… the magnificent Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – most definitely one of my favourite books for the 14/15 award season period.* (Thanks to Jonathan Strahan for pointing this out to me on Facebook this morning).
Just to remind you, this was the shortlist (the links take you to my reviews):
- The Girl With All The Gifts – M.R. Carey (Orbit)
- The Book Of Strange New Things – Michel Faber (Canongate)
- Europe In Autumn – Dave Hutchinson (Solaris)
- Memory Of Water – Emmi Itäranta (Harper Voyager)
- The First Fifteen Lives Of Harry August – Claire North (Orbit)
- Station Eleven – Emily St John Mandel (Picador)
Obviously I’m very happy to see Station Eleven take home the Clarke. Yes, loving this book has caused a rift between myself and my co-host on the Writer and the Critic, Kirstyn McDermott. There’s also a number of other people whose tastes I respect but who also don’t share my adoration for this novel. I’m looking at you Niall Harrison and Cheryl Morgan. But that’s OK, people have been completely wrong about great art since the first cave painting and these “subjective” responses to Station Eleven are no different.
While I’ll cover this in a later post, now that I’ve read five out of the six novels on the shortlist I’ve got to applaud the Clarke judges for putting together a very good bunch of finalists. Unless Europe in Autumn turns out to be a complete dud there’s only one book on the list that I didn’t like – The Girl With All The Gifts.
Anyway, congratulations to Emily St. John Mandel for winning the award. If you haven’t read Station Eleven as yet, go on and check it out. And then you can join millions of others who’ve had to choose between Team Mond or Team McDermott!
* For me the new award season starts with the announcement of the Man Booker shortlist in September and ends with the publication of the World Fantasy Award shortlist in August of the following year. While genre awards consider the best novels of the previous year, two of the major awards, the Man Booker and the National Book Award – consider novels published in the year of the prize.** In other words, whereas this years genre awards will look at books published in 2014, the Man Booker and the National Book Award will judge books written in 2015.*** Because of these overlapping time periods, I’ve decided to use the Man Booker – the first major literary award in a given year – and the World Fantasy – the last major genre award in a given year – as my book ends.****
** Which is why the longlist or shortlist will include books that haven’t as yet been published.
*** Another example of how literary and genre don’t get along.
**** Yes, I’ve spent nights lying awake thinking about this.