I flip opened the newspaper yesterday and came to know of the shortlist announced by the Man Booker Prize this year.
I must say a lot of the books on the longlist and shortlist, pique me with a renewed interest than I could possibly have for Man Booker Prize. I have 4 out of the 6 shortlists besides “J” and “How to be Both“. Here’s what The Guardian said and what I think on my first impression:
The shortlist and what the Guardian said about them:
To Rise Again At a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
“To Rise Again at a Decent Hour at times struggles to bear the weight of its conceit (digressions into the history of the Amalekites confound after a while), but at its best it is enormously impressive: profoundly and humanely engaged with the mysteries of belief and disbelief, linguistically agile and wrongfooting, and dismayingly funny in the way that only really serious books can be.”
– I read a third of the book and concluded that I don’t have the same sense of humour as Ferris, nonetheless I’ll try to finish the book and see what I think about it.
“One would notice, if not swept along by the tale, that the allocation of time to characters, the certainty of the narration, the confidence to pause and then lunge on,
to play with time, are all bravura accomplishments. We don’t notice, though. Flanagan is too good to let us.”
– I began reading this yesterday on the train and the opening was appealing. I love all books set in the South East Asia, Thailand and Burma with WWII historical spin on the Burma Death Railway, it sounds intriguing. Last year a New Zealander won the prize, not sure if this is a deliberate attempt by the judges to be as “international” as possible and have chosen a diverse range of authors from around the world in this shortlist.
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
“Many a novel has devoted itself to exploring variations of Larkin’s lament about what mums and dads do to their kids. But if any other book has done it as exhilaratingly as the achingly funny, deeply serious heart-breaker that is Fowler’s 10th novel, and made it ring true for the whole of mankind, I’ve yet to read it.”
– I finished reading this a few days ago. Although I enjoy some parts and heart breaking at the other, I think the melancholy was dragged on too long at the end….. still, I am glad to see this on the short list.
“To say J is unlike any other novel Jacobson has written would be misleading: the same ferocious wit runs throughout, while the minutiae of male-female relations are as sharply portrayed as ever. Nevertheless, the comparisons that will inevitably be made with earlier dystopian visions – George Orwell, of course, and the Aldous Huxley of Brave New World, but also Yevgeny Zamyatin’s We – will not be difficult to justify.”
– Twice shortlisted, one as winner. It interests me that I have never read Howard Jaconson’s books before, maybe I should now.
“The cast is huge and the reader spends time, at one point or another, with most of them. It takes a while to get to know all the men, women and children, but the story is always gripping, and there are various time-bombs that suddenly change the way we see the book’s whole world.”
– I have always wanted to read Neel Mukherjee’s “A Life Apart”, suppose with this shortlist Mukherjee has risen to prominence in the literary world.
How to Be Both by Ali Smith
“There is no doubt that Smith is dazzling in her daring. The sheer inventive power of her new novel pulls you through, gasping, to the final page.”
– I don’t think Ali Smith’s writing agree with me. Since There But For The, I am not sure if I like to read another book from Ali Smith. I may be wrong.
The winner will be announced on 14 October, until then what do you think about the shortlist, would you read any of these before the winner is announced on the 14th October?