Around this time of the year I’m dusting down my crystal and trying to predict what will be announced as the longlist for the Booker Prize. But with only a few days to go (the list will be announced on Wednesday, 27th July) I’m struggling. Mainly the issue is that I’ve been so focused on reading what I already own from previous years that I haven’t devoted much time to contemporary works.
Of the very few I have read, My Name is Lucy Barton is Elizabeth Strout could be a contender now that American authors are eligible. Maggie O’Farrell’s This Must be the Place is surely going to be on the list? I suspect Gail Jones A Guide to Berlin won’t make it ( the fact that I couldn’t finish it says a lot though I know others rated it more highly than I did).
Fortunately other bloggers who have their fingers on the pulse more than I do, have come up with their own predictions. Take a look at the lists from:
- A Life in Books which also highlights the Elizabeth Strout. Her list has a number of books that are on my wishlist but just haven’t got around to – yet…. http://alifeinbooks.co.uk/2016/07/my-2016-man-booker-wish-list/
- The Readers’ Room This blog is going to be running a shadow Booker event so the judges have made individual predictions. Interesting to see Annie Proux and Louise Erdich on the list – both highly acclaimed authors but because of the eligibility rules in the past were never considered for the Booker. Will this be the year they crack the barrier? https://thereadersroom.org/2016/07/18/2016-man-booker-longlist-predictions/
I’m surprised not to see Dave Eggers’s Heroes of the Frontier on any list. This is a kind state of the nation novel set in contemporary Alaska which has had good reviews so far. I think its not yet out in UK but should make it before the publication cut off date of September 30. Also from the American stable comes Ann Patchett’s The Commonwealth which is a tale of how an unexpected romantic encounter irrevocably changes two families’ lives. It’s due out in the UK on September 8. I haven’t seen any reviews for it yet but if it’s anything like the standard of Bel Canto which I read recently, it will give many other authors a run for their money.
If you feel any of your favourite authors are likely to be overlooked and yet they deserve attention, you can always put their names forward for the highly popular alternative Booker prize event hosted by the Guardian. Nominations are now open at https://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2016/jul/18/not-the-booker-prize-2016-vote-for-your-favourite-book-of-the-year