker Longlist: The Trees by Percival Everett

Book 4 – reviewed by panelists Book Worm, Anita, and Jen. Rated by Tracy and Susie

Percival Everett is the author of over 30 books since his debut, Suder, was released in 1983.

Synopsis from Booker Prize website:

A violent history refuses to be buried in Percival Everett’s striking novel, which combines an unnerving murder mystery with a powerful condemnation of racism and police violence.

Something strange is afoot in Money, Mississippi. A series of brutal murders are eerily linked by the presence at each crime scene of a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till, a young black boy lynched in the same town 65 years before.

The investigating detectives soon discover that uncannily similar murders are taking place all over the country. As the bodies pile up, the detectives seek answers from a local root doctor, who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years…

Published by Influx.

So what does our panel think? Keep reading to found out where The Trees ranks for our panel.

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Booker Longlist: Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

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