This year’s prestigious prize has not only seen some extremely evocative and thought-provoking narratives, but a number of differences from previous years. It was decided to expand borders by including the diversity of the English novel regardless of author nationality; previously, the prize was only open to authors from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth, Republic of Ireland and Zimbabwe. But while we have seen an addition of these global admissions, the shortlist controversially includes: 3 British writers; 2 American authors; and 1 New Zealand author. With that said, let’s take a look at the very first American authors to appear on the jury’s shortlist:
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Joshua Ferris (Viking)
We are all completely beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler (Serpent’s Tail)
J, Howard Jacobson (Jonathon Cape)
The Narrow Road to the Deep North, Richard Flanagan (Chatto & Windus)
How to be Both, Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton)
The Lives of Others, Neel Mukherjeff (Chatto & Windus)
New Leaf; New Page
These 6 quite exceptional novels are arguably the best the Man Booker Group has selected for quite some time, but there can only be one winner; set to be announced on Tuesday, 14th October with a £50,000 prize – we can already hear the tapping of keyboards and scratching of pens for next year’s competition.
However, not only has there been some controversy this year due to its selection, the shortlist has not avoided personal controversy. The exclusion of David Mitchell’s long-listed novel The Bone Clocks (Sceptre) came as a shock to me, and most notably, Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Goldfinch (Little, Brown & Company); the biggest achievement in literary fiction, for me, since Salman Rushdie’s Midnight Children (Man Booker Prize Winner 1981). But whatever your go-to genre is, we hope this small list of novels will inspire you to head down to your local library, or get a copy on your e-reader. Either way: Happy reading.