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Man Booker Prize 2010 Longlist Announced

The Longlist for this year’s Man Booker Prize was announced yesterday in London. It comprises 13 books, drawn from a field of 138. For Australians the big news is likely to be the inclusion of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap, which was released in the UK earlier this year, but the list also features some notable omissions, in particular Martin Amis’ The Pregnant Widow and Ian McEwan’s Solar.

The full list is:

Peter Carey, Parrot and Olivier in America
Emma Donoghue, Room
Helen Dunmore, The Betrayal
Damon Galgut, In a Strange Room
Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question
Andrea Levy, The Long Song
Tom McCarthy, C
David Mitchell, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
Lisa Moore, February
Paul Murray, Skippy Dies
Rose Tremain, Trespass
Christos Tsiolkas, The Slap
Alan Warner, The Stars in the Bright Sky

I always find longlists fairly inscrutable documents, but this one seems more so than most, not least because I’ve only read three and a half of the books on it (I’m in the middle of Skippy Dies at present). The exclusion of both the Amis and the McEwan strikes me as highly commendable – I’ve made my views on the McEwan clear, and as my review for the ALR a while back probably made clear, I wasn’t a fan of the Amis either (I’m sorry, Martin, but as political analysis, “Women are cocks,” just doesn’t cut it in 2010) – but it has to be said that without them the list feels a little underpowered, despite the inclusion of repeat shortlistees and former winners Rose Tremain, Helen Dunmore and Howard Jacobson (obviously Peter Carey adds a bit of wattage, but less than he might once have). It’s possible the crowd-pleasing David Mitchell makes up for that, and the Murray deserves more attention than it’s had, but beyond a general feeling there seems to be a trend towards sprawling, energetic books dependent upon pastiche (Carey, Mitchell, Murray) on the one hand, a preference for energy over refinement (Carey, Tsiolkas) and a preference for established writers over new talent I’m going to have to hold back until I’ve read a few more of them.

As for the shortlist and the eventual winner? Despite my qualms about it, my money’s on the Mitchell, which has been reviewed with great excitement around the world, not least because of the longstanding view that Mitchell should have won in 2004. The Slap might well make it through as well, though that may just be my preference for the home team speaking. Despite the fact I’m enjoying it, I’m less sure about the Murray’s chances of making the shortlist, and I’d say the Carey was about 60/40 to make it through.

Please discuss . . .

6 Comments Post a comment
  1. William #

    Oh, how disappointing not to see the latest masterwork from the great ‘Australian writer’ and expert on what we should be reading, Bryce Courtenay, listed among the Booker Prize list.

    How will we poor Australian illiterates know what we should be reading? Perhaps Bryce will let us know.

    July 28, 2010
  2. Balaram sahu(landmark bøok store) #

    Hi,i think this year man Booker prize will own David mitcheel.

    July 29, 2010
  3. Balaram sahu(landmark bøok store) #

    Hi,whoever read books please read this book which is longlisted by the Author of David mitcheel on this year

    Balaram sahu
    Landmark book store

    July 29, 2010
  4. Mary bennet #

    Oh Balaru wherever you are, I did read it and thought there should have been a large warning sticker for the squeamish on the cover saying “graphically describes the dangers of childbirth”. The first chapter was almost as hard going as Margot Lanagan’s “Tender Morsels”.

    Back to the Booker list, I find them almost as impenetrable as the Academy Award nominees where most of the movies haven’t been released here but I’d be surprised if “The Slap” did well. It didn’t seem “literary” enough for the Booker judges and unlike most people I thought it had a paint by numbers plot of “let’s include every age group and ethnicity” and I hate books that use bands as lazy shorthand to describe people or generations.

    But then, Peter Carey again? Hasn’t he won it twice already and he was so mean about his ex. (I’m sure the Academy thinks this way if not the Booker judges.)

    I’m hoping someone I’ve never heard of wins.

    July 30, 2010

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