2007 Man Booker Prize Shortlist
THE 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction shortlist was announced on Thursday, September 6, 2007. The following books and their authors have been shortlisted for what is considered one of the world’s premier and most prestigious literary prizes:
1. Darkmans (Fourth Estate, 2007) / Nicola Barker
2. The Gathering (Jonathan Cape, 2007) / Anne Enright
3. The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Hamish Hamilton, 2007) / Mohsin Hamid
4. Mister Pip (John Murray, 2007) / Lloyd Jones
5. On Chesil Beach (Jonathan Cape, 2007) / Ian McEwan
6. Animal’s People (Simon & Schuster, 2007) / Indra Sinha
Looks like Ian McEwan is once again in the running to be the third author to win the Booker Prize twice now that he has secured a placing on the shortlist with his novella, On Chesil Beach, a well realised piece of short fiction. (McEwan, of course, won the Booker Prize for Amsterdam in 1998.)
Yes, On Chesil Beach is a slight volume. However, the length of McEwan’s novella shouldn’t really be an issue. There are precedents to fall back on, after all: Penelope Fitzgerald’s Offshore—which is much shorter than On Chesil Beach—did win the Booker Prize in 1979. Also, this is not a first time for McEwan; two of his books that were shortlisted for the Booker Prize in the past were also novellas: The Comfort of Strangers in 1981 and Amsterdam (which is what I would call an almost-novel) in 1998. His only novel to be shortlisted was Atonement in 2002. Is McEwan’s melancholic dissection of a honeymooning couple’s sexual awkwardness good enough to win the 2007 Booker Prize for Fiction?
Nicola Barker, Mohsin Hamid and 2007 Commonwealth Writers Prize-winner Lloyd Jones have not been bypassed. Unfortunately, none of the first-time novelists (Peter Ho Davies, Nikita Lalwani, Catherine O’Flynn and Tan Twan Eng) and second-time novelists (Edward Docx and Michael Redhill) made it to the shortlist. The biggest casualty of the shortlist is seasoned British novelist A.N. Wilson. I am glad that a personal favourite of mine, Dublin-born Irish novelist Anne Enright, have been shortlisted. However, watch out for Bombay-born Indra Sinha, whose second novel, Animal’s People, is a compelling and sublime fictionalised account of a victim of the 1984 Union Carbide chemical-plant explosion disaster in Bhopal, India. It has an engaging narrator-protagonist with a heart-wrenching story to tell.