The improbability of being longlisted


[OOPS! Commenter Elle points out an egregious error in my post. The book wasn’t longlisted for the Booker as I thought, it was shortlisted for the Bailey’s Prize. ]

When I posted about the tower of 26 hardcover books I want to focus on from now until the end of the year, there was a bit of a Twitter war about one title. Okay, it was nowhere near a war, but it was a lively discussion about whether The Improbability of Love by Hannah Rothschild was terrible or kind of amusing. Having now plowed through said novel I am ready to pass judgement.

  1. I found it amusing.
  2. I love a story about art treasures found in junk shops. (See also Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads monologue The Hand of God.)
  3. I not only didn’t mind the fact that the painting talked, I actually kind of liked his perspective.
  4. This book in no way deserves to be longlisted for any literary prize let alone the Booker.[see my OOPS above]
  5. It’s all way too pat. It’s in the Potato Peel Pie, Marigold Hotel, Maisie Dobbs, Harold Fry, school of plotting. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it isn’t prize-worthy.
  6. It seems to have served as an “I know a lot about art history and want to show you” fiction delivery system.
  7. I saw one of the mysteries coming a mile away.
  8. Why do so many books/movies think that spurned women are going to cook their way to a new life? (I’m thinking of that Keri Russell pie making movie and a Julia Glass novel to name just two.)
  9. Worth a read, found it a page turner, but no great shakes.

6 thoughts on “The improbability of being longlisted

  1. Anthony September 7, 2016 / 8:49 pm

    Have you ever compiled a list of your favourite ten books of all time?


  2. Sly Wit September 8, 2016 / 1:43 am

    Agree with all of the above. Though I’d add that one of my biggest gripes is that there were too many characters. I was never lost or confused, but a few characters lines just didn’t go anywhere or came and went so quickly that I didn’t really see the point.


  3. BookerTalk September 8, 2016 / 3:41 am

    Anything that falls into the same bucket as Marigold Hotel, Gurnsey Potato Peel Society is going to be low down on my list of what to read.


  4. River City Reading September 8, 2016 / 7:21 am

    I fell into the terrible camp, but I can see why people found it enjoyable (I just couldn’t get past the voice of the painting, I didn’t particularly mind that it talked). I’m still BLOWN AWAY that it’s on the Booker list.


  5. Elle September 8, 2016 / 8:52 am

    It isn’t on the Booker list (thank gawd), it was shortlisted for the Baileys Prize (and didn’t win). Your breakdown of it is excellent, though – fun, fluffy, not a serious contender for owt.


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