The Stella Prize shortlist was announced on International Women's Day. The six titles vying for the prize are:
Georgia Blain - Between a Wolf and a Dog
This novel takes place over the course of one day in Sydney. Esther is a family therapist who works to bring people together, while personally her own relationships are strained. The judges described the late Georgia Blain's final novel as "a triumph: finely structured, suspenseful and morally acute." I am not familiar with Blain's work but by all accounts she was a fine writer.
Maxine Beneba Clarke - The Hate Race
Catherine de Saint Phalle - Poum and Alexandre
I must admit, I have never heard of this book, nor its author. Catherine de Saint Phalle is a Melbourne based author and this is her first work of non-fiction. It is a memoir of her unmarried parents and their lives in Paris. The judges describe this as a "tender portrait of a lifelong partnership [that] deserves to be an instant classic of the biography genre."
Emily Maguire - An Isolated Incident
My review of Maguire's book is available on this blog.
Heather Rose - The Museum of Modern Love
This is the seventh novel of Tasmanian author Heather Rose. The judges describe this as "an ambitious novel that demonstrates the value of art as a catalyst for love, connection, and an apprehension of mystery." The novel ponders deep questions through characters attending a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sounds interesting, and I totally I love the cover of this book. Update June 2017: Read review.
Taylor wrote this book while she was dying from cancer. A life-affirming memoir about dying, novelist Taylor details why she wanted to choose the circumstances of her death. While I have no doubt this book is well written, I don't feel like I want to read this book. Having recently read Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking (2005), I know that books about death can be inspiring and uplifting, but I think I will pass on this at this time.
The winner revealed on 18 April 2017. The only one I have read is An Isolated Incident and I reckon it is pretty good. But I am keen to read some the others as well.