2010 Man Booker Longlist Announced

The Man Booker Prize 2010 season is off!  Only five of the thirteen titles are currently available in your U.S. bookstore (maybe).  Most of the others have publication dates in the next few months, but there are a few that didn’t seem to have any publication plans in the United States.  Perhaps now.  Perhaps only if they make the shortlist at this point.  So, if you’re from the United States and want to join in the thrill of the Booker Prize season by reading all of the longlisted titles in the next few months, you’ll have to go to the UK to get your orders.  Luckily, you can go to the Book Depository (from my link, if you wish me to get a small cut) and get the books and free shipping!  Highly recommended.

Here are the thirteen longlisted titles:

  • Peter Carey: Parrot and Olivier in America (available now)
  • Emma Donaghue: Room (available September 13)
  • Helen Dunmore: The Betrayal (availability in U.S. unknown)
  • Damon Galgut: In a Strange Room (available on Kindle only; other U.S. availability unknown)
  • Howard Jacobson: The Finkler Question (availability in U.S. unknown)
  • Andrea Levy: The Long Song (available now)
  • Tom McCarthy: C (available September 7)
  • David Mitchell: The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet (available now)
  • Lisa Moore: February (available now)
  • Paul Murray: Skippy Dies (available August 31)
  • Rose Tremain: Trespass (available October 18)
  • Christos Tsiolkas: The Slap (available now)
  • Alan Warner: The Stars in the Bright Sky (availability in U.S. unknown)

At this point I have read only two: Parrot and Olivier in America and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, both expected to make the longlist easily, though I thought both of them less than wonderful, if good in some ways.  I don’t know how involved I’ll get this year.  I have Lisa Moore’s February, so I’ll get to that one.  McCarthy’s  C on its way from Knopf.  I’m tempted to order the rest from the Book Depository, but we’ll see.

Happy Booker Season to all!

10 thoughts on “2010 Man Booker Longlist Announced”

  1. Isabel says:

    Once again, I haven’t read any of them, so I’ll depend on you and a few other bloggers for your input.

  2. Lee Monks says:

    Rachman’s omission disappoints, without having read most of the list. I think Mitchell will inevitably win this eventually, and perhaps this year (for a book you would no doubt assert was one of his weaker efforts) so I’d have him hot favourite. But I hope Jacobson gets it, and that’s not even out yet! On past merit. The Slap is good fun but not a Booker winner, not with Mitchell and Galgut knocking about, even in low gear.

  3. tolsmted says:

    I haven’t read any of these books – and with the exception of Parrot & Olivier and Skippy Dies (just barely) they weren’t even on my radar.

    I did a quick look up after the long list announcement yesterday and my initial thoughts were that Room by Donaghue and The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet both looked interesting. I can’t figure out why The Stars in the Bright Sky is on there – the description looks like a rehash of some type of Gossip Girl meets younger versions of Sex in the City plot line.

    Is it me or does the Booker seem completely random from year to year? Last year I Am Cheetah made the longlist – which demonstrates that the judges are willing to think outside of the box. But this year no mention of The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog – which got excellent reviews in the UK and on the whole sounds as if it was much better written than I am Cheetah (I can’t wait until we get it here!).

    So my question for you – should I start with The Thousand Autumns or Cloud Atlas for my first Mitchell book? You seem to be a bigger fan of the latter, but perhaps I’ll enjoy The Thousand Autumns more if I work my way up to Cloud Atlas?

    Apologies for the long comment!

  4. Trevor says:

    Isabel, I know you can count on Kevin, and I’ll be reading the ones I can get my hands on. Don’t want to disappoint!

    Lee, I agree about the Rachman, though I’m not surprised to see it off the list. As for the rest, there are a few I’m not excited for but none I dread. Had the Forna made it, I would say there was one on the list I dreaded to read — and probably wouldn’t have.

    Tolmsted, first off, glad to see your new (to me) avatar! And I agree that The Stars in the Bright Sky looks strange on this list. I think the cover makes it look like a seventies sci-fi book, though I see that it is not when I look close.

    As for the Booker being random year to year, it is. They panel of judges changes each year, and each year they come from a variety of backgrounds. Some years there is no evidence they read in their spare time. Other years they tend to be highly academic — I like those years, honestly. Despite all of that, the Booker has a distinct personality, and books are frequenly categorized as Booker-like. Sadly, this often means they are derivative.

    I’m a bit more excited about this year than I was about last year, and I already like both of the books I’ve read (though I didn’t particularly value either of them) more than I liked most of the longlist in 2008. I’ll probably end up reviewing a handful. If I get ambitious, I’ll impulsively get the rest from the Book Depository and make a game out of it :).

    Now, down to the real question: The Thousand Autumns or Cloud Atlas? If by “should I start” you mean “should I start getting to know David Mitchell,” I wouldn’t bother with The Thousand Autumns. To me it is so different from Mitchell’s other works, lacking much of what made them so wonderful, that if you want to get to know Mitchell, you should read the others, Cloud Atlas in particular. Still, many people love The Thousand Autumns . . .

  5. tolsmted says:

    I just took a quick peek at what Cloud Atlas is about and I think we have a winner! Despite lukewarm reviews I’m sure I’ll like The Thousand Autumns when I get to it, but from what I read Cloud Atlas sound more complicated and hence more interesting.

    And thank you for noticing the avatar. I think most people think they’re more complicated to make then they actually are (which is why it took me so long to get one).

  6. tolmsted: If I can weigh in on the Mitchell question, starting with Cloud Atlas is starting with his best and there is no reason not to do that (in fact, it is where I started). Ghostwritten does have a lot of similarities in structure and if you were approaching this as a Mitchell project, I would say start there. But I did go backward in my own progression and it worked fine. I’m in a bit of a minority in that I quite liked Black Swan Green> — I wouldn’t start there because it is so different from the others. On the other hand, it is much shorter and does still illustrate some of his strengths.

    And (as soon as one more edit is done) I’ll be posting thoughts on why I was so disappointed with The Thousand Autumns, for my money his weakest book so far by a mile.

  7. Colette Jones says:

    Trevor, The Memory of Love (Forna) was my most hopeful book for this year’s Booker. It didn’t make it and may not even have been submitted, but I’m very glad I read it. John McGregor’s Even the Dogs was right up there, so my two favourites of the year didn’t make the list. That makes the list somewhat disappointing but I hope to read them all.

    I’m curious, why wouldn’t you read Forna? My husband said it sounds “girly” but I assured him it is not (though I admit the name does make it sound like it might be).

  8. Colette Jones says:

    Of the four titles I have read so far, only Skippy Dies would have been included if I were choosing. I fear expectations may be too high for it now though, and it might be in for some rough criticism.

  9. Trevor says:

    I’m curious, why wouldn’t you read Forna? My husband said it sounds “girly” but I assured him it is not (though I admit the name does make it sound like it might be).

    We can blame KFC, Colette. I had just finished reading and struggling with White Masks, a book I admired but didn’t enjoy, when I read Kevin’s review of The Memory of Love. Kevin’s reading experience with the book sounded a great deal like the one I’d just had with White Masks, a book of density and gravity — of importance — but not of pleasure. I was exhausted when I finished White Masks, and as much as I value that type of reading experience, I haven’t felt up to it since.

    All of this is fairly baseless. No other book on the Booker longlist strikes me this way, even though I know some of them are dense and grave. It’s funny how things influence what we want to read at a given time of year, month, or day, isn’t it?

    At any rate, it had nothing to do with the title of the book making me think it was girly — at least, nothing that I’m aware of :)

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