It’s been a thrilling week!
The Man Booker Prize longlist, the World Fantasy Award finalists, and the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History finalists have been announced .
Since I’m an SF freak, I’m excited that David Mitchell’s brilliant genre-bending novel, The Bone Clocks, and Jo Walton’s alternate history, My Real Children, which I wrote about last year, have been nominated for the World Fantasy Award. Mitchell is known as a writer of literary fiction, whereas Walton has won awards for SF. The truth is that both are very literary writers who play with elements of SF and fantasy.
Walton’s My Real Children is also a finalist for the Sidewise Award for Best Alternate History Long Form. Last year, D. J. Taylor (one of my favorite writers) won it for The Windsor Faction.. (You can read about it here.)
The Man Booker Prize longlist is always exciting, because I am a shameless Anglophile. This year however, only three titles are from the UK. There are five Americans, one Irish, one Jamaican, one Nigerian, and one from New Zealand.
Poor Canadians! They get no respect.
FIVE Americans IS a lot of Americans. I’m not NOT a patriot—-I pledge the allegiance to the flag of the United, etc.–but are the odds not stacked in favor of Americans this year?
Here is the longlist:
Bill Clegg (U.S.) – “Did You Ever Have a Family” (Jonathan Cape)
Anne Enright (Ireland) – “The Green Road” (Jonathan Cape)
Marlon James (Jamaica) – “A Brief History of Seven Killings” (Oneworld Publications)
Laila Lalami (U.S.) – “The Moor’s Account” (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)
Tom McCarthy (U.K.) – “Satin Island” (Jonathan Cape)
Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – “The Fishermen” (ONE, Pushkin Press)
Andrew O’Hagan (U.K.) – “The Illuminations” (Faber & Faber)
Marilynne Robinson (U.S.) – “Lila” (Virago)
Anuradha Roy (India) – “Sleeping on Jupiter” (MacLehose Press, Quercus)
Sunjeev Sahota (U.K.) – “The Year of the Runaways” (Picador)
Anna Smaill (New Zealand) – “The Chimes” (Sceptre)
Anne Tyler (U.S.) – “A Spool of Blue Thread” (Chatto & Windus)
Hanya Yanagihara (U.S.) – “A Little Life” (Picador)
Have you read any of these books? I saw Marilynne Robinson read from Lila: does that count? My husband says Anne Tyler’s book does not belong: it is her last book, and it is not quite up to her usual high standard.
To fan the fires of excitement, let’s add a good gossipy segment on the News about the literary prizes. Let Oprah host it, or Kelly Ripa. After all, both of them have run TV book clubs. We don’t need the PBS boys getting involved: Charlie Rose and Bill Moyer are so solemn in the presence of writers, and Garrison Keillo, just keeps enunciating and babbling till he declares erroneously that novelist Caroline Gordon wrote poetry, when that would have been her husband, the poet Allen Tate.
Oprah and Kelly Ripa are unpretentious and will have a straight-ahead conversation with the writers based on facts and innuendo gathered by their assistants. Oprah will inquire how they overcame never learning to read or flunking the SAT essay, and got sidetracked into working at a Ford plant in Detroit. Kelly will tease and joke about obstacles like hemorrhoids that keep them from sitting at their computers. And cut to commercial!
I confess to being pretty disinterested and disillusioned with the Booker – particularly after reading how the selection process has been changed. But then, with my love of classics and the obscure, I’m never going to be the ideal Booker reader, am I? 😀
I don’t read many new books, either, though I usually try to catch up in the summer (well, on a few). The ones I’ve read somehow didn’t make the list. So it goes…
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I’ve read the Anne Enright, and I enjoyed it a lot, although I felt some sections and characters didn’t work. The Forgotten Waltz and The Wig my Father Wore are still my favourite of her work. I always enjoy the Guardian’s Not the Booker Prize feature more than the official list!
Oh, I do want to read the Anne Enright! Thank you for the recommendation. I read her first Booker winner, The Gathering, and loved it.
P. S. I’ll have to take a look at Not the Booker!