I don’t know if that makes me a true book nerd or not, but Man Booker announce dates are ALWAYS highlights of my year. This year was no exception and I must say my heart was thumping when I saw that Guardian accidentally released the list earlier than it was meant to be public!
They removed the article but some cheeky readers pulled a cached version, and I looked at the list and said to myself: NO way!
You know, there are some writers that you’d say that have become part of long list furniture when it comes to Man Booker, like Alan Hollinghurst, Julian Barnes, Peter Carey – and they’re absent! I splashed so much money on their signed copies so feeling a bit sad, but also feeling happy in the same time, because there is room for FRESH new writers, not the same old same old.
So we say, the names are fresh, but having a deep dive into the list and book blurbs, I am also a bit disappointed to see the same subjects over and over: Northern Ireland conflict, WW2, Slavery, etc.
There are quiet a few dystopians, which is surprising as well as the graphic novel and Snap. You know, crime/thrillers are mostly ignored by these juries so that’s a nice surprise. Part of me was hoping for Jane Harper (The Dry, Force of Nature) but there isn’t a single southern hemisphere writer on the list. Blimey! Make the Man Booker Commonwealth only again please… No offense, but in last couple of years since they’ve let others in, Northern American writers seem to dominate the list. Where are Indian, New Zealand, Australian and African writers?
And my favourites…
I must say I didn’t read any of them yet, but I have Everything Under and Warlight at home waiting to be read.
My predictions for Shortlist!
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson–
Best cover, hands down. Very intriguing subject. Fairy tale in a modern way. Gretel is our heroine, name says it all!
Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn’t seen her mother since the age of sixteen, though – almost a lifetime ago – and those memories have faded. Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature.
A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel’s isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy who came to stay on the boat one winter; and the creature in the water – a canal thief? – swimming upstream, getting ever closer. In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but go back.
Warlight by Michael Ondaatje: I love Ondaatje and I know I will like a book from him even before I read the book. Not crazy about the cover, but loving the blurb.
Warlight is a vivid, thrilling novel of violence and love, intrigue and desire. It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel.
From A Low And Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan:
The moment I read the blurb of this book I knew it’d be on long list. Ireland and Syrian Refugees. Booker cannot miss that. And I think it’s the most FRESH subject on the list, as we don’t really see the refugee tragedy handled in Western literary world, do we? I am Turkish so I am very familiar with Middle Eastern culture, I look forward reading this one to see how Ryan portrayed Syrian characters here.
Farouk’s country has been torn apart by war.
Lampy’s heart has been laid waste by Chloe.
John’s past torments him as he nears his end.
The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.
The Water Cure by Sophie Mackintosh
Don’t know how many times I considered requesting this on Netgalley, and guess who regrets now!
Spectacular cover, and a very vague but intriguing blurb. I must confess the vagueness in the description shied me away from this book. Looking forward to read.
Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia, and Sky kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them – three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.
Another book seen and ignored on NetGalley. Keyword is “ringed stories”, like a tree trunk. Booker prize loves multi -layered novels.
I love multi-layered novels too. It’s just the Vietnam War keyword and the vagueness in the blurb again, didn’t do me a favour and I didn’t ask for this book. I need to give this a go. It will be either unbearable or outstandingly amazing. I feel like this won’t be something in between!
The Overstory is a book for all readers who despair of humanity’s self-imposed separation from the rest of creation and who hope for the transformative, regenerating possibility of a homecoming. If the trees of this earth could speak, what would they tell us? “Listen. There’s something you need to hear.”
Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
Never heard of this before. I must admit, I have read so many books on slavery (and also on WW2, Holocaust,etc) So it has become difficult to read something original. But I am going to read Washington Black and will definitely give it a chance, wishing it won’t make me cry .
George Washington Black, or “Wash,” an eleven-year-old field slave on a Barbados sugar plantation, is terrified to be chosen by his master’s brother as his manservant. To his surprise, the eccentric Christopher Wilde turns out to be a naturalist, explorer, inventor, and abolitionist. Soon Wash is initiated into a world where a flying machine can carry a man across the sky, where even a boy born in chains may embrace a life of dignity and meaning–and where two people, separated by an impossible divide, can begin to see each other as human. But when a man is killed and a bounty is placed on Wash’s head, Christopher and Wash must abandon everything. What follows is their flight along the eastern coast of America, and, finally, to a remote outpost in the Arctic. What brings Christopher and Wash together will tear them apart, propelling Wash even further across the globe in search of his true self. From the blistering cane fields of the Caribbean to the frozen Far North, from the earliest aquariums of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black tells a story of self-invention and betrayal, of love and redemption, of a world destroyed and made whole again, and asks the question, What is true freedom?
Lots of suprises, new names, unknowns, one of the Long list books have 8 ratings on Goodreads -yes, only eight- this year’s list is a huge SURPRISE MADAFAKA for me, and I am looking forward to meet this new literary wonders!