The Man Booker Prize

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

I have not followed the Man Booker prize before, or any literature prize prior to my enjoyment of reading this year’s Women’s Prize for fiction. As with the Woman’s Prize I am going to try and read the shortlist before the winner is announced in October. The short list won’t be announced till September, so right now I am playing guesswork. I find it disappointed that there are only three female authors on the longlist, and only two woman on the all white judging panel. I could reflect on this further, however, Naomi sums my feelings perfectly. Especially in regards to the argument put forward that this is about great fiction, not positive discrimination.  Which, when reading Naomi’s post, you can’t help but question.

Frustrations aside, I am excited to read quite a few of the books on the longlist, which is as follows:

  1. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler
  2. The Blazing World, Siri Hustvedt
  3. How to be Both, Ali Smith
  4. To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris
  5. The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan
  6. J, Howard Jacobson
  7. The Wake, Paul Kingsnorth
  8. The Bone Clocks, David Mitchell
  9. The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjee
  10. Us, David Nicholls
  11. The Dog, Joseph O’Neill
  12. Orfeo, Richard Powers
  13. History of the Rain, Niall Williams

I was surprised by the addition of David Nicholls, as a big fan of One Day I am excited to read it. First on my to-read list are The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt, History of the Rain by Niall Williams, and We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler. For no other reason that they interested me, and they are published. I’m not sure I can sit patiently and wait till September for either Nicholls book or The Bone Clock by David Mitchell. With their nominations I wonder their publication dates will be pulled forward.

 What are your thoughts on the Man Booker prize?

 

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14 Comments on "The Man Booker Prize"

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Naomi Frisby
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Thanks for your comment and link, Alice. I’m looking forward to seeing your thoughts on the individual books and deciding which (besides the three women) I’d like to try.

Gemma
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I was disappointed to see there were only three women on the longlist too. I haven’t read any of the books on the longlist yet – I think I’ll probably read We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves first because I’ve read good reviews. It’s a shame that some of the books aren’t published yet! Looking forward to reading your thoughts on the books.

Frizbot
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RT @nomoreparades: Today I’ve contemplated the Man Booker Prize. What are your thoughts? http://t.co/akq0QKsLon

coldnwindy
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@nomoreparades have you read Siri Hustvedt before? she’s wonderful :)

Andrew Blackman
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I’m so far behind, I’m still catching up with the 2009 longlist :-) Some really good writers on the list, though, so I’m sure you’ve got some great reading experiences ahead of you between now and October, Alice!

Fleur in her World
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I’m disappointed with that lack of women and the lack of diversity, but there do seem to be more readable books than some years. And I’m particularly pleased to see Niall Williams, whose writing I love.

Jenny @ Reading the End
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I’m SO delighted that the Karen Joy Fowler book is on the shortlist. It was one of my very favorites last year, so it’s great to see it getting recognized like this. I hope you read it soon! I hope you love it!

Violet
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I gave up on literary prizes when I realised that they are just marketing campaigns. I did try and read the Booker shortlist a few years ago but most of the books that year were fairly ordinary and some were downright disappointing. I don’t like the idea of the Booker being open to Americans authors. I think publishers just want to use the prize for publicity in the UK. Literary prize culture is fairly warped, if you ask me. It’s more about selling the writer to the public and building his or her ‘brand’ to enhance sales of current and… Read more »
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