So many books. So little time. As another year comes to a close it’s time for a some literary accounting. Discounting January, when my focus was entirely on uni text books, I read 69 books in 2017, including four non-fiction and one play. I did not count books that I…
Elizabeth Strout’s new novel, My Name is Lucy Barton is set in the mid 1980s where Lucy, a writer, has spent weeks in a Manhattan hospital recovering from a mysterious persistent infection. Her husband struggling to cope running their home and looking after their two young daughters, as well as with his job, unable to visit regularly. She is well cared for, particularly by the rather sad but fatherly doctor, but finds herself increasingly diminished by the nebulous nature of her illness, and her isolation.
Then, one afternoon, she wakes to see her mother seated on a chair at the end of her bed. It is completely unexpected. They have not seen each other for years, nor kept regular contact since her marriage. Her mother has never visited New York. Never been on a plane, nor even travelled in a taxi. But she has come and for five days she sets
It’s great to see short stories as a genre go from strength to strength with a stellar line up for the Sunday Times annual short story award. Among the longlist are Elizabeth Strout who won the Pulitzer Prize for the wonderful Olive Kitteridge, Marjorie Celona, whose debut novel Y, won several awards, and M J Hyland, who was shortlisted for the Man Booker. Previous winners of award, which carries a prize of £30,000, making it the world’s prize for a short story, include Junot Diaz, Hilary Mantel, Mark Haddon and CK Stead.
The shortlist will be announced on March 2, with the winner revealed in early April. All six shortlisted stories will be available on an ebook from March 2. The full line-up is listed below or go to thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/public/stefg. (artwork by Sturt Krygsman)