Tuesday, September 08, 2009

When do they think we are?

The shortlist for the 2009 Man Booker Prize was announced this morning. (Morning?! Did they shit the bed? Or did they already know what the shortlist was going to be?) Anyway, the six books in the running are:

A.S. Byatt - The Children's Book (Random House - Chatto & Windus)
J.M. Coetzee - Summertime (Random House - Harvill Secker)
Adam Foulds - The Quickening Maze (Random House - Jonathan Cape)
Hilary Mantel - Wolf Hall (Harper Collins - Fourth Estate)
Simon Mawer - The Glass Room (Little, Brown)
Sarah Waters - The Little Stranger (Little, Brown - Virago)

These judges obviously love historical fiction. I know great contemporary fiction is hard to find, but that's ridiculous. Sorry, I'm just a bit aghast at the thought of trying to wade through the three books I least wanted to see on the list, the three that are also very difficult to get hold of at any of Nottinghamshire's public libraries - not because they don't have any copies but because they are in such demand...from old biddies probably.

Ian Rankin was bemoaning the exclusion of genre fiction from the Booker on last week's Newsnight Review, and normally I wouldn't agree - I think the prize should be for non-genre literary fiction - but the prevalence of historical fiction does make a mockery of the neglect of science fiction or crime novels which attempt to tell us something about our world today and tomorrow, instead of remastering the past. I blame Who Do You Think You Are?

The winner will be announced on October 6th.

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At Wednesday, September 16, 2009 at 4:38:00 PM GMT+1, Blogger jem said...

Just found your blog through your Goodreads account. I'm behind with my Booker blogging but enjoying my reading. Good to glance back through your posts, especially to see the books you think should have made the longlist, always a good way to pick up new recommendations.


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