This year’s Man Booker Prize longlist was announced today. The thirteen titles are:Joshua Ferris – To Rise Again at a Decent Hour Richard Flanagan – The Narrow Road to the Deep North Karen Joy Fowler – We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Siri Hustvedt – The Blazing World Howard Jacobson – J Paul Kingsnorth – The Wake David Mitchell – The Bone Clocks Neel Mukherjee – The Lives of Others David Nicholls – Us Joseph O’Neill – The Dog Richard Powers – Orfeo Ali Smith – How To Be Both Niall Williams – History of the Rain
In previous years, the Prize was only open to authors from Commonwealth countries, Ireland or Zimbabwe. Last year, it was announced that authors from anywhere in the world writing in the English language would be eligible. Many predicted that the Prize would be dominated by American authors which was the case earlier this year when the inaugural Folio Prize shortlist was announced. This year, 44 out of the 154 books which were submitted and 5 out of the 13 books longlisted books were written by authors who wouldn’t have been eligible in previous years which is a fairly significant number. There is still a strong presence of British authors but fewer from other countries.
So far, I have read a grand total of 0 books on this year’s longlist but I intend to read ‘Us’ by David Nicholls (author of ‘One Day’ and ‘Starter for Ten’) which hasn’t been published yet and ‘The Lives of Others’ by Neel Mukherjee. I am undecided about ‘The Bone Clocks’ by David Mitchell having failed to finish ‘Cloud Atlas’ last year although I have read a couple of very positive early reviews. Similarly, I didn’t really get on with ‘The Finkler Question‘ by Howard Jacobson which won the Prize in 2010 and so I also have some reservations about ‘J’.
Paul Kingsnorth is the only debut author this year and his novel ‘The Wake’ is the first ever crowdfunded book to appear on the Booker Prize list. However, ‘The Goldfinch’ by Donna Tartt didn’t make an appearance on the list and neither did ‘A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing’ by Eimear McBride which has already won the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Desmond Elliot Prize and the Goldsmiths Prize. Once again, the judges haven’t selected the predicted favourites, but then it wouldn’t be the Booker Prize if the longlist was unsurprising.
What do you think of this year’s longlist? Have you read any of the novels?