Every year throws up some dead certs and some surprizes, veteran and debut authors, and now the prize is open to all books written in English worldwide, I feel the Man Booker Prize longlist is increasingly difficult to pin down. I went to the Man Booker website to see who is judging this year:
Baroness Young has a long history of being involved in cultural affairs including African writing; I’d never heard of Lila Azam Zanganeh – but she is of Iranian descent, lived in Paris, lectures at Harvard – a polyglot; Sarah Hall is a superb author and no stranger to experimental fiction; Tom Phillips, who again I’m unfamiliar with, is an artist who has made a collage out of a Victorian novel; Colin Thubron is the famous travel writer and novelist. First impressions suggest that as a very varied bunch, they are likely to pick some interesting books!
There are a handful of books that I’ve read, that are eligible and I think could be longlisted, (I’m not going to suggest any I’ve not read). They are:
- The Fatal Tree by Jake Arnott (reviewed here). This year’s Golden Hill, Arnott’s latest is a historical romp, rich in detail and argot.
- English Animals by Laura Kaye (reviewed here). As a debut, this quirky outsider’s view of Little England might just make the longlist.
- The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (reviewed here). Is there room for an enchanting fairy tale? I keep hoping – a real longshot though.
- White Tears by Hari Kunzru (reviewed here). Although a novel of two dissonant halves, it might be Kunzru’s turn this year.
- A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (reviewed here). This novel just oozes charm – loved it.
- The Lie of the Land by Amanda Craig (reviewed here). More funny novels should get nominated. This one also has heart.
- Tin Man by Sarah Winman (not reviewed yet). Simple and lovely. Made me cry.
What do you think?