Man Booker 2015 shortlist announced

The Man Booker judges announced today the six books shortlisted for this year’s award      producing a list that despite all concerns about dominance by American authors, actually has a good global spread.  We have two US, three British  ( the judges are classing Neel Mukherjee as British although he originates from India) and one Australian.

No surprises to find Ali Smith on the list but I wasn’t expecting to see Karen Joy Fowler make it through to the penultimate round. Perhaps I’m being unfair to her since I’m only part way through We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. It reads very smoothly so far but I still wouldn’t out it in the same class as The Lives of Others which I read earlier this summer and enjoyed hugely.  A copy of Howard Jacobson’s novel  J that I reserved with my local library has just become available and will be waiting for me on my return from holidays this weekend so I should be able to read that before the winner is announced on October 14.

Anyone care to speculate which of these authors will be declared the 2015 winner? I would love to see the prize go to  Neel Mukherjee but I suspect that won’t be the case  and instead we will see it third time lucky for Ali Smith since her book features the kind of experimental narrative structure that the judges seem to like yet still is considered “readable”.

The Shortlist

To Rise Again At a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
J by Howard Jacobson
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
How to Be Both by Ali Smith

About BookerTalk

What do you need to know about me? 1. I'm from Wales which is one of the countries in the UK and must never be confused with England. 2. My life has always revolved around the written and spoken word. I worked as a journalist for nine years then in international corporate communications 3. My tastes in books are eclectic. I love realism and hate science fiction and science fantasy. 4. I am trying to broaden my reading horizons geographically by reading more books in translation

Posted on September 9, 2014, in Book Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 23 Comments.

  1. I recently read and reviewed Ferris’ Til We Rise Again At A Decent Hour. It was beautifully written, and very thought provoking, but I’m not sure it’s the best American novel written in 2014. It’s actually quite discouraging in terms of hopelessness, but perhaps that’s the condition of people now. People without faith, who seem quite lost and lonely.

  2. I don’t know where I’ve been lately. I missed the shortlist announcement completely. I haven’t read any of the books, I rarely do as most of these books come in the Indian market much later in the year.

    I am looking forward to reading a couple of these this winter.

  3. I agree that it would be great to see Mukherjee win, but I’d be happy for Ali Smith as well.

    • I think Ali Smith’s book has just come through for me in the library so I should have a better idea shortly how it stacks up against the other shortlisted titles

  4. Shocked really to see Karen Joy Fowler and even Joshua Ferris make the shortlist. I read Fowler but not Ferris. My next one to read will be The Lives of Others as I’m quite interested in it. I finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North and it was incredible. My hope is that one wins. Something about J doesn’t really sit with me as something I want to hurry and reach for, but I will try and get to it before the winner is announced.

    • Hi Penny, I am almost at the end of Fowler’s book and while I see that it is an unusual subject, it feels a bit of what my gran called a one trick pony. in other words, once you know what the twist is, it just becomes a straight forward story

  5. I read and loved Live Of Others too though I guess it would be hypocritical of me to support it since I haven’t read the others 🙂

  6. Well, the only two I’ve been able to recover from our library is The Bone Clocks and Orfeo, neither of which made the short list. Today the Fowler book came in, but from what I know of her I wouldn’t expect the Booker to be hers. Looking forward to J as you recommend it so highly.

    • you did well to get Orfeo from the library, ours isn’t even planning to order it. Fowler isn’t anywhere near being a winner. I think the judges chose it for the subject matter rather than the way the book was written

  7. What an interesting shortlist this year. I’m surprised Fowler made it on there too. I haven;t read the book and I’ve heard it is good but I was not under the impression it was that good.

  8. I haven’t read any of them but do have We are all completely beside ourselves on my kindle. Not been very inspired by the Booker this year. I usually get really interested in it.

  9. I’ve got no idea but the parochial Scotsman in me will have my fingers crossed for Ali Smith! To be honest a prediction from me is the kiss of death – just yesterday I confidently stated to someone at work that not only would David Mitchell get short listed but he was a shoe-in to win it – what do I know?!!!!!

  10. Thanks for the list. I hope to get to some or all of these books this year!

  11. No opinions. Haven’t read anything on the short list even as I was making my way through the long. None of those I read or stacked up to read next made it. I suppose this is a good thing; it just suggests there are more good books left to be read. I still haven’t finished History of the Rain and while I love the voice, the language and the storytelling, I am not yet hooked into the meandering plot. I don’t rush to pick it up each day. Also have David Mitchell’s new book. The two American writers and their books on the short didn’t initially interest me, given the bits I read about them. And The Narrow Road plot sounds a bit grueling. Now I guess I will reconsider. The book I am now most interested in is the one you most highly recommend: The Lives of Others.
    Something to look forward to.

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