Editorial: Booker Prize longlist

Posted on August 8, 2007 in News & Reviews

Blimey!  Summer must be over before it’s begun, for the Booker Prize longlist is already upon us.  Having had a look at the list, I must admit that I’m a tad disappointed, as practically none of the titles I’d really enjoyed this year has made it: no A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam, no Ishq and Mushq by Priya Basil, and no The End of Mr. Y by Scarlett Thomas.  I don’t know if any of these novels were even eligible or if they were entered, but even though I have been reading a lot this year, I’m not familiar with many of the longlisted titles.  Other commentators in the media have pointed out that some literary heavyweights are missing from the list, such as Thomas Kenneally, Doris Lessing, J. M. Coetzee, and Sebastian Faulks, and that this is a triumph for the emergence of new talent.  However, Ian McEwan is now the bookies’ favourite with the admittedly exquisite On Chesil Beach.  The Telegraph quotes Janine Cook, Waterstone’s fiction buyer, as saying "This is the Man Booker at its best – a longlist that champions new and emerging writers without fear of offending the old guard", although I think the selection could have been bolder, and who cares about offending the old guard anyway?  I do hope that the only controversy at the Booker this year is not whether On Chesil Beach is technically a novel or not…  However, much as I enjoyed McEwan’s latest effort, as someone who’s bored numb by the same person always walking off with the Wimbledon title, I really want a fresh face to win the Booker this year.

Kevin Mahoney

The Longlist

Darkmans by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)

Self Help by Edward Docx (Picador)

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon)

The Gathering by Anne Enright (Jonathan Cape)

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton)

The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies (Sceptre)

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones (John Murray)

Gifted by Nikita Lalwani (Viking)

On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan (Jonathan Cape)

What Was Lost by Catherine O’Flynn (Tindal Street)

Consolation by Michael Redhill (William Heinemann)

Animal’s People by Indra Sinha (Simon & Schuster)

Winnie & Wolf by A N Wilson (Hutchinson)

For more details about the Man Book Prize, please visit http://www.themanbookerprize.com