Orange Fiction Prize 2012

Image from orange prize site

Yesterday the Short list for the Orange Fiction Prize was revealed. I briefly mentioned it on Twitter and Facebook but haven’t had time until now to look any closer. Has anyone read any of these? What did you think?

All title links lead to Amazon.

The Nominees

Half Blood Blues- Esi Edugyan

I read this one last year when it was nominated for The Booker Prize. It’s a story based around Germany in the Second World War and focuses on a group of black jazz musicians, one of whom goes missing. The story is written from the point of view of one of the musicians who is looking back. I can’t say I was particularly impressed with this one as far as WW2 novels go but I could see why critics might like it. It’s the only book on the shortlist that I have read.

The Forgotten Waltz- Anne Enright

The Forgotten Waltz is a story of love and adultery, and the complications which come with both.

Painter of Silence- Georgina Harding

A man turns up on the steps of a hospital. He is deaf and mute and nobody can tell what has happened to him. Gradually his story is revealed through the pictures he draws, but some things are just to complex for imagery alone- at some point he will need to speak.

The Song of Achilles- Madeline Miller

A story set in the time of Greek gods. Anchillies and Patrocius are great friends. When the war of Troy breaks out Patrocius is called to fight and Anchilies chooses to follow his friend, but this is a war which will change everything.

Foreign Bodies- Cynthia Ozik

Bea Nightingale leaves America after a divorce, supposedly to help her brother bring back his runaway son. But Bea gets involved in her Nephew’s life- and love- and ends up fighting her brother on his behalf, that’s when things start to unravel.

State of Wonder- Ann Patchett

Dr Swenson is working at the Brazilian Rio Negro on a drug which could change the lives of women forever. Swenson’s investors are getting inpatient with her secrecy about her research so send a researcher to investigate, only for the news of his death to reach them later. A colleague of the researcher goes to find out more about his death only to get drawn into a world she could never imagine.


Out of the shortlist I am probably most interested in Painter of Silence because from the full synopsis it seems to combine my interest in historical fiction and psychology, and State of Wonder because it sounds a little mysterious. In case you were wondering I didn’t mention the historic section of Painter of Silence because I felt the synopsis may be giving to much away.


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