The Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

The Man Booker Prize 2017 longlist was announced today. The 13 books are:

4321 by Paul Auster

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

Elmet by Fiona Mozley

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

Autumn by Ali Smith

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

I am shocked by how accurate my predictions were this year as I picked out six of the books above, four of which I have already read (my reviews are linked above) along with ‘Solar Bones’ and ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’. I’m particularly happy to see both Ali Smith and Zadie Smith on there although my two favourite debut novels by Sally Rooney and Nathan Hill are sadly not. This means that this year’s longlist definitely leans more towards established authors, most of whom have already won major prizes, and I doubt my predictions will ever be so close to the actual longlist ever again! I am, however, continuing a tradition of accidentally including an ineligible title in my predictions list – ‘The Lesser Bohemians’ was published in September last year, not October as I thought, and was therefore eligible last year instead – so apologies for any confusion there.

The only longlisted book I hadn’t heard of at all is ‘Elmet’ by Fiona Mozley – her debut novel is described as “a lyrical commentary on contemporary society and one family’s precarious place in it”. I also didn’t know much about ‘History of Wolves’ by Emily Fridlund which is set in a commune in the Midwest. ‘Home Fire’ by Kamila Shamsie is due to be published in the UK in September but I imagine that will now be brought forward as soon as possible. Elsewhere, I have heard lots of recommendations for ‘The Underground Railroad’ which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction earlier this year as well as ‘Reservoir 13’ about a girl who goes missing in the Peak District. I’m also intrigued by ‘4 3 2 1’ by Paul Auster – a true doorstopper of a novel which I might save for a lazy holiday.

A shortlist of six books will be announced on Wednesday 13th September. What do you think of this year’s longlist? Have you read any of the nominated books?


Filed under Books

30 responses to “The Man Booker Prize 2017 Longlist

  1. I’m relieved to see Reservoir 13 on the list but, like you, it seems to me to tend towards the tried and tested author with the odd exception.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I thought there would be at least two or three unknown or surprise books on there other than Elmet. It contrasts a lot with the Man Booker International Prize longlist – those books were a lot more difficult for our shadow panel to source!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elliot Hyland

    You did very well, professor Trelawney 🙂 Beside Swing Time, I’d love to read Reservoir 13. Sounds really interesting. As always there are also a few books I don’t care about, but overall: wonderful longlist.


  3. I was stunned by how many established authors and well known books were selected. I predicted 5, one of our other shadow panel members predicted 8. I’ve read 5 and like you the only one I hadn’t heard of is Elmer. Loved Lincoln in the Bardo, 4321, and exit West. Did not love Ministry of Utmost Happiness or Underground Railroad (I liked this one but think it is overhyped). I’m excited to read the others especially Reservoir 13.


  4. Well done on your predictions. I’ve read Reservoir 13 and Days WIthout End. I have Lincoln in the Bardo waiting on my Kindle and I have a feeling that may make the shortlist so I must make time to read it.


  5. Well done on your predictions! You did well and sorry not to see your favourites on the list, that would have been great. Familiar names mostly but good reviews of many of them already, so it’ll be interesting to see what makes it through. I’ve only read one Exit West and I wasn’t particularly enamured by it, but I’m going to read the Zadie Smith next and would like to read a few others as well if I can get hold of them.


  6. Haven’t read any, but I guess Exit West and The Underground Railroad will make it to the finalists.


  7. Well done for predicting so accurately! I’ve read five of the books – Swing Time, Autumn, Reservoir 13, The Underground Railroad and Days Without End. I’m also really happy to see Swing Time shortlisted, and The Underground Railroad and Days Without End definitely deserve their slots as well. I’m afraid I didn’t rate Reservoir 13 at all.

    Almost all the rest sound intriguing, but I’m particularly keen to read Lincoln in the Bardo, Elmet and Solar Bones.


  8. Yes, well done. Not a very adventurous list, I think. But I am off to collect the ones that are already published and will start reading/blogging at once…Sebastian Barry is the only one I have read so it will be a tall order to read them all before the shortlist comes out.


    • I agree, I’m surprised by the number of established names on there. I look forward to hearing your views!


      • Begun the list, Barry I had already posted on. Have now read the George Saunders, loved it; the Ali Smith, muddled and rather weak; the Mohsin Hamid, a definite for the shortlist, loved it and I am now halfway through The Underground Railroad – compellingly hideous narrative, but un-put-downable. I have shingles at the moment and am not up to much which helps the reading pile…I have posted 3 Man Booker Longlist items


      • Glad to hear you are making good progress and get well soon! I personally preferred Smith to Saunders…


  9. Annabel (gaskella)

    I’ve only read one of them – 4321 but I adored it (but I am a long-term Auster uber-fan). Well done on your predictions though. I’m most keen to read Solar Bones – heard a lot about that one. Many of the others seem safe choices.


  10. I’ve read six from the longlist and of those would most want to see Barry or Saunders win. The Fridlund is also very good, though; I can recommend it. (I reviewed it for the TLS.) Like you, I’d never heard of Elmet and I’m intrigued.


  11. So far, I’ve only read Underground Railroad but if you ask me again in 2 weeks, I hope I’ll have read a few others. Next on my TBR is Exit West and then I am going to try for Lincoln in the Bardo or Ministry of Utmost…


  12. I’m a big fan of Zadie Smith and thought Swing Time was a great read with an interesting perspective. I haven’t read any of the others (yet) but Mike McCormack was my creative writing teacher at university and from my experiences with him I know he’s an incredibly clever guy with an immense talent for writing who’s encouraged me a lot. I’ve just started a blog about books and such over at if any of guys want to check it out. 🙂 Big fan of your blog btw.


  13. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    I have read only Swing time from the list and Roy’s book is on my TBR list. Others are all new to me. I should attempt to read them all, maybe.

    Gayathri @ Musings Over Nothing


  14. I am dying to know what everyone made of Solar Bones!


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