Friday, August 29, 2008

Ape Longlisted for Guardian First Book Award

The Guardian First book award longlist has just been announced and comprises -

four novels :
Me Cheeta: the Autobiography
A Case of Exploding Mangoes - Mohammed Hanif
A Fraction of the Whole - Steve Toltz
The Outcast - Sadie Jones
four non-fiction books :
God's Own Country by Ross Raisin
The Rest is Noise - Alex Ross
Stalin's Children - Owen Matthews
Empires of the Indus - Alice Albinaia
a collection of short stories :
Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan
and a book of poetry :
Sunday at the Skin Launderette - by Kathryn Simmonds
Helen Pidd discusses the selection in the Guardian (though she annoys the hell out of me by not listing all the longlisted titles in her piece!).

The novel I'm most curious to read is Me Cheeta :
... billed as the true story of Cheeta the Chimp, star of Hollywood blockbusters, told "in his own words". The book documents the life and times of a chimpanzee who has outlived all his co-stars from the 1939 film Tarzan to reach the ripe old age of 75. He withdrew from the limelight in 1964 after biting his Doctor Dolittle co-star Rex Harrison, and has retired to an old chimps' home in Palm Springs, California.
Who the actual author is ... well so far we know not. But the publishers vouch for the fact that this is his/her first novel.

There are extracts from all these books and reviews here, so please do go browse.

Judge Claire Armistead on the Guardian blog describes how the judges whittled an original list of 170 down to just 10. I am quite fascinated by what she says about the Nowhere Books :
... perfectly respectable works which for no apparent reason seem to have fallen into a black hole
and Everywhere Books:
... usually novels - which seemed to have surfed the zeitgeist far further than, in my opinion, they deserved to go (these shall remain nameless, though you need look no further than the longlists of some of the year's other literary prizes).
One wonders!

The shortlist of five titles will be announced in November, and the overall winner in December.


Anonymous said...

As long as there's no cheeta-ing going on when they judge :-)))

- Poppadumdum

Anonymous said...

Next book written by a monkey,

"Champagne Bubbles: My Brief but Unforgettable Life With Michael Jackson before He Replaced Me With Emmanuelle Lewis" .