the shortlist

Nancy Huston Fault Lines

Sol is a highly gifted but also scarily un-childlike six-year-old whose adoring mother believes is destined for greatness. He bears the same birthmark as his father, grandmother and great-grandfather before him. When Sol and his family make an unexpected trip to Germany, terrible secrets start to emerge.

Narrated by children from four generations of the same family, Fault Lines traces their history back through the years, from California to New York, from Haifa to Toronto and Munich. As dormant family secrets are awakened, shock waves reverberate from a hidden past into a fragile present.

About Nancy Huston

was born in Calgary, Canada in 1953 and studied in New England and New York. When she was twenty she went to Paris and decided to make it her home. Writing in both French and English, she translated her own work herself and is the author of numerous works of fiction and non-fiction, as well as a play, children’s books and screenplays. Fault Lines is her eleventh novel

Sadie Jones The Outcast

1957 and Lewis Aldridge is traveling back to his home in the South of England. He is straight out of jail and nineteen years old. His return will trigger the implosion not just of his family, but of a whole community.

A decade earlier, his father’s homecoming takes a different shape. The war is over and Gilbert has recently been demobbed. He reverts easily to suburban life – cocktails at six-thirty, church on Sundays – but his wife and young on resist the stuffy routine. Lewis and his mother escape to the woods for picnics, just as they did in the wartime days. Nobody is surprised that Gilbert’s wife counters convention, but they are all shocked when, after one of their jaunts, Lewis comes back without her.

Not far away, Kit Carmichael keeps watch. She has always understood more than most, not least from what she has been dealt by her own father’s hand. Lewis’s grief and private rage are all too plain, and Kit makes a private vow to help. But in her attempts to set them both free, she fails to predict the painful and horrifying secrets that must first be forced into the open.

About Sadie Jones

She lives in London. The Outcast is her first novel.

Charlotte Mendelson When We Were Bad

Claudia Rubin is in her heyday. Wife, mother, rabbi and sometime moral voice of the nation, it is she whom everyone wants to be with at her older son’s glorious February wedding. Until Leo becomes a bolter and the heyday of the Rubin family begins to unravel…

His calm, married, more mature sister, Frances, tries to hold the centre together, but the stresses, for Frances, force her to re-examine her own middle way and lead to a decision as shocking in its way as Leo’s has been.

Meanwhile, Claudia’s husband Norman has, uncharacteristically, a secret to hide – a secret whose imminent unveiling he can do nothing about…

About Charlotte Mendelson

She was born in 1972 and grew up in Oxford. This is her third novel. Her second, Daughters of Jerusalem, won the Somerset Maugham Award and the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and she was shortlisted for the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year award. Charlotte lives in London with her family.

Heather O’Neill Lullabies for Little Criminals

Baby is twelve. Her mother dies soon after she was born, so she lives with her father – and his heroin addiction.

She’s grown up in Montreal’s red-light district, never staying anywhere long enough to call it home and now she’s losing the only constant in her life: her father. He’s been sent to hospital and she’s been forced into foster care. She longs for his return; other people’s families are no substitute for her own. Starved of affection, Baby is attracted to all the wrong people, and when her father betrays her and she is sent to a juvenile detention centre, she is more at risk than ever.

About Heather O’Neill

was born in Montreal and moved to Virginia when her parents separated. She writes for The New York Times Magazine and the radio show, This American Life. She lives in Montreal with her partner and daughter. Lullabies for Little Criminals is her first novel.

Rose Tremain The Road Home

Like so many others, Lev is on his way from Eastern Europe to Britain, seeking work. He is a tiny part of a vast diaspora that is changing British society. But Lev is also a singular man with a vivid outsider’s vision of the place we call home.

Lev begins with no job, little money and few words of English. He has only his memories, his hopes and a certain alarming skill with the preparation of food. Behind him loom the figures of his dead wife, his beloved daughter and his outrageous friend Rudi who – dreaming of the wealthy West – lives largely for his battered Chevrolet.

In front of Lev lies the deep strangeness of the British: their hostile streets, clannish pubs, lonely flats and their obsession with celebrity. London holds out the alluring possibilities of friendship, sex, money and a new career; but, more than this, of human understanding, a sense of belonging.

About Rose Tremain

writes novels, short stories and screenplays. She lives in Norfolk and London with the biographer Richard Holmes. Her books have been translated into numerous languages and have won many prizes, including the Whitbread Novel of the Year, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Prix Femina Etranger, the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Angel Literary Awards and the Sunday Express Book of the Year. Three of her novels are currently in development as films.

Patricia Wood Lottery

Perry’s IQ is only 76, but he’s not stupid. His grandmother taught him everything he needs to know to survive. She taught him to write things down so he won’t forget them. She taught him to play the lottery every week. And, most important, she taught him who to trust. When Gram dies, Perry is left orphaned and bereft at the age of thirty-one. Then he wins twelve million dollars with his weekly Washington State Lottery ticket and finds he has more family than he know what to do with…

About Patricia Wood

is a PhD student at the University of Hawaii, focusing on education, disability and diversity. Lottery is inspired by her work, as well as by a number of events in her life, including her father winning the Washington State Lottery. She lives with her husband aboard a sailboat moored in Ko’Olina, Hawaii. This is her first novel. Patricia has one son, Andrew, who lives in Everett, where Lottery is set.