Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Children's Book's longlisting is good news

My two weeks on maternity leave before Harriet was born were spent so unbelievably well, perpetual sunshine and copious ice cream. Lots of reading and writing too. She was scheduled to be born on a Tuesday, and the Friday before AS Byatt's The Children's Book arrived in the mail. At more than 600 pages, the book was a rather daunting prospect for the final weekend of my wonderful, self-indulgent baby-free life. But I also knew that if I didn't get the book read then, it would sit unread for months and months. (I didn't know much then, but I knew enough to know that was true). And so into the book I plunged, 200 pages a day (in addition to all the other things that had to get done that weekend). It was such a brilliant way to read the book, to become so steeped inside it, and I enjoyed the experience thoroughly. And it stayed on my mind during those first few weeks of Harriet's life, when my mind was tied up on knots for various reasons, and the book is the one thing from that whole time that I remember vividly.

All of which is to say that I'm glad it's on the Booker Prize long-list, and I'll be happy if it wins.

Read my review of The Children's Book.