Here’s the Man Booker Prize longlist for 2008. Quite predictably, Superstar Rushdie is there. Kureishi, Carey and Lessing were not as lucky. There are some first-time novelists (5), but also ‘old glories’ (Amitav Ghosh, John Berger). Despite the fact that the judges claim to have reached a good geographical balance, there are no Caribbean or African writers on the list. Of course, this should represent the best of this year’s Commonwealth fiction in English, regardless of the country of origin. I wonder if the geographical spread is actually a factor in their decision making or if the judges simply choose the best works of fiction.
Since we’re talking of the Booker Prize, all novels are worth reading. Judging from the synopsis, De Kretser’s and Hanif’s novels are the ones I really look forward to read. My wanna read choices are in violet, as usual.
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (India): Indian stories are always appealing these days;
- Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor Arnold (UK)
- The Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (Ireland)
- From A to X by John Berger (UK): it hasn’t been published yet, but it looks tempting;
- The Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser (Australia / Sri Lanka): already on ‘The Guardian’’s reading list, the buzz of the year;
- Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (India)
- The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (UK): London Jewish family in the 1970s, interesting;
- A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammad Hanif (Pakistan): quirkily interesting;
- The Northern Clemency by Philip Hensher (UK)
- Netherland by Joseph O'Neill (Ireland): 9/11 novel set in the USA;
- The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (India / UK): I swear I’m not gonna read this before Midnight’s Children, plus I’m beginning to be a bit fed up with Mr Rushdie. He’s everywhere!
- Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (UK)
- A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (Australia)