Today the Man Booker Prize shortlist was announced. Here they are:
- Julian Barnes: The Sense of an Ending
- Carol Birch: Jamrach’s Menagerie
- Patrick deWitt: The Sisters Brothers
- Esi Edugyan: Half Blood Blues
- Stephen Kelman: Pigeon English
- AD Miller: Snowdrops
I have read The Sisters Brothers (review here) and Snowdrops (review here). I also started Jamrach’s Menagerie but abandoned it early on. I believe I will give it another go now that it is on the shortlist. And since the Kelman is a book I’ve avoided all year, perhaps now is the time to read it too. I anxiously await a copy of The Sense of an Ending, and believe that right now it is the front runner on the Man Booker forum (here).
Honestly, I’ve been disenchanted with the Booker this year. Many of the longlisted books were simply not good. Still, it appears that from that longlist, the judges have come up with an interesting shortlist — at least, I know people who have enjoyed each of these books quite a bit — perhaps the fact that each is on the shortlist is defensible. The Barry and the Holinghurst didn’t make it, which will upset many, but the Barnes did, which makes me happy (I abandoned the Holinghurst and wasn’t really looking forward to the Barry, though I’ll probably still read it, someday, maybe). I believe the best book from the longlist I read so far was Alison Pick’s Far to Go (my review here), but while I think it was great, I can understand why it didn’t make it.
The winner will be announced on October 18.
I have to amend what I wrote above. I wonder if my initial relief at seeing this shortlist was actually caused by something else. Most of the books on this list are ones I’ve already read or tried to read, so I don’t feel much pressure to go out and follow up on this list. Is that the cause of the sense of relief I felt when I saw this list?