The post-mortemising of the Man Booker longlist has been playing out on the book pages and on the Booker bulletin boards, and these are so far the biggest controversies.
There were howls of protest of course for the novels readers feel should have been listed but weren't - the loudest for The Spare Room by Helen Garner (none more so than Canongate publisher Jamie Byng), and Tim Winton's Breath.
Then, over and over there's the same protest about Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 : "But it's a thriller!!"
"So what?" is my response, all that matters is that it measures up in terms of the quality of writing.
I wouldn't say this is the first thriller on the Booker longlist, as Brian Moore's 1990 shortlisted Lies of Silence fits the bill very nicely ... except that it wasn't called a thriller, because to call it a thriller would be to pander to the masses who aren't up to litfic.
I argued against such snobbish pigeon-holing here and I'm already grateful to Child 44 for widening the conversation.
Update 9/8/08 :
Scott Pack's post on this year's Booker kerfuffle is well worth reading.