The Booker Long List: Cracey Cracey Nights

on Wednesday, July 24, 2013
Well, if you've been on book mars or hiding under some form of Royal Baby rock you might have missed the announcement of this year's Booker Prize long list today. It's a pretty even handed affair - eclectic, seemingly readable, a nice mix of populist and literary fiction. The judges have clearly paid heed to the criticisms levelled against their predecessors. No doubt the appearance of two new major prizes on the literary landscape has also been weighing on their minds.

Once again it's a case of big hitters (Lahiri, Ozecki, Aw, McCann) being pitted against some lesser known upstarts (Bulawayo, Harris, Ryan). I'm particularly excited about two of the titles that got a nod: Harvest by Jim Crace and The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton. I haven't read the latter but this young New Zealander's last novel, The Rehearsal, was one of the best debuts that I have ever read. As for Crace, well, the guy really is my sentimental favourite. Leaving aside my love for his early work (Quarantine, Continent, Arcadia - which, of course are offset by the sheer awfulness of some of his more recent stuff) and his announcement earlier this year that he is retiring from writing, Harvest is a wonderful book that deserves the Booker more than many of the books that have actually won it over the past few years. Also, props for the inclusion of Colm Toibin's brilliant The Testament of Mary, which I feared the committee would snub given its brevity.

Anyway, for those who can't be bothered hitting the website, the full Booker Dozen is:

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw (Fourth Estate)
We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo (Chatto & Windus)
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton (Granta)
Harvest by Jim Crace (Picador)
The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris (Sandstone Press)
The Kills by Richard House (Picador)
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (Bloomsbury)
Unexploded by Alison MacLeod ( Hamish Hamilton)
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann (Bloomsbury)
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson (Mantle)
A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki (Canongate)
The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan (Doubleday Ireland)
The Testament of Mary Colm Tóibín (Viking)


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