2005 BOOKER PRIZE for FICTION SHORTLIST
A triumph for British and Irish fiction
THE SHORTLIST is out finally. Sadly, James Meek’s The People’s Act of Love is not on it! John Banville, Julian Barnes and playwright Sebastian Barry are in. And both Ali Smith and Zadie Smith are in as well. The only former Booker Prize winner to make it to the final round is Kazuo Ishiguro (who won the Booker Prize in 1989 for The Remains of the Day), while J.M. Coetzee, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie failed to make the shortlist. It is also sad that many good novels were excluded, especially Hilary Mantel’s Beyond Black. Faber & Faber and Hamish Hamilton each has two books on the shortlist, while Picador and Jonathan Cape each has a book on the shortlist.
I’m rooting for Ali Smith and Sebastian Barry, though I think Julian Barnes will finally get his Booker Prize. Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go is good, but not as good as The Remains of the Day (1989). Zadie Smith’s On Beauty is a modern reworking and a wonderful homage to E.M. Forster’s Howards End (1910), but I think White Teeth (1999) is the better book. However, On Beauty is not an easy book to write. I think John Banville wrote a better book with The Book of Evidence (1989). However, Julian Barnes, Sebastian Barry and Ali Smith may have written their best books. Therefore, my money’s on Julian Barnes’s Arthur & George, Sebastian Barry’s A Long Long Way and Ali Smith’s The Accidental. Barnes has written a very well realised, polished effort that deserves to be acknowledged.
The winner of the 2005 Booker Prize for Fiction will be announced on October 10, 2005.
The Sea (Picador) / John Banville
Arthur & George (Jonathan Cape) / Julian Barnes
A Long Long Way (Faber & Faber) / Sebastian Barry
Never Let Me Go (Faber & Faber) / Kazuo Ishiguro
The Accidental (Hamish Hamilton) / Ali Smith
On Beauty (Hamish Hamilton) / Zadie Smith