Thursday, 31 July 2008

The Man Booker Longlist

The longlist for this year’s Mann Booker prize was announced this week. The list of thirteen books is somewhat shorter than in recent years, and includes five first novels and (unusually) a thriller. I was very pleased to see three of my recent “Books of the Week” on the list – The White Tiger (Araving Adiga), The Secret Scripture (Sebastian Barry) and Netherland (Joseph O’Neill). I have also read (and bought) Sea of Poppies, The Northern Clemency and Child 44 this year, so all in all I have done quite well in identifying the candidates.

The book that surprised me most on the list was Child 44, which I think is a very well written and enjoyable thriller, but an unusual Booker choice. It was readily available signed at publication price when released, but quickly went into reprints and is now quite difficult to obtain. In previous years, prices of Booker novels tend to rise significantly at the short listing stage, only to fall back again in the few months after the winner in announced. Now is a reasonable time to buy if you are confident you can spot the books which will be shortlisted.

The longlist in full

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Atlantic)
Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold (Tindal Street Press)
The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Faber and Faber)
From A to X by John Berger (Verso)
The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser (Chatto & Windus)
Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (John Murray)
The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (Virago)
The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher (Fourth Estate)
Netherland by Joseph O'Neill (Fourth Estate)
The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape)
Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster)
A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Hamish Hamilton)

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