Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I received a lovely parcel of books this week from the Africa Book Centre containing the books I was missing off the 2007 shortlist for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (I picked all the others up while in South Africa, and am currently working my way through them).

To whet your appetite, here are the cover blurbs. For THE SHADOW FOLLOWS by David Medalie a description which, unintentionally or not, sounds like a soap opera!
It is August on the highveld: a time of dust, wind and melancholy. Distracted only for a moment by the unremarkable person in the cinema noisily excavating his popcorn, Deanna's real concern is that she might be HIV positive, having stabbed herself in the thumb after giving an injection to a patient. She hasn't heard from her brother in days and doesn't seem to have a clue that he's busy fighting off a silent obsession with her estranged husband, Richard. Richard, meanwhile, has much on his mind too. He has enlisted the services of a company called Relative Success in an attempt to track down his biological mother who disappeared shortly after giving birth to him in the early evening of Boxing Day in 1964...
For ALL WE HAVE LEFT UNSAID by Maxine Case (which, incidentally, has won Best First Book, Africa Region in the meantime):
Danika believes she can cope with anything. Now, as she keeps vigil at her mother's hospital bed, watching her life slip away, she feels compelled to answer the questions that linger from her childhood in the eighties. What was the state of emergency about? Why did her father leave, and what happened the night no one ever talks about?
Only now, with her mother beyond hearing, can Danika break the silence of those difficult years. Now she can speak the words that were always left unsaid.
It is really annoying that there was only about a month between announcing the shortlisted candidates and declaring the winners. Despite my best efforts there was no possibility of finishing all the titles in such a short interval, unless I'd had the luxury of dedicating all my time to completing just these books. Perhaps they don't think the general public actually reads?! Ah well, I'll press on and keep you informed as I go.

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Anonymous danielle said...

You have to wonder about these prizes. They list the nominees so quickly. How do the judges get them all read in time? I suppose they must have some leeway and start earlier. I always just pick and choose the books that sound interesting as I know I would never be able to get them all read quickly. Both books sound good!

1:36 pm  
Blogger equiano said...

I suppose one of the aims (when I'm feeling charitable)is just to draw our attention to the existence of these titles. In that sense, I'm a sucker - I got hold of the books didn't I?!

8:09 am  

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