Booker 2012: Longshots and Hitlists

on Thursday, July 26, 2012
Well, I stayed up until two o'clock last night frantically refreshing the Booker Prize homepage in the hope that the judges would see fit to let me sleep before the sun reared its ugly head on the horizon. Needless to say they didn't and so I fell asleep and dreamed of Booker glory for any number of dead mid 19th Century authors before Louie roused me from my nonsensical slumber at four o'clock to alert me that the list was up. Well, actually, he just needed a poop, but I like to think he had me in mind as well.

Following last year's debacle, I'm glad to see that Booker chair Sir Peter Stothard has managed to wrangle some semblance of respectability back for the prize, putting forward a well-balanced list of high-lit and intelligent popular fiction, old stalwarts and young upstarts. I'm sure much will be made of the notable absences (Ian McEwan, Nadine Gordimer, Peter Carey, Zadie Smith and, of course, J. K. Rowling), but piffle to all that. It's a good bunch of books. I'm especially pleased to learn that Andre Brink has a new novel in the offing (it comes out in September) and that he might finally get himself a Booker gong. God knows he deserves one! Also quite pleased to see Will Self and Ned Beauman get a nod. Anyway, here's the list for those of you who live on Book Mars:

The Yips by Nicola Barker
The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman
Philida by André Brink
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Skios by Michael Frayn
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Swimming Home by Deborah Levy
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore
Umbrella by Will Self
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil
Communion Town by Sam Thompson

It's probably too early to pick a winner, but the safe money would have to be on Mantel, Barker or Frayn. However, I'll keep flying the flag for Beauman and Brink. Whatever the outcome, it's looking like Booker is back on track.


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