The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol, An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine and This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein are among almost 100 authors featuring on the long lists for the ten categories in the Pen Literary Awards announced earlier this week. The short lists will be announced next month.
2014 has been another wonderful year for literature, a classic case of so many books, so little time. I ended the year having read 80 books, predominantly fiction novels, but including one play (Mike Bartlett’s perceptive and witty King Charles 111, works of non-fiction and collections of short stories.
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddine (Text)
The UnAmericans by Molly Antopol (W.W.Norton)
The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vasquez (Bloomsbury)
Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki by Haruki Murakami (Alfred A Knopf)
Thank you For Your Service by David Finkle (Text)
Beyond the Beautiful Forever by Katherine Boo (Random House)
The Golden Age by Joan London (Random House Australia)
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler (Allen & Unwin)
A Winter’s Book by Tove Jansson (A Sort of Book)
His Own Man by Ribeiro Edgard (Text):
The gender division was 66-44 per cent to the blokes, the authors came from
Aaliya lives alone in the second-floor apartment in a none too salubrious part of Beirut and contemplates the gaudy transformation of her city and the imminent arrival of old age with its growing catalogue of “accepted defeats”. She had been subjected to relentless pressure, and occasional threats, by her family after her (impotent, not that they knew that) husband had moved on leaving her with the social disgrace of divorce. No, she dug in. This was her home. And she needs the space for her enduring companions, her books.
“Books everywhere, stacks and stacks, shelves and bookcases, stacks atop each shelf … how many hours have I moved around this room, from nook to nook, making sure that everything is in its proper place, every book in its proper pile, every dust mote annihilated?” It is in their pages that she finds companionship, conversation and an often dryly-witty observation of the vagaries of life in a constantly changing Beirut. As