The Blue Book

A. L. Kennedy

When ex-lovers meet on a cruise ship, secrets and lies emerge in this heartbreaking story by a modern master of the novel whom Richard Ford has called “a profound writer.”

From one of the U.K.’s most dazzling authors comes a brutal and funny novel about a pair of fraudulent psychic mediums that is itself an elaborate con game between fact and fiction, life and death.

Beth boards an ocean liner with Derek, her almost-fiancé, and encounters her past in the form of Arthur, a not-quite-ex lover. The sea voyage churns up fraught memories of the shady life she and Arthur led, acting as spiritual mediums to fleece the vulnerable. The Blue Book is a haunting meditation (per the Telegraph) about “how love is a private language, a set of codes, to which the outside world ought not admit impediment; about the rightness of doing wrong by false love when true love is waiting down the companionway.” Mysterious, virtuosic, and ultimately heartbreaking, The Blue Book is A. L. Kennedy at the height of her powers.

Explore the other winners

Winner announced - 9th September

Stay in the loop

Enter your email to be the first to know the latest news from the Women's Prize For Fiction

VOTE

Vote for your favourite #WomensPrize winner

Cast your vote for your favourite #ReadingWomen book and decide who will be our Winner of Winners in our 25th year.

Favourite book Live

  • A Spell of Winter
    4% 141 / 2.9k
  • Fugitive Pieces
    1% 51 / 2.9k
  • Larry's Party
    1% 40 / 2.9k
  • A Crime in the Neighborhood
    0% 23 / 2.9k
  • When I Lived in Modern Times
    0% 24 / 2.9k
  • The Idea of Perfection
    0% 16 / 2.9k
  • Bel Canto
    3% 113 / 2.9k
  • Property
    0% 13 / 2.9k
  • Small Island
    8% 255 / 2.9k
  • We Need to Talk About Kevin
    7% 211 / 2.9k
  • On Beauty
    3% 102 / 2.9k
  • Half of a Yellow Sun
    20% 586 / 2.9k
  • The Road Home
    2% 61 / 2.9k
  • Home
    2% 77 / 2.9k
  • The Lacuna
    2% 74 / 2.9k
  • The Tiger's Wife
    1% 39 / 2.9k
  • The Song of Achilles
    11% 348 / 2.9k
  • May We Be Forgiven
    1% 36 / 2.9k
  • A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing
    2% 76 / 2.9k
  • How to be Both
    4% 122 / 2.9k
  • The Glorious Heresies
    2% 65 / 2.9k
  • The Power
    5% 151 / 2.9k
  • Home Fire
    5% 174 / 2.9k
  • An American Marriage
    5% 167 / 2.9k
Win a set of our 2020 shortlist!

Sign up for the Women's Prize for Fiction newsletter and win a stack of this year's six shortlisted books.

(We will send you occasional emails full of author interviews, extracts and audio, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Please read our privacy policy for more information).