Friday, September 07, 2007

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.

Could this be the year of Lloyd Jones and Mister Pip? Could this be the year of Anne Enright and The Gathering? Or will it be the year of Indra Sinha and Animal’s People?

The winner will be announced on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, in London


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the shortlist was not too bad a selection!

Thursday, September 06, 2007 8:59:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eric, thanks for recommending Indra Sinha's Animal's People!

Thursday, September 06, 2007 9:01:00 AM  
Anonymous bookaddict said...

Looks like all the first-timers got culled!

Thursday, September 06, 2007 9:33:00 AM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Looks like the Booker Prize will most probably go to one of the following authors: Anne Enright, Ian McEwan or Indra Sinha.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 9:35:00 AM  
Blogger Leon Wing said...

I'm rooting for Nicola Barker. I feel it's high time she wins, after her last longlisted 'Clear'. She has the most unique, most innovative style and way of telling a story. I just got 'Darkmans' a few day back. I don't think any book stores here locally now are stocking it at all.

Thursday, September 06, 2007 5:58:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

Hello Leon - Where did you buy your copy of Darkmans? I haven't seen any of it in the Malaysian bookshops. I believe it is quite a hefty tome!

Thursday, September 06, 2007 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Leon Wing said...

I ordered Darkmans from Kino three months back. But I'm guessing as it's in the shortlist now, Kino might bring new copies in and perhaps (guessing only, don't quote me!) at a 20% off.

Yes, it's over 800 pages and very, very heavy, because of the good quality paper.

Saturday, September 08, 2007 6:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who do you think will clinch the 2007 Man Booker Prize for Fiction?

Saturday, September 08, 2007 10:09:00 PM  
Blogger Eric Forbes said...

I believe Anne Enright's The Gathering, Lloyd Jones's Mister Pip, Ian McEwan's On Chesil Beach and Indra Sinha's Animal's People are the better novels amongst the six shortlisted titles. If I have to choose one, I will go for Mister Pip for its narrative eloquence and emotional weight.

Sunday, September 09, 2007 12:37:00 AM  
Blogger Vikram Johri said...

I second Eric. Mister Pip is indeed a well-written book. Bibliophiles will especially love it, because it doffs its hat to the power of good literature.

Sunday, September 09, 2007 7:04:00 AM  
Blogger Indra said...

Have just finished reading Darkmans and a wonderful novel it is. Can't speak too highly of the characterisation, the author's keen intelligence moving in every line. 833 pages, but I felt sorry as the end approached and wish it could have been twice as long.

Sunday, November 18, 2007 1:07:00 PM  

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