And the nominees are:
Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss Hamish HamiltonHermione Lee, Chair of Judges, comments:
Kate Grenville The Secret River Canongate
M.J. Hyland Carry Me Down Canongate
Hisham Matar In the Country of Men Viking
Edward St Aubyn Mother’s Milk Picador
Sarah Waters The Night Watch Virago
Each of these novels has what we as judges were most looking for, a distinctive original voice, an audacious imagination that takes readers to undiscovered countries of the mind, a strong power of story-telling and a historical truthfulness. Each of these novels creates a world you inhabit without question or distrust while you are reading, and a mood, an atmosphere, which lasts long after the reading is over.You can read about the shortlisted novels at the Booker website.
I was sure the Sarah Waters and Hisham Matar would make it. But surprises there are: Carey isn't going to "threepeat", (though he does have the Victorian Premier's Award to console him), and David Mitchell was hotly tipped. But as always I'm happy to have quality stuff recommended for me that I might not have otherwise found.
Here's the report on the shortlist in the Guardian. Literary editor, Claire Armitstead, calls the selection "respectable but not startling". Bookmakers, William Hill are reportedly very happy, because most literary punters lost their bets!
Boyd Tonkin in the Independent points out that several subjects recurred, including the world as viewed through the eyes of children, life in exile and anti-Americanism.
Meanwhile, the Australians are delighted by their writers "bookending" the selection.
There are links to Guardian reviews of all the books here, whilst all the Times reviews are here.