Friday, August 28, 2009

Of Sex, Death and Quantum Mechanics

The Guardian has released its longlist for the First Book Award. It's a pretty eclectic collection, taking in debut works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Claire Armitstead, chair of judges and the Guardian's literary editor says :
This year the longlist reflects the way in which the divisions between genres are shifting and collapsing and shows the energy and imagination with which the best new writers are confronting a world in transition.
The selected titles are :
The Secret Lives of Buildings - Edward Hollis

Direct Red - Gabriel Weston

The Strangest Man - Graham Farmelo

A Swamp Full of Dollars - Michael Peel

The Rehearsal - Eleanor Catton

The Wilderness - Samantha Harvey

The Girl With Glass Feet - Ali Shaw

The Selected Works of TS Spivet - Reif Larsen

An Elegy for Easterly - Petina Gappah
The two fiction choices are Samantha Harvey for her "moving portrayal of an Alzheimer's patient in The Wilderness", and The Girl With Glass Feet by Ali Shaw "which tells the magical story of Ida Maclaird, who is turning into glass".

Another book on the list that sounds particualrly interesting : Gabriel Weston's memoir Direct Red chronicles life as a surgeon:
... with eye-opening stories of panic and incompetence that some of us might, in truth, not like to know about (and) addresses some fascinating questions, such as what is it like to cut into someone else's body? Or how do you tell a beautiful, seemingly fit young man that he will be dead in days?
You can read extracts of all of the titles here.

Postscript :

An Elegy for Easterly is a collection of short fiction, and is featured here in The Short Review.

1 comment:

Zed Adam said...

I've got T.S. Spivet but haven't read it yet, but it's beautiful to look at, with lots of sideshows and "distractions".

I love debut writers, they tend to produce weirder, a bit more eccentric and genre-busting works. And that list now is a shopping list.