It’s here! The ultimate book prize, The Man Booker Prize has just announced its longlist for the coveted 2017 prize.
Here is the longlist (with links to book reviews):
- 4,3,2,1 by Paul Auster
- Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
- History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
- Exit West by Moshin 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
An impressive shortlist – once again the Man Booker dozen is now the Man Booker 13!
No surprise to see Zadie’s Smith’s Swing Time, Ali Smith’s Autumn and Paul Auster’s epic 4,3,2,1 however, why has Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi been overlooked again? Both the Man Booker and the Women’s Prize for Fiction (formerly Bailey’s Prize) have passed this novel by – a huge disappointment.
Exit West over The Refugees by Viet Thanh Nguyen? Really? Man Booker, I appreciate the fact that you are highlighting books describing the plight of refugees but, in my opinion, you’ve chosen the wrong book.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of Autumn or 4,3,2,1 – I felt that the books received a significant amount of underserved hype. For example, Autumn was hailed as the first post-Brexit novel but the references to Brexit were tenuous and weak. If this is the reason why it has made the longlist that is disappointing.
Auster’s 4,3,2,1 was a good story…for the first 400 pages. If you have the patience to wade your way through the rest of the 600 pages you would be forgiven for thinking the effort is not worth the reward. Whilst cleverly written (it follows a life of a man through 4 different paths of life) it lacked real skill in story telling. It became far too cumbersome as opposed to a pleasure to read.
Costa winner Days Without End by Sebastian Barry is a fantastic modern day Of Mice and Men – a well deserved longlisted book.
To round up…any one else surprised the new Rushdie hasn’t been longlisted? The Bookers love a good Rushdie…perhaps next year!
So, those are my initial thoughts on the longlist. I would love to read / hear yours?
Now, to read the rest!