2014 Man Booker Prize Shortlist

It’s an exciting time of the year when the Man Booker prize shortlist is released.  Today is that day!

“Two authors have previously appeared on the prize shortlist. Howard Jacobson is a former winner of the prize, with The Finkler Question, in 2010. Ali Smith has been shortlisted twice before, with The Accidental (2005) and Hotel World (2001).”  (read more)

Here are the 6 shortlisted novels:

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Paul O’Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn’t know how to live in it. He’s a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God.  Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online “Paul” might be a better version of the real thing. As Paul’s quest to learn why his identity has been stolen deepens, he is forced to confront his troubled past and his uncertain future in a life disturbingly split between the real and the virtual.  At once laugh-out-loud funny about the absurdities of the modern world, and indelibly profound about the eternal questions of the meaning of life, love and truth, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour is a deeply moving and constantly surprising tour de force. (GoodReads)

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

 

Richard Flanagan’s story — of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle’s wife — journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.  Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho’s travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds. (GoodReads)

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

Meet the Cooke family. Our narrator is Rosemary Cooke. As a child, she never stopped talking; as a young woman, she has wrapped herself in silence: the silence of intentional forgetting, of protective cover. Something happened, something so awful she has buried it in the recesses of her mind.  Now her adored older brother is a fugitive, wanted by the FBI for domestic terrorism. And her once lively mother is a shell of her former self, her clever and imperious father now a distant, brooding man.  And Fern, Rosemary’s beloved sister, her accomplice in all their childhood mischief? Fern’s is a fate the family, in all their innocence, could never have imagined. (GoodReads)

J by Howard Jacobson

J

Set in the future – a world where the past is a dangerous country, not to be talked about or visited – J is a love story of incomparable strangeness, both tender and terrifying.  Two people fall in love, not yet knowing where they have come from or where they are going. Kevern doesn’t know why his father always drew two fingers across his lips when he said a world starting with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place to be asking questions. Ailinn too has grown up in the dark about who she was or where she came from. On their first date Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn’t ask who hurt her. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren’t sure if they have fallen in love of their own accord, or whether they’ve been pushed into each other’s arms. But who would have pushed them, and why?  Hanging over the lives of all the characters in this novel is a momentous catastrophe – a past event shrouded in suspicion, denial and apology, now referred to as What Happened, If It Happened. (GoodReads)

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

The Lives of Others

Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note.  The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider.  Ambitious, rich and compassionate The Lives of Others anatomises the soul of a nation as it unfolds a family history. A novel about many things, including the limits of empathy and the nature of political action, it asks: how do we imagine our place amongst others in the world? Can that be reimagined? And at what cost? This is a novel of unflinching power and emotional force. (GoodReads)

How to be Both by Ali Smith

How to be both

How to be both is a novel all about art’s versatility. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving genre-bending conversation between forms, times, truths and fictions. There’s a renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structural gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real – and all life’s givens get given a second chance. (GoodReads)

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Verity M

WRITER #Reading #Photography #Creativity #LifeDesign blogging on Lilolia. Van Gogh: "It is good to love many things, for therein lies strength..."

One thought on “2014 Man Booker Prize Shortlist”

  1. Well, there are more fairly interesting ones on the list than I feared there might be after the rule changes. I don’t know if I’ll read them all this year but I like the look of the Mukherjee and I’ve seen a couple of very positive reviews of J…

    Thanks for posting the list – I’d forgotten it was due out this week. 🙂

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