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Rathbones Folio Prize 2018: the eight books shortlisted

Rathbones has revealed the shortlist for its Folio Prize, which rewards the best work of literature of the past year.

Rathbones has revealed the shortlist for its Folio Prize, which rewards the best work of literature of the past year.

Five novels and three works of non-fiction from the UK, Ireland, Pakistan, China and North America are in the running for the £20,000 prize.

Judges Kate Summerscale, Nikesh Shukla and Jim Crace said: ‘We were startled and delighted that so many valuable and rewarding books could be published in a single year. We read a fantastic array of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, and all 80 titles nominated by the Academy were genuine contenders

‘The eight books we’ve finally chosen are very different from one another, and they’re all wonderful. Overall, the experience has left us optimistic about the current good health and fine spirit of books in the English-writing and English-reading world.’

The final prize will be awarded on 8 May at a ceremony at the British Library in London. The shortlisted books were chosen from a list of 80 works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from works published in the UK in 2017.

Andrew Kidd, co-founder of the Rathbones Folio Prize, said: ‘In what was an especially strong year across all forms, Kate, Nikesh and Jim have arrived at an irresistible shortlist. It reflects the international range that is this prize’s DNA, while also confirming that British fiction and non-fiction is in great shape.’

Rathbones CEO Philip Howell added: ‘Our congratulations go to the eight shortlisted authors and we look forward to the announcement of a winner on 8 May.’

The Rathbones Folio Prize was launched in 2013.

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Rathbones has revealed the shortlist for its Folio Prize, which rewards the best work of literature of the past year.

Five novels and three works of non-fiction from the UK, Ireland, Pakistan, China and North America are in the running for the £20,000 prize.

Judges Kate Summerscale, Nikesh Shukla and Jim Crace said: ‘We were startled and delighted that so many valuable and rewarding books could be published in a single year. We read a fantastic array of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and prose, and all 80 titles nominated by the Academy were genuine contenders

‘The eight books we’ve finally chosen are very different from one another, and they’re all wonderful. Overall, the experience has left us optimistic about the current good health and fine spirit of books in the English-writing and English-reading world.’

The final prize will be awarded on 8 May at a ceremony at the British Library in London. The shortlisted books were chosen from a list of 80 works of fiction, non-fiction and poetry from works published in the UK in 2017.

Andrew Kidd, co-founder of the Rathbones Folio Prize, said: ‘In what was an especially strong year across all forms, Kate, Nikesh and Jim have arrived at an irresistible shortlist. It reflects the international range that is this prize’s DNA, while also confirming that British fiction and non-fiction is in great shape.’

Rathbones CEO Philip Howell added: ‘Our congratulations go to the eight shortlisted authors and we look forward to the announcement of a winner on 8 May.’

The Rathbones Folio Prize was launched in 2013.

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Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (4th Estate) 

(From inside flap) From the award-winning author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the Dogs. Reservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family's loss.

Midwinter in the early years of this century. A teenage girl on holiday has gone missing in the hills at the heart of England. The villagers are called up to join the search, fanning out across the moors as the police set up roadblocks and a crowd of news reporters descends on their usually quiet home.

Meanwhile, there is work that must still be done: cows milked, fences repaired, stone cut, pints poured, beds made, sermons written, a pantomime rehearsed.

The search for the missing girl goes on, but so does everyday life. As it must.

 

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Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)

(From inside flap) An extraordinary story of love and hope from the bestselling, Man Booker-shortlisted author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist

This is Nadia. She is fiercely independent with an excellent sense of humour and a love of smoking alone on her balcony late at night.

This is Saeed. He is sweet and shy and kind to strangers. He also has a balcony but he uses his for star-gazing.

This is their story: a love story, but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow. Saeed and Nadia are falling in love, and their city is falling apart. Here is a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.

Exit West is a heartfelt and radical act of hope - a novel to restore your faith in humanity and in the power of imagination

 

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The Day That Went Missing by Richard Beard (Harvill Secker)

In this novel Beard reflects on the nature of tragedy, childhood and memory, based on losing his brother in a swimming accident.

(Taken from publisher) 'On a family holiday in Cornwall in 1978, Richard and Nicholas are in the sea, jumping the waves. Suddenly and inexplicably Nicholas is out of his depth and then, shockingly, so is Richard. Only one of the brothers returns to the shore.

'Richard does not attend Nicholas’s funeral and afterwards the family return to Cornwall to continue the holiday. Soon they stop speaking of that day at the beach altogether. Years later, haunted by grief, Richard sets out to piece together the story. Who was Nicholas? What really happened that day? And why did the family never speak of it again?

 

 

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White Tears by Hari Kunzru (Hamish Hamilton)

(From inside flap) Carter and Seth are worlds apart - one a trust fund hipster, the other a penniless social misfit - but they make a great team. Brought together by a shared love of music, they're rising fast on the New York music scene. Everyone wants a piece of what they are selling.

Until the day Seth stumbles across an old blues song - and everything starts to unravel. Carter can't resist sharing the unknown song online where it goes viral immediately, spiralling out of control and carrying him in its wake. As Carter is pulled ever deeper into a shadowy underworld, Seth, always the sensible one, has no choice but to follow his friend into the darkness.

Electrifying, subversive and wildly original, White Tears is a ghost story and a love story, a story about the theft of black music and black lives. From the bestselling author of The Impressionist and Transmission, thisunmissable novel penetrates the heart of a nation's darkness, exposing a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge and exploitation.

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Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout (Viking)

(From inside flap) Anything Is Possible explores the whole range of human emotion through the intimate dramas of people struggling to understand themselves and others.

Here are two sisters: One trades self-respect for a wealthy husband while the other finds in the pages of a book a kindred spirit who changes her life. The janitor at the local school has his faith tested in an encounter with an isolated man he has come to help; a grown daughter longs for mother love even as she comes to accept her mother's happiness in a foreign country; and the adult Lucy Barton (the heroine of My Name Is Lucy Barton, the author's celebrated New York Times bestseller) returns to visit her siblings after seventeen years of absence.

Reverberating with the deep bonds of family, and the hope that comes with reconciliation, Anything Is Possible again underscores Elizabeth Strout's place as one of America's most respected and cherished authors. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title

 

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Once Upon A Time In The East by Xiaolu Guo (Chatto & Windus)

A memoir of growing up in modern China from the Orange-shortlisted and Granta Best Young British Novelist.

(Taken from Penguin) Xiaolu Guo meets her parents for the first time when she is almost seven. They are strangers to her.

When she is born in 1973, her parents hand her over to a childless peasant couple in the mountains. Aged two, and suffering from malnutrition on a diet of yam leaves, they leave Xiaolu with her illiterate grandparents in a fishing village on the East China Sea.

Once Upon a Time in the East takes Xiaolu from a run-down shack to film school in a rapidly changing Beijing, navigating the everyday peculiarity of modern China: censorship, underground art, Western boyfriends. In 2002 she leaves Beijing on a scholarship to study in Britain.

Now, after a decade in Europe, her tale of East to West resonates with the insight that can only come from someone who is both an outsider and at home.

 

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Ghosts of the Tsunami by Richard Lloyd Parry (Jonathan Cape)

The definitive book on the Japanese earthquake and tsunami of 2011, by the critically acclaimed author of The People Who Eat Darkness. This novel offers a compassionate look at the communities ravaged by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan in 2011.

(Taken from Penguin) On 11 March 2011, a massive earthquake sent a 120-foot-high tsunami smashing into the coast of north-east Japan. By the time the sea retreated, more than 18,500 people had been crushed, burned to death, or drowned.

It was Japan’s greatest single loss of life since the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. It set off a national crisis, and the meltdown of a nuclear power plant. And even after the immediate emergency had abated, the trauma of the disaster continued to express itself in bizarre and mysterious ways.

Richard Lloyd Parry, an award-winning foreign correspondent, lived through the earthquake in Tokyo, and spent six years reporting from the disaster zone. There he encountered stories of ghosts and hauntings.

He met a priest who performed exorcisms on people possessed by the spirits of the dead. And he found himself drawn back again and again to a village which had suffered the greatest loss of all, a community tormented by unbearable mysteries of its own

 

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Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney (Faber & Faber)

(Taken from Faber & Faber) Frances, Bobbi, Nick and Melissa ask each other endless questions. As their relationships unfold, in person and online, they discuss sex and friendship, art and literature, politics and gender, and, of course, one another. Twenty-one-year-old Frances is at the heart of it all, bringing us this tale of a complex ménage-à-quatre and her affair with Nick, an older married man.

You can read Conversations with Friends as a romantic comedy, or you can read it as a feminist text. You can read it as a book about infidelity, about the pleasures and difficulties of intimacy, or about how our minds think about our bodies. However you choose to read it, it is an unforgettable novel about the possibility of love

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