I love this time of year! The Man Booker Prize longlist is as follows (dates in parentheses indicate when the title is slated for publication in the United States if it is not already available):
- The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes (January 24, 2012)
- On Canaan’s Side, Sebastian Barry (September 8, 2011)
- Jamrach’s Menagerie, Carol Birch
- The Sisters Brothers, Patrick deWitt
- Half Blood Blues, Esi Edugyan (I don’t see a date for this one)
- A Cupboard Full of Coats, Yvvette Edwards
- The Stranger’s Child, Alan Holinghurst (October 11, 2011)
- Pigeon English, Stephen Kelman
- The Last Hundred Days, Patrick McGuinness (I don’t see a date for this one)
- Snowdrops, A.D. Miller
- Far to Go, Alison Pick
- The Testament of Jessie Lamb, Jane Rogers (I don’t see a date for this one)
- Derby Day, D.J. Taylor (I don’t see a date for this one)
So, six of the titles are already available in the U.S., a couple more due out before the winner is announced, and four that may never make it here, which is basically right in line with past years. We’ll have to see if the longlist gets any of the other titles a U.S. publication. Last year, my two favorites (Damon Galgut’s In a Strange Room (review here), and Howard Jacobson’s The Finkler Question (review here)) were not available in the U.S. when the longlist was announced but were soon offered as ebooks, which is how I read them, and eventually were published in paperback.
I haven’t read any of the books on this year’s longlist, though I do have copies of The Sisters Brothers and The Stranger’s Child, both of which I’ve been meaning to read, mostly in anticipation of this list. I’ve heard a lot about On Canaan’s Side, Pigeon English, and Snowdrops, but I’ll have to revisit to see if I want to read them. I felt let down with Barry’s last Booker contender, The Secret Scripture (my review here) but I liked it enough that I may give this one a go. KevinfromCanada reviewed Far to Go earlier this year (KFC review here), and I have it marked as one I’d like to get to. I have a soft spot for Julian Barnes, and this short novel sounds excellent to me.
Some exclusions of past winners: Aravind Adiga’s Last Man in the Tower, Michael Ondaatje’s Cat’s Table, Graham Swift’s Wish You Were Here, Barry Unsworth’s The Quality of Mercy, and Anne Enright’s The Forgotten Waltz. There are also some past strong shortlisters whose exclusion may surprise some: Ali Smith’s There but for the, Edward St. Aubyn’s At Last, Hisham Matar’s Anatomy of a Disappearance, Linda Grant’s We Had It So Good, and Philip Hensher’s King of the Badgers. I thought perhaps David Bezmozgis’s The Free World would find its way there (I’ve read this one but haven’t reviewed it yet — soon).
The general breakdown (which I got from the Man Booker Prize website’s official write-up (here)), is one former winner (Holinghurst), two previous shortlisters (Barnes and Barry), and one previous longlister (Birch). There are four first time novelists (Kelman, Miller, Edwards, and McGuinness) and three Canadians writers on the list (deWitt, Edugyan, and Pick).
The shortlist will be announced September 6. The winner on October 18.
Other than that, I’m anxious to see how this year stacks up. I’m not particularly thrilled about any of the titles, but that hopefully will change.