Saturday, 19 September 2009

Some thoughts on the Man Booker Prize shortlist

The shortlist for this year's prize is notable for its preoccupation with the past. Like Robert McCrum, I was particulerly disappointed that neither Colm Toibin (or William Trevor) made the shortlist. I thought Brooklyn was beautifully written, and I am sure it will feature on other prize lists later in the year. Wolf Hall remains a strong favourite, although not the most elusive of the shortlist for a collector. At the moment, that appears to be The Glass Room, although there are quite a few copies on EBay at present. Many of these are expensive and remain unsold; a few have been bought, for between £53 or £120. Unless The Glass Room wins (which seems unlikely), these prices will seem very expensive in a couple of months. An added compication this year is that both The Children's Book and The Little Stranger were issued in the normal hardback edition plus a 1000 copy signed and slipcased edition available via Waterstones. Whether to collect this or the standard copy is a difficult decision, and probably only time will tell which is best.

Byatt, AS - The Children's Book, Chatto and Windus
Coetzee, JM - Summertime, Harvill Secker
Foulds, Adam - The Quickening Maze, Jonathan Cape
Mantel, Hilary - Wolf Hall, Fourth Estate
Mawer, Simon - The Glass Room, Little Brown
Waters, Sarah - The Little Stranger, Little Brown

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