2009 Man Booker Shortlist

A.S. Byatt: The Children’s Book
J.M. Coetzee: Summertime
Adam Foulds: The Quickening Maze
Hilary Mantel: Wolf Hall
Simon Mawer: The Glass Room
Sarah Waters: The Littler Stranger

I have the Byatt and the Foulds, and I’ve just been waiting to get the Mawer and the Coetzee.  Have to say, I’m a bit uncertain I can stomach the Byatt or the Mantel, but we’ll see.  At any rate, the only surprise is that Brooklyn and Love and Summer are no where on the list.  Good luck to the authors, and good luck to any of you out there reading the list — I hope it proves to be worth the time!

15 thoughts on “2009 Man Booker Shortlist”

  1. Nadia says:

    I have yet to read anything on the list but do know which ones I want to read: The Glass Room, The Little Stranger, Wolf Hall and The Children’s Book. Must put them on my books to buy list. What a great selection for the shortlist. Can’t wait to find out who wins! I’m thinking Wolf Hall – that one has gotten so much praise it seems the obvious winner.

  2. Anthony says:

    A great pity that Sarah Hall’s How to Paint a Dead Man failed to make the shortlist. It shows great promise.

  3. Colette Jones says:

    Summertime is my favourite by a long way. Next in line is The Glass Room, which came fourth on my longlist order. Then Wolf Hall. The other three I hope do not win. I didn’t like The Children’s Book and only gave it 100 pages before throwing in the towel.

  4. Colette Jones says:

    Just noticed a wee typo in your list – The Littler Stranger should be The Little Stranger. Cute.

  5. Rob says:

    The LIttler Stranger is the sequel, due 2011.

  6. Trevor says:

    (For some reason, my wordpress account won’t let me sign out and sign back in so that my information is here — anyone know the problem?)

    Thanks for the comments everyone. I’ve been traveling and haven’t been able to respond (obviously!) and I’m sorry! Colette, thanks for spotting the typo — I think I’ll leave it :) It does sound cute, and perhaps it will inspire Waters to do just what Rob says!

  7. Sarah says:

    I was about to agree with you, that there is something off-putting about Wolf Hall, but then I read the comments above.

    So I will agree to differ. Very keen to read Summertime, The Children’s Book, and The Stranger, Little or otherwise!

  8. Trevor says:

    I had the goal of starting one of the shortlist titles I hadn’t read yet, but then started another book yesterday. Not sure what’s happening to me! I’ve always been so very into the Booker season. I know last year was a big disappointment for me, but . . .

  9. I just finished The Little Stranger, and can’t say I was too impressed. Summertime, on the other hand, is turning out to be a great read.

    I want to read The Glass Room as well, but the others aren’t doing it for me. I read two books from the long-list: How To Paint A Dead Man, and The Wilderness, and loved both of them. Half-wish at least one made it to the final six.

  10. We just found your website – and love it!

    I’ve read The Glass Room by Simon Mawer and it is my favourite by far to win this year. I’ve read all of them except Wolf Hall but The Glass Room is the one that’s been standing out.

  11. Trevor says:

    I’m glad to see people are still reading the list — hopefully I’ll get to it!

  12. John Self says:

    I’m currently rereading The Quickening Maze as I don’t think I gave it a fair account earlier this year. I must admit I’m entirely seduced by Foulds’s prose, which seems to contain a delight in literally every paragraph, so much so that it’s a pure pleasure just to read it, irrespective of the content. Admittedly that can be a little sticky, as he flits so quickly between characters and the reader must hold fast and pay attention or else… but this might be where a second reading comes in useful (even though I can remember precious little from the first).

  13. Lee Monks says:

    I couldn’t bear to fork out such a sizeable wodge on Wolf Hall so I grabbed it from the library (65p reservation fee well within the budget) and it quickly bored me to tears. I have this problem: I’m not too impressed with things that are merely well-written. The Telegraph editorial is well-written. Wolf Hall simply didn’t engage me. Middlemarch did. There’s a serious distinction. Mantel is a doubtless good writer but it doesn’t ring my bells. Whereas JM Coetzee and Adam Foulds…now then…

  14. Trevor says:

    Alright, I need to pick up and keep reading Adam Foulds. Last time I stopped on page one. I think it was because I really was wanting to start another book, but I have to say I was a bit annoyed by the writing on the first page. But you and John are solid sources of good taste — I need to look at it again soon.

  15. tuesday says:

    A word of warning against the Byatt! I liked Possession and her short stories well enough, but this one I definitely could not stomach. Someone needs to go through that book with a critical eye and a red pen.

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