After taking a few years off from literary award finalists, I perked up this summer and decided to try a few from the Man Booker Prize and National Book Award lists. Alas, there is no overlap on the lists. I had hoped for overlap!
Naturally, the two Booker-longlisted novels I loved, Elizabeth Strout’s My Name Is Lucy Barton and David Mean’s Hystopia, have been eliminated. Isn’t that always the way? The National Book Award judges ignored the Americans on the Booker longlist, including the shortlisted Ottessa Moshfegh’s “Eileen” and Paul Beatty ‘s “The Sellout,” which, by the way, my husband says are not worth reading. (He does, however, recommend the English writer Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk.”)
Do American judges understand American literature better than English judges? I have not read any on the National Book Award longlist yet, but most of their choices did make a splash when they were published. Some of them look interesting. I love Lydia Millet and have heard good things about Elizabeth McKenzie.
Here’s the NBA longlist.
Adam Haslett, “Imagine Me Gone” (Little, Brown)
Paulette Jiles, “News of the World” (William Morrow)
Karan Mahajan, “The Association of Small Bombs” (Viking)
Elizabeth McKenzie, “The Portable Veblen” (Penguin Press )
Lydia Millet, “Sweet Lamb of Heaven” (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Brad Watson, “Miss Jane” (W.W. Norton & Co.)
Colson Whitehead, “The Underground Railroad” (Doubleday)
Jacqueline Woodson, “Another Brooklyn” (Amistad)
And here’s the Booker shortlist (they’re done with the longlist!).
Ottessa Moshfegh’s “Eileen,” Deborah Levy’s “Hot Milk,” Paul Beatty’s “The Sellout,” Graeme Macrae Burnet’s “His Bloody Project,” Madeleine Thien’s “Do Not Say We Have Nothing,”and David Szalay’s “All That Man Is.”
What a dilemma! The NBA is somehow not as romantic as the Booker, but the National Book Foundation is now imitating the Booker with long lists and shortlists. Are any bloggers reading the NBA longlist?