The Man Booker Prize 2017 longlist was announced today. The 13 books are:
4321 by Paul Auster
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
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie
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?