The Sunday Salon: All Things Booker

This week’s announcement of the Booker Prize Shortlist brought us one step closer to crowning this year’s winner.  But my, what a list !  This one has inspired much conversation and debate.  The shortlisted nominees are:

  • Parrot and Olivier in America, by Peter Carey
  • Room, by Emma Donoghue
  • In a Strange Room, by Damon Galgut
  • The Finkler Question, by Howard Jacobson
  • The Long Song, by Andrea Levy
  • C, by Tom McCarthy

I was disappointed that David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet didn’t make the cut.  I haven’t read the book (in fact, I haven’t read any of this year’s nominees yet), but I enjoyed Mitchell’s earlier work and would love to see him recognized.  I was surprised not to see Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap on the shortlist — this was one of the most controversial books on the longlist and I thought that alone might take it into the next round.  And finally, I would have preferred a different mix of books by women authors.  I’ve heard great things about Room, but not so much about The Long Song, which many of my reading friends consider the weakest book on this list.  The other female contenders were Rose Tremain and Helen Dunmore.  Like David Mitchell, they are fine authors, and I hope they are fortunate to be nominated again in the future.   Clearly the judges had their work cut out for them, having created such a fine longlist in the first place!

I’m looking forward to the winner’s announcement on October 12, especially since I make a point of reading each year’s winner in addition to selected works from the shortlists.  In fact, my reading has been rather Booker-centric this week as well.  I read J.G. Farrell’s Troubles which won the “Lost Man Booker Prize” earlier this year.  Unfortunately, it was a disappointment (read my review).  I had better luck with Life & Times of Michael K, the 1983 winner.  It was a quick read, and oddly fascinating (here’s my review).  And now, guess what?  I have read all but one of the 43 Booker Prize winners !!  For about three years, I’ve been actively pursuing a goal of reading all the winners.  And now only one book remains, the first Booker Prize winner:  Something to Answer For, by P.H. Newby, which I plan to read in October.  And then, of course, the 2010 winner, whatever it may be …

What do you think of the Booker Prize shortlist?

Any favorites or surprises?


Read more from The Sunday Salon here.


8 thoughts on “The Sunday Salon: All Things Booker

    • Iris, it has taken a concerted effort to read them all! I’ll post some kind of retrospective when I finish the list. I haven’t enjoyed all of them but overall it’s been a good way to find great literature.

  1. “Room” has been getting a bit of buzz but I too was surprised at their final selections, especially at the de Zoet getting eliminated. The panel is going to reread all the short listed ones before battling it out for October. Now that’s a committee I think you would have a blast being on!

  2. Congratulations on being so close to your goal! It’s very impressive! I agree that while one probably won’t love them all, it is a great way to be introduced to some strong and important works of literature.

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