It was announced in The Guardian today. Ah, the joy of reading, or thinking about reading, the longlist of a famous prize!
Bloggers always support the prize. In 2009, Dovegreyreader and several other bloggers read the complete longlist. I, too, managed to read more than half the list that year, including two I had to order from the UK: A. S. Byatt’s brilliant The Children’s Book (should have won!) and Sarah Hall’s remarkable How to Paint a Dead Man.
I lost interest in the Booker in 2011. The judges chose a number of very violent novels, and I caught hell from a small press for a negative review of an extremely violent book (which is why I seldom deal with the divas of the tiny presses).
This year I’m changing all that. I intend to read half the longlist (half of a half will be sufficient). But it is a bizarre-o list, in that I’ve only heard of three of the books: Rachel Kushner’s The Mars Room, Richard Powers’ The Trees, and Michael Ondaatje’s Warlight. And these three are doing very well here, as I imagine they are in the UK.
The big news: Nick Drasno’s Sabrina is the first graphic novel to make the Booker longlist. As my husband says, “That will be this year’s winner.”
Naturally, the British bloggers are annoyed about the three Americans on the list. I say with a hand on my hip: “Deal with it, honey.” For whatever reason, the Man (or Booker or whatever) company is determined to favor Americans. Famous writers have submitted petitions saying
Bring back the British!, and nothing has changed. What’s in it for the ManCo I couldn’t say.
But surely an American won’t win this year, after George Saunders and Paul Beatty’s wins in 2016 and 2017. But of course the graphic novel, Sabrina, is by an American.
And now here is the longlist. Let me know if anything looks good, or if you have plans to read the Booker list. Not all titles are available in the U.S. yet.
• Anna Burns, Milkman
• Nick Drnaso, Sabrina
• Esi Edugyan, Washington Black
• Guy Gunaratne, In Our Mad and Furious City
• Daisy Johnson, Everything Under
• Rachel Kushner, The Mars Room
• Sophie Mackintosh, The Water Cure
• Michael Ondaatje, Warlight
• Richard Powers, The Overstory
• Robin Robertson, The Long Take
• Sally Rooney, Normal People
• Donal Ryan, From a Low and Quiet Sea