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Booker Prize for Fiction > 2018 Booker Longlist Discussion

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message 1: by Trevor (last edited Jul 23, 2018 10:08PM) (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
HERE IS THE 2018 MAN BOOKER PRIZE LONGLIST

- Snap , by Belinda Bauer (forum thread here)

- Everything Under , by Daisy Johnson (forum thread here)

- Washington Black: A Novel , by Esi Edugyan (forum thread here)

- From a Low and Quiet Sea , by Donal Ryan (forum thread here)

- In Our Mad and Furious City , by Guy Gunaratne (forum thread here)

- Warlight , by Michael Ondaatje (forum thread here)

- The Long Take , by Robin Robertson (forum thread here)

- The Overstory , by Richard Powers (forum thread here)

- Milkman , by Anna Burns (forum thread here)

- Normal People , by Sally Rooney (forum thread here)

- The Water Cure , by Sophie Mackintosh (forum thread here)

- Sabrina , by Nick Drnaso (forum thread here)

- The Mars Room , by Rachel Kushner (forum thread here)


message 2: by Doug (new)

Doug Once the list is 'officially' announced, could you set up a rankings thread also? Thanx!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments Snap has a front cover endorsement by one of the judges, a specialist in the same genre.

Is that normal for the Booker?


message 4: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments Thanks Trevor.

Well as discussed on the other thread:

- 5 books that were among those predicted (and Team Meike got all 5)
- 8 which I don't think anyone predicted at all
- diverse in format (crime novel, novel in part poetry, graphic novel) and voice
- but very Uk/Irish and North American centric
- disappointing to see small independent presses missing out again - particularly given the quality of some of the work (As a God Might Be, Murmur, Lucia for example).

Will be interesting if the judges havd found some real gems or this will be one of those years where one wonders if the longlist didn't ought to be selected by a larger panel (as the Folio tried to do, in reaction to the rather random 2011 Booker list).

I have only read the Overstory which I found stimulating bit very flawed (and disrespectful of actuaries).


message 5: by Neil (new)

Neil | 1886 comments An interesting, but, as others have said, rather narrow long list. I've read 3 (The Overstory, The Water Cure and The Mars Room), of which one is one of my favourite books of the year and two are two of my least favourite.

In Our Mad And Furious City sounds interesting. I've seen the two films referenced in the blurb and expect it to be fairly gritty.

I've read two other Donal Ryan books and I'm not a great fan. Yet. I'll keep an open mind.

There are seven novels here that I hadn't heard of until this list was leaked. That can be a good thing or a bad thing. As Gumble's Yard said elsewhere, if it is about the "best book" of 2018, you sort of expect there to not be many surprises. But often, the surprises are good things.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments I have read only two - Waterlight which was great although as Meike said in a year when the judges have gone off piste it seems the least necessary well known book to pick given the Golden booker award.

Also the Donal Ryan. It is I understand different from his other books but I was underwhelmed.

I must admit to being unjustifiably prejudiced against graphic novels but had heard lots about Sabrina so will be interesting to read (or is that flick through - sorry told you I was prejudiced ...)


message 7: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3166 comments Mod
The one that most intrigues me is the Robin Robertson. Is this the Scottish poet? I can't work it out from the author page here, which contains some very incongruous looking books....


message 8: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Sally Rooney’s Normal People excites me. Rooney is an accomplished broadcaster and publicist and flies the flag for sassy female writer/ observers of life which is vacant this year after the non selection of several fancied chronicles of the genre.
Conversations with Friends was a great debut last year, I thought.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments @hugh - yes it is the poet and the book is part poetry
@jonathan - I felt Rooney’s debut was overhyped. I think Anna Burns may be also joining the list of writers to which you refer


message 10: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1660 comments I also read 3 ( The Overstory, Warlight, and The Mars Room) 2 of those I would probably shortlist. One was a big disappointment.
Aside from Gunaratne and Ryan, i'll read Edugyan and the Robin Robertson might be interesting.


message 11: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1660 comments Is it my imagination or is this list more genre leaning than usual?


message 12: by Tom (new)

Tom | 195 comments Neil wrote: "An interesting, but, as others have said, rather narrow long list. I've read 3 (The Overstory, The Water Cure and The Mars Room), of which one is one of my favourite books of the year and two are t..."

Which is favorite?


message 13: by Neil (new)

Neil | 1886 comments I love everything Richard Powers has written.


message 14: by Doug (new)

Doug The Eligibility List last year was a great predictor of the longlist: all the nominees were listed, and 12 of the 13 were in the top 20.

THIS year, we didn't do so well - although 10 of the 13 were listed, most of them came in dismally far down the list (Sabrina, Normal People and The Long Take didn't make the list at all) :

Overstory 3
Warlight 6
Low & Quiet Sea 19
Mars Room 35
Mad City 38
Wash. Black 40 (& 112 - someone added another edition)
Water Cure 74
Everything 92
Snap 115
Milkman 116


message 15: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments The Long Take is also 64 pages long which is half the length of the shortest ever winner.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments I sense the connectedness of trees could be a theme this year

One book starts as follows

If a tree is starving, its neighbours will send it food. No one really knows how this can be, but it is. Nutrients will travel in the tunnel made of fungus from the roots of a healthy tree to its starving neighbour, even one of a different species. Trees live, like you and me, long lives, and they know things. They know the rule, the only one that’s real and must be kept …. Be Kind.


And it is not Overstory

As an aside should the latter not have been issued as a Kindle version only. Given its length and likely number of sales especially if shortlisted lots of trees will suffer.


message 17: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments Paul wrote: "The Long Take is also 64 pages long which is half the length of the shortest ever winner."

I think the number of pages on GR is incorrect, considering the ebook is 154 pages long (on my e-reader, anyway, and usually my ebooks always have "less pages" because of my e-reader's format).


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments I agree it’s a Goodreads error. The book is around 200 plus pages.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments I am still seeing Twitter speculation that this list is a spoof but I don’t think it is - does anyone know for sure.


message 20: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments Ah OK. Shame - was something else odd to highlight on the list! This one looks closer to poetry than a novel (unlike the prose poem on the MBI list this year where the poetry format seemed more of a gimmick).


message 21: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "I am still seeing Twitter speculation that this list is a spoof but I don’t think it is - does anyone know for sure."

My heart wants it to be a spoof. If the leaker was anyone other than the Guardian, I would have agreed, but I don't think it is. Why would they leak something that's not even true? And delete it the second they realised their mistake?


message 22: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments I doubt it is a spoof (unlike the LRB one also on Twitter) and the Guardian article now says "This article has been taken down as it breached an embargo. It will be relaunched on its correct date" not "fooled you."

That said wouldn't put it past the Booker to reconvene the judges to pick another list!


message 23: by Neil (new)

Neil | 1886 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "As an aside should the latter not have been issued as a Kindle version only. Given its length and likely number of sales especially if shortlisted lots of trees will suffer."

It's OK if it is printed on paper from sustainable forests. If that's the case, we should all buy paper copies to encourage more tree planting!


message 24: by Neil (last edited Jul 23, 2018 02:18PM) (new)

Neil | 1886 comments Maddie wrote: "Paul wrote: "The Long Take is also 64 pages long which is half the length of the shortest ever winner."

I think the number of pages on GR is incorrect, considering the ebook is 154 pages long (on ..."


Which e-reader do you use? I have a Kindle and the only page numbers on that are for books where the "real page number" facility is available. This marks the text so that the Kindle can display the actual page number in a printed book (to help users who are part of book clubs etc.) and the page number doesn't necessarily go up when you turn the page, depending on your font size etc.. There's no concept of pages in an ebook on the Kindle.


message 25: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments That's interesting Neil, and definitely a lot more helpful (I usually need to make an estimate of what page I'm actually on when I want to update my progress on Goodreads).

I use a regular tablet with the Android system (but since I only use it for reading, I consider it my "e-Reader") and the Google Play Books app to buy and store my books. The screen is almost as big as a hardback book and I always suspected that's why a 161 page book is only 80 pages long, for example (happened with The White Book by Han Kang).


message 26: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbara_63) | 59 comments Just to jump in, I am so surprised more people did not anticipate Normal People by Sally Rooney. She made such a big splash with Conversations with Friends (which I thought was decent) and based on reviews Normal People is much better, devoid of the flaws of her debut. Wonder if we might get an Eleanor Catton repeat in our hands, as she rather young.


message 27: by Neil (new)

Neil | 1886 comments It is useful if you are reading along with others and want to be able to tell each other where bits are. For general reading on your own, page number isn’t a lot of help! With paper books, probably more useful is comparing how thick the part in your left hand is compare with the part in your right hand. On the Kindle, the percentage read is the equivalent which is what I normally use.

What I never use is the “time left in book” feature as it is invariably wrong and misleading.


message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments At least based on her debut I wonder if people saw Rooney as a little lightweight for the Booker (more at the Costa end of the spectrum)? Just an impression, as I haven't read her and has meant to get round to this one at some point.


message 29: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Sally Rooney would appear to be a divisive author judging from some early response to her (anticipated) nomination. She has some detractors (not on this forum), but I’m in the expecting-to-be-impressed camp.


message 30: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments I have not read her debut yet (meant to when it first came out but ended up picking up other books instead and then it became "backlist") but from what I read, I 100% agree with you Paul. I thought she was more Costa than Booker. But I'm still looking forward to reading this second novel! (Since Normal People isn't out yet, I think I'll try her debut first).

Again, I think this longlist is a huge surprise and from all the eligible books, not the ones I would pick, but if I get that out of my mind I'm quite intrigued to read it! As I've mentioned, most of them were on my TBR already. I'm particularly interested in Milkman, The Water Cure and Everything Under. The Long Take was not on my radar but it's also one I'm looking forward to reading.

Like Gumble, I am not the biggest fan of graphic novels so I'm not sure I'll get around to Sabrina -- also the author seems to be way too hipster for my tastes.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments A literary journalist who was kind enough to “like” my alternate list of small press books has said the list is the same embargoed one she has seen.


message 32: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments All hope is lost. Sniff sniff.


message 33: by Jonathan (new)

Jonathan Pool Paul,
Just wanted to clarify one thing- when you say, a propos Rooney, more at the “Costa” end of the spectrum, would that be at the Jon McGregor end??


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 5413 comments Although she is a Guardian journalist - so it could still be a brilliant wind up either by or on the Guardian. It would be brilliant if it was even though I would be a victim.


message 35: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbara_63) | 59 comments Someone else (not related to the Guardian) confirmed it for me as well over on Twitter. Sigh.


message 36: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments Honestly, Jonathan, and I'm likely speaking against Paul here (as he seems to have enjoyed the about to be mentioned novel), but the Costa brand was forever tarnished to me when Eleanor Is Completely Fine won the debut category. Sorry!

Otherwise, let's hope that yes, it's the Jon McGregor end. :-)


message 37: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments Jonathan, as we know Reservoir 13 was, alongside How to be Both, that rare and unique work that transcended the spectrum. As for Eleanor O, the first half was a lot of fun but I would be horrified if it made a Booker list.


message 38: by Billy (new)

Billy  | 15 comments The Mars Room..barfed in my mouth a little. Such a waste of a book slot. I ordered Everything Under, didn’t know about it and definitely intrigued. Same with Long Take.


message 39: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 4882 comments I take some comfort in not being the only who hasn’t heard of most of these. Only a few were reviewed anywhere other than the Guardian and most of those were reviewed in the Irish Times.


message 40: by MisterHobgoblin (new)

MisterHobgoblin I had read one (Donal Ryan) and had another on TBR (Anna Burns). I had heard of a couple of others but most of this was an unexpected surprise. Really looking forward to this list apart from the Richard Powers.


message 41: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
This is now officially announced!


message 42: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
I just deleted the prefatory language in my first post, but, because I'd hate to forget what The Guardian did, here it is for posterity:

Earlier today, The Guardian broke the press embargo and published their article about the 2018 Man Booker Prize longlist. Naturally, the longlist was included for anyone to see! Because the information is out there, there is no reason for those who wish to talk about the list to avoid it. So, without further ado, here is the longlist! I will be creating threads for each of the individual books, but I will not post those until the list is "officially public."

For those who do not want to know, read no further! POTENTIAL SPOILERS!


message 43: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the times, there were many dystopian fictions on our bookshelf – and many novels we found inspirational as well as disturbing. Some of those we have chosen for this longlist feel urgent and topical, others might have been admired and enjoyed in any year. All of these books – which take in slavery, ecology, missing persons, inner-city violence, young love, prisons, trauma, race – capture something about a world on the brink. Among their many remarkable qualities is a willingness to take risks with form. And we were struck, overall, by their disruptive power: these novels disrupted the way we thought about things we knew about, and made us think about things we didn’t know about. Still, despite what they have in common, every one of these books is wildly distinctive. It’s been an exhilarating journey so far and we’re looking forward to reading them again. But now we’ll have thousands and thousands of people reading along with us"


message 44: by Lascosas (new)

Lascosas | 448 comments "thousands and thousands of people reading along with us"

How many people read the longlist? Certainly not more than a couple hundred worldwide.


message 45: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments Reading the entire longlist I doubt even that, but readong some of the books because they are on the Booker list thousands seems reasonable.

What struck me was the "all these books" comment. Not sure if it is really true but as written implies that to make the list the books subject matters and is relevance for a "world on the brink" was key. Which bothers me a bit.


message 46: by Maddie (last edited Jul 23, 2018 04:41PM) (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments I mean... I get it... it's completely understandable and laudable that an instituion such as the Booker wants to draw attention and awareness to contemporary issues. There's just two things about it: first, I doubt from all the books that were submitted, these are the ones that deal best with all that; and second, in the long run, if there's ever another "Golden Man Booker", for example, just how many of these books will continue to be relevant? Likely not many.


message 47: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 8772 comments I think there is a third thing but perhaps it relates to your second: should a book that e.g. pushes the boundaries of narrative form be disqualified from the list just because it doesn't tackle a key topic. That said I suspect this is more the judges coming up with an overarching theme after the event for a good soundbite.

Good Guardian write up here (separate to the leaked one that they have also reposted):
https://www.theguardian.com/books/201...


message 48: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments I really liked that article! In the end, I truly think this longlist breaks the boundaries, and that seems to be the thing the judges were trying to accomplish.

I especially like this line from the article:

"Daisy Johnson’s first novel, Everything Under, is enough to put the 27-year-old alongside , picked for Normal People, as the youngest authors on this year’s list. Johnson and Rooney are “looking at the world from the perspective of their age and their books have a very different flavour”, McDermid explained, “but they’re there because they impressed us”.


I think that's what I like about this longlist! There's a lot of fresh, new names that need the publicity and attention and, I hope, will deserve it, in the end. Despite the great quality of books published this year, I feared the longlist would be full of past winners or longlisted/shortlisted names and in that aspect, I'm glad it isn't. (Minus Ondaatje that I don't think would need to be attached to the prize yet again, but he's an amazing writer so I can't say I'm completely mad). I would trade Ondaatje for Winton and The Shepherd's Hut, as I think it also deals with the themes the judges were looking for.


message 49: by Sam (new)

Sam | 1660 comments "A willingness to take risks with form," seems to be of much consideration to these judges. I believe i will be attacking and defending this list depending on my mood.

First, let me give a thumbs up to the choice of Sabrina. If a graphic novel was to be included, at least they chose a well praised one from the respected Drawn and Quarterly. I will order it tonight.

On the other hand, i read a few line from "The Long Take," and cringed. Someone who reads this is going to have to sell me on it.


message 50: by Maddie (new)

Maddie (ashelfofonesown) | 113 comments Sam, how about you sell me on Sabrina and I will (possibly) (try to) sell you on The Long Take? (I have not read it but it's likely going to be the first one I pick up from the longlist).


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