The Book Catapult

Man Booker 2011

Once again, I am trying to find meaning in another meaningless literary award. (I might be a complete idiot.) The 2011 Man Booker Prize longlist was announced today – aka: The Man Booker Dozen (as the Booker people like to style it.) The nominees are:

Julian Barnes – The Sense of an Ending
Sebastian Barry – On Canaan’s Side
Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie
Patrick deWitt – The Sisters Brothers
Esi Edugyan – Half Blood Blues
Yvvette Edwards – A Cupboard Full of Coats
Alan Hollinghurst – The Stranger’s Child
Stephen Kelman – Pigeon English
Patrick McGuinness – The Last Hundred Days
A.D. Miller – Snowdrops
Alison Pick – Far to Go
Jane Rogers – The Testament of Jessie Lamb
D.J. Taylor – Derby Day

The board of judges this year is chaired by Stella Rimington, a B-list mystery novelist (at best) & former director general of MI5. Matthew d’Ancona, Susan Hill, Chris Mullin (the author/politician, not the retired shooting guard from the Golden State Warriors), & book critic Gaby Wood round it out. I suppose even with Rimington directing things, this is a somewhat better panel than last year (which featured a poet, a dancer, & a writer from the Financial Times.) But I have to say, the field itself looks a bit weak, compared to other years. Julian Barnes seems to me to be the early favorite, as a 3-time shortlister & a generally good chap. Then again, Alan Hollinghurst is the one who stole David Mitchell’s Prize in 2004, so maybe he’s the darkhorse favorite. That’s right, I said “stole.” Cloud Atlas vs The Line of Beauty. “The line of who?” you ask. “Exactly,” I say.

I’ve heard great things about Sebastian Barry’s book, which sits waiting on my desk as we speak. Of course, I’m pulling for Carol Birch, author of Jamrach’s Menagerie (see my little blurb from the other day.)  Yes, I read yet another book written by a lady! Shocking! That’s FIVE for the year – and it’s only July!

Anybody read any of these? Care to chime in? Does anyone even care about the Booker these days?

One comment on “Man Booker 2011

  1. Anonymous
    September 4, 2011

    Thought I had added a post here. I highly, truly, really recommend “The Sisters Brothers”. Enough of our library patrons have read and enjoyed it. It is the selected title for our December book discussion group.

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This entry was posted on July 27, 2011 by in Uncategorized.

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