What the Book?!
Boy, was I wrong! But not as wrong as the Man Booker Prize judges. Here’s the shortlist they’ve just announced:
The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
Most notable: no Hollinghurst! What I thought was easily the best novel of those I’ve read so far didn’t make the cut. I’m delighted to see The Sisters Brothers there; it was a fun read and deserves to be recognised. Jamrach’s Menagerie too was enjoyable and is worthy of inclusion. I’ve recently started reading Half Blood Blues and so far it seems good. Pigeon English failed to impress me, and I’m surprised to see it there. It must have hit a chord with the judges that it failed to do with me. What really shocked me was the inclusion of Snowdrops. I really don’t get it. I thought it was dull, predictable and poorly written. I identified with the protagonist only to the extent that slogging through this least thrilling of thrillers felt like enduring an endless Russian winter.
Oddly, despite only having finished six books, I’ve read five of the shortlist and have already made a considerable dent in the remaining one. This makes the challenge of reading the shortlist trivial and I expect to have it done by the end of the week. The original challenge of completing the longlist now seems a little more daunting as there’s less incentive. I do intend to read them, though, if for no other reason than to find something worse than Snowdrops.
- Booker prize shortlist 2011: who do you think will be on it? (guardian.co.uk)
- Man Booker shortlist: the verdict (telegraph.co.uk)
- Booker prize 2011 shortlist drops Hollinghurst in favour of first-timers (guardian.co.uk)
- Booker Prize rows and insults (telegraph.co.uk)