Six books were shortlisted this week for the Women’s Prize for fiction. Female authors from different nationalities bring to life six stunning stories about simple people that usually go unnoticed, no matter how hard they struggle. Each of the six books is special in its way, but emotions like love, sadness and isolation are commonly present in all of them.
- Caribbean writer, Cherie Jones’s How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is a tale of a woman who lives with violence, abuse and poverty. The story of a crime that happens in Baxter Beach, Barbados highlights the economic and social inequality between the locals’ life and the life of the wealthy people who colonized the space. It’s dark, full of sad and brutal events, and it’s brilliantly written.
- English writer Susanna Clarke with her unusual book Piranesi, transports the reader to a world of peaceful beauty and kindness far from the crowd with a candid, yet deep analysis of the world made by the protagonist. If you like originality and metaphors, you will easily love this book and find yourself trying to resolve its impenetrable puzzle.
- Ghanaian American writer Yaa Gyasi with her book Transcendent Kingdom, brings us a stirring realistic fiction story, with dialog between religion and science. A young female scientist tries to find a balance in her life between her ambition and her beliefs while dealing with all the grief from her brother’s loss and her mother’s depression. The flow of events and emotions in this book is so real that it feels like a memoir.
- American writer Brit Bennett with her captivating book The Vanishing Half, is my favorite. The Vanishing Half Is the story of twin sisters that are separated at the age of sixteen and how they pursue completely different lives. The twins cross path many years later revealing how, with the same start in life but different choices, they can have such different destinies. Bennett tackles matters of poverty, violence and family relations in a very expressive way.
- English Writer Claire Fuller, in her fiction Unsettled Ground chose an isolated rural countryside for her story. Full of detailed descriptions, the story of the twins Jeanie and Julius reminded me of the 19th century English classics’ style, even though the story is clearly set in the 21 century. Fuller paints with high precision how a simple peaceful life full of love turns easily to homelessness and hardship. In a seasoned way, a series of unexpected events slowly unravels, making this book even more captivating.
- And last but not least, Patricia Lockwood is nominated with her very current novel No One is Talking About this. Through the life of a young woman, Lockwood describes how social media becomes dominant in our lives with themes that are frequently debated like climate change, women’s rights, and a tyrannical president, bringing a special humor that is sometimes sarcastic. Then, in the second part of the book, when the protagonist must face some tragic events, Lockwood, contrasts a highly online life with real life, well describing how deep sorrow can be and how ephemeral virtual life is, leading us to rethink our priorities in life.