The longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2016 was announced today. The thirteen books are:
For the first time ever, I have read not just one but two titles on the Man Booker Prize longlist at the time of it being announced which has never happened before. I particularly enjoyed Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh which is definitely among the creepiest books I have read this year and one of four debut novels on the longlist. As I said in my list of Man Booker Prize predictions, possibilities and preferences on Sunday, I wasn’t quite as taken with ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’ as many others but I might look into some of Strout’s other books at some point.
Like many others, I had particularly high hopes for The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and ‘The Tidal Zone’ by Sarah Moss but unfortunately both of these titles either missed out or were not submitted for entry. The Noise of Time by Julian Barnes and Ian McEwan’s forthcoming ‘Nutshell’ are other notable absentees. However, as well as ‘Eileen’ and ‘My Name is Lucy Barton’, I also picked out ‘Do Not Say We Have Nothing’ by Madeleine Thien as a potential longlisted book in my predictions list and I am looking forward to reading it over the summer. I must also confess that I didn’t realise until today that ‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen was actually eligible last year – for some reason, I thought it had been published in November in the UK rather than September last year so apologies if I misled anyone with that!
Although guessing which books will appear on the longlist can be fun, I also enjoy discovering novels which are completely new to me when the announcement is made. Books by small independent presses on this year’s longlist include ‘The Many’ by Wyl Menmuir published by Salt and set in a remote Cornish fishing village while ‘His Bloody Project’ by Graeme Macrae Burnet published by Contraband is a historical crime thriller which I’m particularly interested in hearing more about. Just two of the authors have previously been longlisted for the Man Booker Prize – J. M. Coetzee has won it twice for ‘Life & Times of Michael K’ in 1983 and ‘Disgrace’ in 1999 while Deborah Levy was shortlisted for ‘Swimming Home’ in 2012.
Elsewhere, I will also be keeping an eye on The Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize which produces an alternative shortlist to the official prize. Last year’s worthy winner was Fishnet by Kirstin Innes and I hope I will make further discoveries this year.
What do you think of this year’s Man Booker Prize longlist? Have you read any of the thirteen novels and which ones would you recommend?