The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

Stop! Baileys Time

Or collaborate and listen, Alice is back with her brand new invention.
Spoiler alert, it’s neither new nor my invention.

I’ve been inundating you with Brighton Festival posts, and as much as I would like to fit my recaps into May, I know that reading about one topic can be tiresome. To wit, I have decided to take a late jump on to the Baileys Women’s Prize shortlist readathon wagon and tell you about my mission to read all six before the 3rd June.

I’m currently mid-way through The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters (I didn’t realise until reading that she is the author of Fingersmith, a novel I loved) and at the beginnings of How To Be Both by Ali Smith. How To Be Both is taking a while to get into, as all I only had small snippets of time in which to read it, I’m looking forward to revisiting it after The Paying Guests.

I should, and planned to, have read The Bees by now as I wanted to try to partake in the Shiny New Books book club. But it’s still sat on my shelf waiting to be read, sorry book club!

And after listening to Kamila Shamsie talk about her novel, A God In Every Stone, at this year’s Brighton Festival, I can’t wait to begin it. It will be interesting to see my hometown through the eyes of an Indian soldier in the early 1900s.

Which of the shortlist have you read so far? Do you plan on reading any?

6 thoughts on “Stop! Baileys Time

  1. I’ve read A God in Every Stone and The Paying Guests and thought they were both really excellent. A God in Every Stone took a turn for the dark in the latter half, but I guess I should have expected that, because the scars of colonialism are real.


    1. I’ve read both those now, and I felt fairly underwhelmed by them. Not due to anything bad, just a lack of connection between me and them. I enjoyed A Spool of Blue Thread. Still yet to read Outline, How To Be Both and The Bees.


  2. What a great intro to this post! Loved it.
    I’ve read – and really liked – The Paying Guests. But I have found that this prize does bring up duds… look at the list of past shortlisted writers and it’s a who’s who of non-entities!


    1. Thanks very much!

      I liked, but didn’t love, The Paying Guests. Thus far I’m a little underwhelmed by the shortlist – nothing’s grabbed my attention.


  3. The only one I’ve read is How to be both, which I loved. I think it’s such an intriguing, playful novel full of ideas and connections between the two stories. How are you finding it now? Have you started with George’s or Francescho’s narrative? My copy began with George, and I wonder whether I might have struggled a little if I’d read the stories in the alternative order.


    1. I’ve still not got back to it, I think I’ll dedicate Saturday to reading the rest. Mine starts with Francescho’s narrative, and I’m wondering if I would have been more interested the other way around. But, as I’ve not reached George yet, I probably shouldn’t assume.

      I hope I enjoy it as much as you did.


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