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Booker Prize for Fiction > 2018 Booker Longlist: Snap

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message 1: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
Snap, by Belinda Bauer


Amanda (tnbooklover) | 98 comments For readers in the US that use Hoopla both the ebook and audio are available. I started the audio this morning. Narrator is fantastic.


message 3: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 280 comments Do those of you who tackle some or most of the longlist just read really fast, do you plan your reading so that when it's announced you can jump right in, or do you just drop everything else you're in the midst of reading and dive headfirst into Bookerishnish?!!

Just curious. It is impressive on many levels.


message 4: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
Hi Marc, would you mind posting that in the longlist discussion thread instead of the thread for Snap? I think more folks will see it there. Thanks!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6120 comments I think it is odd to have a genre book with a front cover blurb from one of the judges in the long list.

But I would like to read it first as that may just be a snap judgement.


message 6: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 280 comments Trevor wrote: "Hi Marc, would you mind posting that in the longlist discussion thread instead of the thread for Snap? I think more folks will see it there. Thanks!"

Done. Feel free to delete my post above or leave as you see fit, Trevor. Thanks!


message 7: by Meike (last edited Jul 25, 2018 12:05AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Meike (meikereads) I usually have low blood pressure, but after finishing this book last night, my blood pressure was way up - not because this mystery was particularly suspenseful though, but because I was furious!!

The world is going nuts and there are tons of relevant books with urgent narrative voices and interesting aesthetic concepts tackling all kinds of important issues, and this novel is what the Booker wants to highlight? No Winton or Flanagan, no entry from Asia, no entry from Africa and then boasting "hey, we are so edgy, we are now including crime fiction!" to present us - this?

It's not that the book is bad for what it is, but this should never have made the Booker longlist - this is just escapist entertainment.

Here's my review.


message 8: by Hugh (new) - added it

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3368 comments Mod
Thanks Meike - I suspect I won't bother with this one!


message 9: by Ang (last edited Jul 25, 2018 01:14AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Ang | 1685 comments When I saw this book in Waterstones last week with the Val McDermid quote on the front, I thought "Surely not". Well, surely not not. (These double negatives are coming in useful).

I read a bit of Blacklands by this author when it came out and gave up on it. I hope this is better, but I suspect it's not, given Meike's reaction!


message 10: by Roland (last edited Jul 25, 2018 01:34AM) (new)

Roland Freisitzer (rolandf) | 68 comments I got this on my Kindle last night (thought, while I wait for my copies of the other books to arrive, why not?) and am about half-way through by now (late-night-read and on the train to work).


I second Meike in all respects here. Writing is nowhere near to what I would expect from a Booker longlisted book (I mean, there should be a difference between the Golden Dagger Longlist - if there is one - and the Booker, right? And this is not elitist thinking). As a thriller (suspense/crime/psycho) it does what is expected from it, neat plot, suspense, easy dialogue and cleanly carved figures. But not more. There are so many books out there which would be worthy of being longlisted that this is really weird.

And saying all that, I would like to say that I do read these kind of books from time to time. On planes, on beaches, on holiday, in between other books, sometimes… like a bit of a guilty pleasure. I even remembered that I had read another one of her books last year on a night flight (which was very similar to this one, not by plot, but in style and making).


Meike (meikereads) Thank you, guys! I hope the other dark horses the judges picked will turn out to be better Booker material.


message 12: by Alysson (new)

Alysson Oliveira | 85 comments Thanks! I was considering reading this one - because of the list - but these comments made me see that this is exactly the kind of novel that I usually quit in the middle. Unless something happens, and it wins the prize, I'll skip this one. Thanks for helping me save money and energy.


message 13: by Stephen (new)

Stephen | 141 comments A lot of discussion surrounding this choice. 2 years ago I think it was, His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet was shortlisted for the Man Booker. I recall discussion regarding the question: 'was it a novel about a crime or a crime novel?'
Not sure whether the same discussion would fit this particular book.
From all I've read so far it is a crime novel.


Beverly | 4 comments Amanda wrote: "For readers in the US that use Hoopla both the ebook and audio are available. I started the audio this morning. Narrator is fantastic."

Yes, the narrator is very good.
I am about 1/2 through.


Amanda (tnbooklover) | 98 comments I just finished the audio. I thought this was a solid crime thriller. I enjoyed listening to it but it won’t be memorable. I gave it 4 stars for my personal enjoyment but I don’t see anything about this that qualifies it to be on the longlist. There is nothing new, innovative or timely about it.


message 16: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments This just jumped to the top of my TBR pile. I was in a queue at the library for a copy (because I don't want to spend my own money on it) but then the "fastback" copy was returned - these are books you can borrow on a "return in one week, no renewals allowed" basis. At only just over 300 pages, I can't see one week being a challenge, so I will read it next.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6120 comments Just picked up mine from the library and read the first chapter. Not seeing any undermining of tropes so far.


message 18: by Hugh (new) - added it

Hugh (bodachliath) | 3368 comments Mod
You are confirming my opinion that I have no interest in reading this one (unless it gets shortlisted...)


Robert | 2110 comments Saying that the book longlist usually has a curveball of sorts : Child 44, The Chimes, Snowfall


message 20: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
Child 44 and Snowfall are the two I thought of when Snap was longlisted as well, Robert. I didn't mind Child 44, but I really disliked Snowfall!


message 21: by Roland (new)

Roland Freisitzer (rolandf) | 68 comments Child 44 was a stroke of genius in comparison...


message 22: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
I do like a well-done crime novel. Ah, who am I kidding. I probably like many poorly done crime novels! I usually get sucked right in! I may check this one out.


message 23: by Roland (new)

Roland Freisitzer (rolandf) | 68 comments Trevor, I do too actually, and there are many real good ones out there. But somehow, it is not what I would expect here. Like an Operetta being shortlisted dir auch Symphony competition...


message 24: by Roland (new)

Roland Freisitzer (rolandf) | 68 comments (sorry for the missed autocorrect... dir auch should have been for a)


message 25: by Trevor (new)

Trevor (mookse) | 1842 comments Mod
Roland wrote: "Trevor, I do too actually, and there are many real good ones out there. But somehow, it is not what I would expect here. Like an Operetta being shortlisted dir auch Symphony competition..."

I definitely agree. It doesn't sit comfortably here. I do wonder just why, though. I can sense the difference but I really cannot articulate it.


Robert | 2110 comments Trevor wrote: "Child 44 and Snowfall are the two I thought of when Snap was longlisted as well, Robert. I didn't mind Child 44, but I really disliked Snowfall!"

Snowfall is on the TBR - but I didn't like Child 44 too much, which is a pity cause I thought Tom Robb Smith's The Farm was a gripping thriller.

I'm not picky when it comes to crime novels - I'm a fan of the Rowling/Galbraith ones! and I like Tana French. The best ones I've read are the Japanese ones though.


message 27: by Ang (new) - rated it 1 star

Ang | 1685 comments Do you guys mean Snowdrops?


message 28: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments I'm joining the list of those disappointed by this book's inclusion on the long list. I didn't even think it was that good as a crime novel.

In answer to Stephen's comments above, I would say this is very definitely a crime novel rather than a novel about crime. If it was a good crime novel, maybe it could be included on the Booker longlist. But it isn't, so I don't get it.


message 29: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments The acknowledgements at the end say “Catherine While paid cold hard cash for the right to appear as a character of my choosing in Snap.” A charity auction. I wonder if the real Catherine is happy with the book?


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6120 comments I suspect she is absolutely delighted - character in a best selling novel and then unexpectedly Booker longlisted. I would dine out on that for years.

One of my friends was via a charity auction the murder victim in Peter James Want You Dead and absolutely loved it.


message 31: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments I would be very excited if I could afford for it to happen to me! Especially if the book then got some major publicity.


message 32: by Lee (new)

Lee I'd had a look at a Belinda Bauer before and knew she wasn't great, but tried this one just now. Poor. And the last few reviews of it I've read on here all say the same thing. What I'm more interested in than anything else is, does Val McDermid think it's ok to throw this in, as though it's a judge privilege (maybe it is; maybe 'quality' can be overlooked if each judge has the right to select a title that is only later put to proper group scrutiny)?


message 33: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9673 comments To be fair one of my favourite awards the BTBA allows each judge one longlist pick completely of their choice (albeit out of 25 not 13). Fortunately that prize picks the sort of judges likely to use their choice wisely.


message 34: by WndyJW (new)

WndyJW | 5570 comments Snap is among a few reasons I will wait for the books this group thinks will make the Shortlist and read just those. I did order The Overstory because I’ve heard so many good things about it.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6120 comments Wendy. Unfortunately our collective ability to forecast the shortlist from the longlist is not much better than random picking. The issue is that books we don’t like are ones for which the judges have already shown their preference by long listing them.


message 36: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments The best 6 books to read are the ones that come out top here! Ignore the judges!


Claire  | 44 comments Read it, liked it as a summer read in the sun. Allready forgot it. Not even worth writing an extensive review

https://www.goodreads.com/review/edit...


message 38: by Lee (new)

Lee Paul: it establishes that McDermid is either shamelessly touting crime pap or doesn't know what a decent book is. Or both, of course.


message 39: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9673 comments I actually hope this was one judge's pick as then it won't make the shortlist. But if all the judges read this and genuinely thought it was longlist material then every chance it marches on. Paul's 1st rule of shortlist predictions - the judges are the same ones who longlisted the books so must not see any major faults that we do. (I see GY has quoted it unattributed above)

(The 2nd is that they will have read, re-read and even re-re-read the books which ought to add books that stand a re-reading. The 3rd that ultimately they are a small group of readers with rather random tastes so predicting is hard).


message 40: by Ang (new) - rated it 1 star

Ang | 1685 comments Beyond the obvious Child 44, others which come to mind that I didn't think should have been on a Booker list - The Testament of Jessie Lamb and Pigeon English. I thought these were YA novels.
The latter even made it to the shortlist.

So I'm not too worried about a crime novel on the list, even though it sounds like it's not a great one. I still want to think highly of Val McDermid, and I think there is a lot of greatness on the list elsewhere.


Jonathan Pool I’m planning to start Snap next, and do so with such low expectations that I expect, and hope, to be surprised on the upside.
On the subject of endorsement, I appreciate that praise by well known writers and/or journalists is important, and is accepted as necessary by all publishing houses.
I am very cautious not to read a ‘spoiler’ and I think it’s an art in its own right to produce enticing copy that doesn’t reveal too much, but that doesn’t resort to cliche.
In the case of Snap, it’s not the McDermid endorsement per se that concerns me (though I appreciate the worry about bias in the context of Booker), it’s the bite size descriptions (being assigned ? to the reviewer).
McDermids: “Best crime novel I’ve read in a very long time” is hardly the most enticing statement. As bad are the other rear flap appraisals:
“It touches your heart”; “a cracking read”; “She’s a crime writing genius”.


message 42: by Lee (new)

Lee Minor digression: I couldn't help but notice not so long ago a few discrepancies on the blurb front. I'd seen a very high profile author on many occasions extol the virtues of various books, said advocacy leading me to pick up the (usually disappointing) efforts. Imagine my consternation then when reading in an interview with the very same author in which they said 'I don't read new fiction and haven't for many years.' Upon further exploration it seemed that the latter was true, and that they were willing to attach their name to a book sight unseen as a bit of goodwill to their agent...now call me naive but I was a wee bit agog at such stuff!

There's another even bigger author does the same thing, I have since learned. So no wonder they often sound insincere.


message 43: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9673 comments The other blurb practice is to recycle quotes about an author's previous works without making explicit they don't apply to this one. WG Sebald who was generous with his praise (albeit certainly did read the books) carried on endorsing new novels for years after his untimely death.


message 44: by LindaJ^ (last edited Jul 30, 2018 11:47AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 672 comments Snap is a decent thriller. I enjoyed it as that. The character development was decent. The story had some decent twists. But I did not find it Booker worthy. My review: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 45: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9673 comments One thing that intrigues me. General view seems to be that even as a crime novel this is fine but not particularly noteworthy.

But is that really the case? The crime fiction Booker equivalent is the CWA Gold Dagger. Bauer's debut won it in 2010, her last novel was shortlisted in 2017 (NB Snap will be eligible for the 2019 prize) and of course there is the infamous endorsement. And reviews amongst fans of the genre seem positive.

So when the forum view is that it isn't great crime fiction are we really saying crime fiction isn't great literary fiction.

I find this interesting as one accusation that often got thrown at the Booker in past years by genre fans is the opposite: when the Booker has included literary fiction but with a genre flavour they are often poor imitations of the genre e.g. literary science fiction that often even denies its own identity (see Attwood, Margaret).


message 46: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments I have been wondering the same. My wife reads quite a lot of crime fiction and I have asked her to read it. I will report back.


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6120 comments To me it feels a genre novel which tries unsuccessfuly to be literary while not excelling on the genre aspects.

Even if we are not genre fans I think we can all appreciate a crime novel or thriller with unexpected twists or a complex plot, but this does not have either, or at least I could not see them.

I would also expect a good crime novel to be tightly and cleverly worked with believable details on the workings of the police or the justice system, but again that is missing here, at least as I saw it.

But I may be missing something.


message 48: by Neil (new) - rated it 2 stars

Neil | 1978 comments PS My wife also has a degree in English Literature, so she knows what she’s talking about!


message 49: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 9673 comments Gumble's Yard wrote: "To me it feels a genre novel which tries unsuccessfuly to be literary while not excelling on the genre aspects. "

Should say I haven't read it - I just find it odd that a CWA winner and shortlistee can't write top quality crime fiction. Perhaps she has, as you suggest, gone too far down the literary route with this one and ended up doing exactly what genre fans accuse literary fiction authors going in the opposite direction of doing. Now did she do that knowing who was going to be on the Booker panel....!


Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer | 6120 comments Conspiracy theory. You need to read Sabrina


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