Thursday, September 14, 2006

Booker Shortlist Announced!

Woohoo! One of the most important moments in the fiction-lovers year: the announcement of the Booker shortlist. I have been sitting here at the computer the past hour or two waiting for the news to come in. (Sad life! Whisk me away, someone!)

And the nominees are:
Kiran Desai The Inheritance of Loss Hamish Hamilton
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
Hermione Lee, Chair of Judges, comments:
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.


Eric Forbes said...

Quite a good mix I would say, Sharon, not so stodgy as in the years past. There are more female writers than male writers this time round, perhaps a first in Booker history. Canongate has two writers on the shortlist: Kate Grenville and M.J. Hyland. And both of them are Australians, too. Most of the writers are new to the shortlist; the only writer who has appeared on the shortlist before is Sarah Waters for Fingersmith in 2002. Edward St Aubyn and Kiran Desai are very good. The only first fiction is by Hisham Matar.

bibliobibuli said...

as always, eric, you're way ahead of me. everytime i want to pick up one of the booker books i have to read something else ... for an article i'm writing or review. so i'm dying or frustration here.

Ted Mahsun said...

Hooray! I'm rooting for Hisham Matar!

Read@Peace said...

I am so rooting for Matar too, Ted. But still coming to grips with the fact that Mitchell and Messud have been bumped off. Both 'Black Swan Green' and 'The Emperor's Children' make for fascinating reading.

sympozium said...

It says a lot for Cannongate that after Pife Of Pi, and that other one, Crimson Petal or something, it has now managed to get two of its titles into the shortlist.