Monday, 5 August 2013

Man Booker Prize 2013: An Introduction

Regular readers of my blog will recall that this time last year I set myself the challenge of reading all the novels longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, reviewing them, and having a guess at who might be shortlisted and who might win.  The challenge was such a blast, I'm doing it again this year.

If you've read any of the press surrounding this year's prize, you'll know that it is quite a diverse and thrilling line-up.  It's hard to pick an over-riding theme to the choices.  We've a thriller, a romance, historical novels, contemporary-set novels, from a mere 100 pages to a 1,000.  Good lucking picking a winner from this lot, I say.

So who are the runners and riders.  Well, this is who:

  • Tash Aw - Five Star Billionaire
  • NoViolet Bulawayo - We Need New Names
  • Eleanor Catton - The Luminaries
  • Jim Crace - Harvest
  • Eve Harris - The Marrying of Chain Kaufman
  • Richard House - The Kills
  • Jhumpa Lahiri - The Lowland
  • Alison MacLeod - Unexploded
  • Colum McCann - Transatlantic
  • Charlotte Mendelson - Almost English
  • Ruth Ozeki - A Tale for the Time Being
  • Donal Ryan - The Spinning Heart
  • Colm Toibin - The Testament of Mary
There are some familiar novels to previous Booker long and shortlists : Jim Crace and Colm Toibin.  There are some debutant novelists too: NoViolet Bulawayo, Eve Harris and Donal Ryan.  One of the books isn't even complete as a book: Richard House's The Kills has accompanying films on his website.

This year I'd read one of the novels before the longlist was announced: Donal Ryan's The Spinning Heart, and I'd already felt it to be one of the strongest debuts I'd read in some time, so I'm glad to see it getting a nod.  Tash Aw, Colm Toibin and Eleanor Catton I've read before too, and are all excellent novelists.  I'm excited to be discovering these other, exciting voices. 

Over the next few weeks, leading up to the revealing of the shortlist on the 10 September, I shall endeavour to read and review each of these novels.  Join me if you like - I can guarantee it won't be a summer wasted.

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