The shock here on the shortening of the Montana Fiction shortlist to four instead of five is nothing it seems to the shock reaction to the Irish-based Frank O'Connor Award dispensing with a shortlist altogether this year (see previous post). Including this blogger on The Guardian website whose post is headed Give Us Back Our Shortlists.
His reasons are much the same as the reaction on this side of the world to the Montana Award pruning. He says, 'prizes like this exist not simply to reward individual writers but to raise consciousness, and therefore sales.'
NZ writer Tim Jones whose collection of stories Transported was long-listed has the same point to make, although he accepts that it's the judges' call in the end.
A fantastic review of Lahiri's collection Unaccustomed Earth in the New York Times. Here's a taste: 'Lahiri handles her characters without leaving any fingerprints. She allows them to grow as if unguided, as if she were accompanying them rather than training them through the espalier of her narration.'
Give that reviewer a prize forthwith! No shortlist, just a prize. And I must get my hands on Lahiri's collection.