Wczoraj wieczorem ogłoszono zdobywców Commonwealth Writers Prize 2008 dla poszczególnych regionów. Jakiś czas temu przedstawiłam Wam wszystkich nominowanych, a teraz mam wrażenie, że sporo z nagrodzonych książek może być naprawdę godnych uwagi. Ponieważ cierpię na chroniczny brak czasu, podam tytuły, linki do moich wcześniejszych opisów i list nominowanych ukryte pod każdą nazwą regionu oraz angielskie streszczenia ze strony Commonwealth Writers Prize 2008. Opinie własne dopiero, gdy cokolwiek z tych książek uda mi się zdobyć;) W każdym regionie nagrodzono jedną książkę z kategorii Best Book i jedną w kategorii Best First Book. Zostanie też wybrany zwycięzca ogólny, ale to dopiero w maju.
Best Book – Steven Carroll „The Time We Have Taken”
One summer morning in 1970, Peter van Rijn, proprietor of the television and wireless shop, pronounces his Melbourne suburb one hundred years old. That same morning, Rita is awakened by a dream of her husband’s snores, yet it is years since Vic moved north. Their son, Michael, has left for the city, and is entering the awkward terrain of first love. As the suburb prepares to celebrate progress, Michael’s friend Mulligan is commissioned to paint a mural of the area’s history. But what vision of the past will his painting reveal? Meanwhile, Rita’s sometime friend Mrs Webster confronts the mystery of her husband’s death. And Michael discovers that innocence can only be sustained for so long.
Best First Book – Karen Foxlee „The Anatomy of Wings”
In a mining town full of secrets, Jennifer Day is coming to terms with the loss of her older sister Beth. Beth committed suicide and Jennifer is trying to make sense of her sister’s death by piecing together the final months of her life.
All the while Jennifer has to watch her already 'unusual’ family fall apart. Her nanna, who thinks Beth was touched by God, is banned from visiting. Her parents blame Beth’s friends – and each other – for her death. Karen Foxlee’s youthful narrator brilliantly writes about the adult world. It is ten-year-old Jennifer’s innocence that makes her ultimately wise.
Best Book – Lawrence Hill „The Book of Negroes”
Abducted as an 11-year-old child from her village in West Africa and forced to walk for months to the sea in a coffle—a string of slaves— Aminata Diallo is sent to live as a slave in South Carolina. But years later, she forges her way to freedom, serving the British in the Revolutionary War and registering her name in the historic „Book of Negroes.” This book, an actual document, provides a short but immensely revealing record of freed Loyalist slaves who requested permission to leave the US for resettlement in Nova Scotia, only to find that the haven they sought was steeped in an oppression all of its own. Aminata’s eventual return to Sierra Leone—passing ships carrying thousands of slaves bound for America—is an engrossing account of an obscure but important chapter in history that saw 1,200 former slaves embark on a harrowing back-to-Africa odyssey.
Best First Book – C. S. Richardson „The End of the Alphabet”
The End of the Alphabet is about Ambrose Zephyr, an absolutely average man who is content with the habit of his days. His only extraordinary aspect is his utter passion for his wife of some years, Zappora Ashkenazi, whom he calls Zipper. Zipper is elegant and distinctive, and Ambrose is besotted with her; even after years of marriage, he simply cannot understand what she sees in him. When Ambrose fails his „annual medical exam” and is told by his doctor that he has only a month to live, he decides to contradict his impending death by embarking on a wild journey, an alphabetical „grand tour” of all the places on the globe that demand visiting. And thus begins a frantic odyssey, from Amsterdam to Berlin to Chartres to Paris to Florence and onwards, with Ambrose trying to outrun his limited time by gulping down all the sights of a bountiful world and its infinite variety. Zipper travels with him, watching her husband’s physical erosion and struggling to negotiate her own pain and grief. Until gently, quietly, the two of them reach an understanding about love and mortality.
Best Book – Karen King-Aribisala „The Hangman’s Game”
A young Guyanese woman sets out to write an historical novel based on the 1823 Demerara Slave Rebellion and the fate of an English missionary who is condemned to hang for his alleged part in the uprising, but who dies in prison before his execution. She has wanted to document historical fact through fiction, but the characters she invents make an altogether messier intrusion into her life with their conflicting interests and ambivalent motivations. As an African-Guyanese in a country where a Black ruling elite oppresses the population, she begins to wonder what lay behind her 'ancestral enslavement’, why fellow Africans had 'exchanged silver for the likes of me’. As a committed Christian she also wonders why God has allowed slavery to happen. Beset by her unruly characters and these questions, the novel is stymied. In an attempt to unblock it she decides that she should take up a family contact to spend some time in Nigeria, to experience her African origins at first hand.
Best First Book – Sade Adeniran „Imagine This”
This is the journal of Lola Ogunwole which she starts at the age of nine; it charts her survival from childhood to adulthood. Born in London to Nigerian parents, Lola and her brother Adebola grow up in a temporary foster home after their mother abandons them. They are briefly reunited with their father when, in danger of losing them for good, he packs up and moves them back to Nigeria to live. For Lola, the trauma of leaving London and settling in Lagos is soon overshadowed by separation from her father and the only constant in her life, her brother Adebola. They are both sent to live with different relatives and Lola ends up with her aunt, in a small village called Idogun where her struggle for survival begins.
Best Book – Indra Sinha „Animal’s People”
Ever since That Night, the residents of Khaufpur have lived a perilous existence. The water they drink, the ground they walk on and the atmosphere they breathe is poisoned. Nobody has received compensation or help for the chemical leak, least of all Animal, as he is known, whose spine twisted at a young age, leaving him to walk on all fours. His mind is full of foul, insidious thoughts, but the bitterness is mixed with a longing to know human affection and, more urgently, sex. He inhabits a dark kind of half-life. But Animal still knows what love is. He has harboured feelings for his friend Nisha, the daughter of a local musician as long as he can remember. It’s not that she is particularly good-looking; it’s how she does things. Her smile, the way she moves her hair from her face and how she treats him. There will be no chance for him though, as she is enamoured of his friend Zafar. So he has to watch from a distance, taunted by the insults of others and not allowing himself hope. When Ellie Barber arrives, an 'Amrikan’ keen to set up a free clinic to help the victims of the disaster, deep suspicion arises amongst the community. Why has she come? Why does she want to help for no money? Is she a saint or an undercover spy for the factory owners? Animal resolves to turn the situation to his advantage and starts to investigate Ellie’s motives. He attempts to get to the bottom of things and help himself along the way.
Best First Book – Tahmima Anam „A Golden Age”
As a young widow Rehana Haque awakes one March morning, she might be forgiven for feeling happy. Today she will throw a party for her son and daughter. In the garden of the house she has built, her roses are blooming, her children are almost grown up, and beyond their doorstep, the city is buzzing with excitement after recent elections. Change is in the air. But none of the guests at Rehana’s party can foresee what will happen in the days and months ahead. For this is 1971 in East Pakistan, a country on the brink of war. And this family’s life is about to change forever. Set against the backdrop of the Bangladesh War of Independence, A Golden Age is a story of passion and revolution, of hope, faith and unexpected heroism. In the chaos of this era, everyone—from student protesters to the country’s leaders, from rickshaw 'wallahs to the army’s soldiers—must make choices. And as she struggles to keep her family safe, Rehana will be forced to face a heartbreaking dilemma.
Najmniej zaskakujące są chyba nagrody z Europy i Południowej Azji – te książki były absolutnymi faworytami. „Animal’s People” jest już do wypożyczenia w każdej Bibliotece Brytyjskiej w Polsce, więc to akurat dobra wiadomość, no, może nie dla tych, którzy bohatersko postanowili nic nie wypożyczać póki co;) Ja się na to na pewno nie zdobędę, więc dzisiaj pójdę i tą książkę sobie zamówię;) Poza tym najbardziej kusi mnie „The End of the alphabet”, no i oczywiście kilka nominowanych tytułów, których nie ma wśród nagordzonych. Ciekawa jestem, czy „Animal’s People” zdobędzie nagrodę główną – postaram się do maja przeczytać tę książkę, żeby móc sobie wyrobić własne zdanie…