I must confess that Room, by Emma Donoghue, is the only one of the short-listed books that I have read, following a warmly appreciative review of it that I heard on Radio 4 a few weeks ago. This is its publisher's description:
"It's Jack's birthday, and he's excited about turning five. Jack lives with his Ma in Room, which has a locked door and a skylight, and measures 11 feet by 11 feet. He loves watching TV, and the cartoon characters he calls friends, but he knows that nothing he sees on screen is truly real - only him, Ma and the things in Room."
I do not want to give away anything much about this book, because I would not like to take away from you the joy of discovering its many treasures for yourself. Let me tell you that it is extremely difficult for me to read a book these days, as I am in severe and constant pain and have little energy and find it difficult to concentrate: so for me to lose myself in Room and read it in a mere two or three days, entranced by that bright five-year-old child and by the small, wonderful world his inventive, courageous mother created for him, says much for the imaginative pen of Emma Donoghue. If you read this beautifully written book, I think you will find yourself in tears much of the time, but that they are the tears that lift the heart.