I’m never a slave to the Man Booker Prize but it’s hard to completely ignore it. Apart from all the hullabaloo it creates, or rather, I should say, is created around it by publishers and booksellers, who all sees this as a major selling opportunity, they do sometimes pick some great books. I say sometimes as I’ve just noticed that I have to go back to 2011, the year Julian Barnes won for The Sense of an Ending, to find a winner I really, really liked.
This year’s short-listed books are Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, which I found very interesting and quite challenging, Exit West by Moshid Hamid, which disappointed me, Ali Smith’s Autumn, which I started but which only confirmed something I’ve suspected: that I’m not an Ali Smith fan, (others who like her writing might have a more educated opinion), Paul Auster’s 4321, which I’ve heard great things about but at 880 pages I’m…eh…trying to build up courage to tackle, and two debut authors Emily Fridlund’s History of Wolves and Elmet by Fional Mozley.
There are some notable omissions, especially Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad, which I (and the Bookies!) loved, Sebastian Barry’s Days Without End, which I bought today as everyone have been raving about it and Arundhati Roys’ The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which I think they were right in eliminating.
The winner will be announced on the 17th of October. In the meantime, let’s get reading!