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Book Chat > 2018 Man Booker Prize

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message 2: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2298 comments Thanks Hugh. Very surprised. I've only read The Mars Room, am 1/4 of the way through The Overstory, and have Warlight on my shelf. But where did these others come from? I've only heard a couple, that I remember, mentioned on The Mooske and the Gripes. Guess I have a lot to track down!


message 3: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Sevitt | 4 comments I've read Sabrina and I guess I'll read The Mars Room now although I never got round to The Flamethrowers.

I didn't enjoy Sally Rooney's first book and The English Patient is one of my least favourite Booker winners.

Not really sure where else to go here. I may take the year off.

I would read the thriller, except I read one of Val McDermid's books once and it was so appallingly constructed, I'm not sure I trust her recommendations... although she is great on The Round Britain Quiz.


message 4: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2569 comments Mod
Of the more surprising choices, the ones that most interest me are The Long Take and Everything Under. I was not surprised to see Ondaatje, Powers, Kushner or Ryan. I can't see myself reading a graphic novel - I am just not a visual person. The list also lacks geographic diversity...


message 5: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2567 comments Mod
I think the graphic novel was the only selection already on my TBR list, although a number of the more well-known authors' previous works are in my crosshairs (Kushner, Ondaatje, Powers). Never even heard of the others by book title or author name. Thanks for posting the list with links and covers, Hugh!


message 6: by Caroline (new)

Caroline (cedickie) | 384 comments Mod
I haven't read any of these! The only one that was on my to-read list prior to yesterday was The Overstory so I am pretty unfamiliar with the others - though I did read The English Patient a very long time ago.

I don't think I've ever read a graphic novel, at least not as an adult. This might be the perfect time to try one out! I am definitely interested in checking out The Water Cure.


message 7: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth (elisabeth7291) | 4 comments I have not read any of these either - and many I hadn't heard of. Booker is my favorite & I find, most reliable list. I was slightly disappointed when I went through the list & only REALLY want to read four of them. Oh well.


message 8: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2569 comments Mod
Some of the surprises are good. I thought Milkman was very impressive. I don't think this is the worst ever longlist at all, even if a couple of them are hard to defend...


message 9: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth (elisabeth7291) | 4 comments Hugh wrote: "Some of the surprises are good. I thought Milkman was very impressive. I don't think this is the worst ever longlist at all, even if a couple of them are hard to defend..."

Milkman was on the fence, so I'll push it over to five... :-)


message 10: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2569 comments Mod
I have started The Long Take, which is interesting too (though I am not sure how I feel about the place of a book that is largely written in verse in a prize for novels).


message 12: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2464 comments Robert wrote: "Man Booker Podcast

https://soundcloud.com/manbookerprize..."


Wonderful! Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Robert.

I last heard Kwame Appiah moderate a session with Achebe at Princeton, obviously a number of years ago now. I recommend his Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers to anyone with interest in the topic.


message 13: by Marc (new)

Marc (monkeelino) | 2567 comments Mod
And then there were 6. Booker shortlist came out today (all text courtesy of the BBC):
- Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (UK)
- Milkman by Anna Burns (UK)
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Canada)
- The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (USA)
- The Overstory by Richard Powers (USA)
- The Long Take by Robin Robertson (UK)

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Everything Under by Daisy Johnson (UK)
Synopsis: Set in the British countryside and centres on the complex relationship between Gretel and her mother, who abandoned her to foster care so she could make a fresh start with a new lover.

Judges' comments: "The twists and turns of the book's stories braid this together with European folk tales to create a strong narrative river that carries us to a conclusion laced with tantalising possibilities."
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Milkman by Anna Burns (UK)
Synopsis: A coming-of-age story about a young girl's affair with an older married man, set in a society that closely mirrors Troubles-era Belfast.

Judges' comments: "Simply marvellous; beginning with the distinctive and consistently realised voice of the funny, resilient, astute, plain-spoken, first-person protagonist."
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Washington Black by Esi Edugyan (Canada)
Synopsis: A friendship between an 11-year-old slave and an abolitionist inventor who together try to escape from Barbados on a quest for freedom.

Judges' comments: "Moments of horrifying cruelty and violence sit alongside episodes of great tenderness and deep connection. A majestic grandeur is achieved with the lightest touch."
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The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner (USA)
Synopsis: Convict Romy Hall begins two consecutive life sentences at Stanville Woman's Correctional Facility and is confronted with a new reality of institutional living from her previously chaotic life in the outside world.

Judges' comments: "A heartbreaking exploration of lives at the margins of society, mobilising fiercely inventive characters whose lives seem mostly to have been foredoomed."
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The Overstory by Richard Powers (USA)
Synopsis: Nine unique strangers become summoned by trees and are brought together in a last stand to save the continents few remaining acres of forest.

Judges' comments: "Nine powerfully written, interlinked stories play out in the understory. Along the way there are stirring, lyrical paragraphs on love, photography, the culture of ancient China, game code, science, and maybe most impressively, faith, rendered without sanctimony or reprimand."
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The Long Take by Robin Robertson (UK)
Synopsis: Robertson combines poetry with narrative fiction to tell the story of a D-Day veteran suffering with PTSD, who tries to piece his life together in a nation divided by race and social class.

Judges' comments: "A lyrical tribute to the power of writing and image to convey, and somehow survive, historic and ongoing suffering and injustice."
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Snap by Belinda Bauer and Normal People by Sally Rooney were two Prize favourites that didn't make it into the shortlist, to some people's surprise.
*********************************************************
Analysis from Rebecca Jones, arts correspondent:There are not a lot of laughs in this year's shortlist. These are dark novels written, according to the judges, for dark times.

So there are books about slavery, sectarian violence and climate change. And that is just for starters. Post-traumatic stress disorder, poverty and prisons also feature.

Although Esi Edugyan has made the list for the second time, and Richard Powers is a prize-winning American novelist, yet again the judges have turned their backs on established literary figures in favour of newer voices.

It is a huge achievement for Daisy Johnson to be shortlisted for her debut novel. Everything Under re-imagines the Oedipus myth in modern Britain.

Robin Robertson is also an interesting choice. The Scot is the first poet to be shortlisted for the prize for his "novel in verse", The Long Take.

Explaining the decision, the chair of the judges Kwame Anthony Appiah said: "If a great poet tells stories, develop plots and makes you want to read further, then the poem is doing what the novel does. So it should be read alongside fiction in prose."

He went on to say that each of the six books explores "the anatomy of pain". And that may not ultimately appeal to readers.

This is a challenging list, with much to admire - but not necessarily much to love.


message 14: by Bretnie (new)

Bretnie | 560 comments "The anatomy of pain" sounds like a good heads up to read some lighter, funnier things in between these! Interesting analysis!


message 15: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2298 comments Indeed, they are all serious books with a lot of pain but they are all wonderfully written. The only one for me that was not a joy to read was Milkman, but it was still a worthwhile read.


message 16: by Hugh (last edited Sep 20, 2018 01:23PM) (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2569 comments Mod
Milkman is brilliant and by far the most original book on the longlist, so I am delighted that it is still there. If it doesn't win I'd like the prize to go to Johnson or Robertson. For me, both Powers and Kushner have written better books than these, and Washington Black is just a classy adventure story that I see as light relief in the context of this list. The only ones I am disappointed to have lost are On Our Mad and Furious City and to a lesser extent Normal People.


message 17: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth (elisabeth7291) | 4 comments None of the ones I could get my hands on to read made it to the short list. I’m sorta glad bc I was underwhelmed. That said, I need to find at least a couple of these.


message 18: by Paul (new)

Paul Fulcher (fulcherkim) | 178 comments Milkman - wonderful!!!


message 19: by Hugh (new)

Hugh (bodachliath) | 2569 comments Mod
I agree. Best winner in ages and fully deserved!!


message 20: by Elisabeth (new)

Elisabeth (elisabeth7291) | 4 comments And it isn’t available in the States until Nov 21! Who wants to mail me a copy? :-(


message 21: by LindaJ^ (new)

LindaJ^ (lindajs) | 2298 comments I would except I traded it in for credit on more books. I got my copy from Book Depository at a reasonable price. It was not my favorite but a deserving book nevertheless.


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