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Are you still waiting for Room?

14/04/2011

The shortlists for the Orange prize for Fiction and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award were announced earlier this week, featuring three strong Canadian novelists and another nod for Kathleen Winter's first novel. Below are the complete lists.

If you are on the waiting list for Room, one of the most popular books at the Library right now, here are some similar titles to try in the meantime. Although many are not quite as disturbing as Room, they all haunting in their own way; these stories, like Room, also feature unique, compelling child narrators and are full of psychological suspense.

  • The Bone People by Keri Hulme: This older, "unjustly dusty" novel won the Booker in 1985. Set in New Zealand and incorporating Maori myths and culture, this story concentrates on three intertwined lives: that of Kerewin Holmes, a part-Maori painter and full-time hermit; Simon, an abused young boy; and Joe Gillayley, the Maori factory worker who is Simon's foster father.
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon: 15-year old Christopher John Francis Boon, a Sherlock Holmes fan with some behavioural difficulties (the character displays many characteristics of Asperger Syndrome), sets out to solve a mystery.
  • Watching Jimmy by Nancy Hartry: Watching Jimmy is the job of his best friend, Carolyn, even before Jimmy had a mysterious accident that left him with brain damage. What Carolyn knows about this "accident," and the implications for both Jimmy and his family are revealed over the course of this deeply moving historical novel set in Canada in 1958. This is a story about single mothers, about war, peace, regret, loyalty, and health care (yes, Tommy Douglas makes a brief appearance). Winner of the 2010 CLA Book of the Year for Children Award (BOYCA), for which, in the interests of full disclosure, I am a judge.
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Orange prize for Fiction shortlist:

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award shortlist: