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Tymon Smith on the Sunday Times Fiction Prize Shortlist

So what’s the story behind the 2010 Sunday Times Fiction Prize shortlist? Sunday Times books editor Tymon Smith provides crib notes:

SummertimeHigh Low In-betweenSaracen at the GatesThe Book of the DeadSmall Moving Parts

SOME frustrating editing, irritating idiosyncrasies and repetitive ruminations on the part of the authors of the entries for this year’s Fiction Prize couldn’t stop the judges from bringing a reassuring enthusiasm to their difficult task. Lively debates were engaged on all entries, each receiving a considered and equal opportunity to make it to the final five as the judges made their passion for local fiction evident. The five titles most reflect the spirit and criteria of the 10th edition of the prize.

JM Coetzee continued to demonstrate his mastery of craft and careful control with the third instalment of his boundary-pushing fictional memoirs in which a young biographer tries to uncover the story of his subject, the recently deceased writer John Coetzee, through the memories of those who knew him and the author’s own diaries from 1972-1977.

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