2013 Man Booker Prize "long list" announced
August 1, 2013 9:35 AM   Subscribe

Looking for a great read by a UK / Commonwealth writer? A slate of 13 novels were just announced for this year's Man Booker Prize longlist.

Here are some reviews of the nominees:

- Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw
- We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo
- The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
- Harvest by Jim Crace
- The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris
- The Kills by Richard House
- The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Unexploded by Alison MacLeod
- TransAtlantic by Colum McCann
- Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
- A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki
- The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan
- The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

(U.S. readers should note that not all of the titles have appeared yet on this side of the Atlantic.)

Also, LA Times Book section discussion of the list. A short list of nominees is set to be announced in September, and the winner will be announced on October 15th.
posted by aught (12 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Good to see Jim Crace in there, although I never found any of his books as absorbing as the very first one I read, Being Dead.
posted by yoink at 9:55 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

What qualifies Lahiri? Just the fact that she was born in the UK? Calling her a UK/Commonwealth writer is quite a stretch....
posted by mr_roboto at 10:06 AM on August 1, 2013

Just in case anyone's wondering about the demographic breakdown:

Tash Aw: Malaysian-British, male
NoViolet Bulawayo: Zimbabwean, female
Eleanor Catton: New Zealand, female
Jim Crace: British, male
Eve Harris: Israeli-Polish-British, female
Richard House: British (I think), male
Jhumpa Lahiri: Indian-American, female
Alison MacLeod: British (I think), female
Colum McCann: Irish, male
Charlotte Mendelson: British, female
Ruth Ozeki: Japanese-American-Canadian, female
Donal Ryan: Irish, male
Colm Toibin: Irish, male

Not that bad!
posted by troika at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

I haven't read any of these yet, but I admit I'm rooting for Donal Ryan just based on this.
posted by scody at 10:12 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

What qualifies Lahiri?

To be eligible you have to be a citizen of a Commonwealth country, I believe, so I assume she has dual citizenship. She was born in London, so she would obviously qualify for that.
posted by yoink at 10:23 AM on August 1, 2013

Also, India is part of the Commonwealth. I don't know whether Jhumpa Lahiri qualifies because of her connection with the UK or with India, but it could be either.

In any case, very excited for her new book, and also for Ruth Ozeki's.
posted by snorkmaiden at 10:34 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

It's Commonwealth countries plus Ireland and Zimbabwe, which are still withdrawn from the Commonwealth

Right. "Commonwealth or former Commonwealth" I guess. I don't think Lahiri would qualify on the basis of an ancestral connection to India, although I suppose it's possible she may have Indian citizenship via her parents.
posted by yoink at 10:39 AM on August 1, 2013

so has anyone read these books? anyone have suggestions on which one i should start first?
posted by raihan_ at 11:07 AM on August 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

Reads blurbs, drinks heavily
posted by fallingbadgers at 11:35 AM on August 1, 2013

so has anyone read these books? anyone have suggestions on which one i should start first?

Many of them look intriguing. I have liked Jim Crace's earlier novels, and Five Star Billionaire, The Luminaries, and The Kills in particular appealed to me (I tend to lean toward complicated novels, and genre novels). Toibin's Testament of Mary is also intriguing (and not just because it resonates with MeFi's Reza Aslan thread about the academic, writing about Jesus, getting treated weirdly by Fox News, that I read through earlier today.)

Worth noting several of them might be hard to get in the U.S. unfortunately. (The Alison Macleod, Richard House, and Charlotte Mendelson titles don't look to be easily available in the U.S. when I did some searches earlier today unless one is willing to pay shipping from a UK bookseller.)

Here are the Goodreads ratings for each one, if you care about ratings... hope it helps.

- Five Star Billionaire (Tash Aw) - 3.49
- We Need New Names (NoViolet Bulawayo) - 3.75
- The Luminaries (Eleanor Catton) - 4.60
- Harvest (Jim Crace) - 3.54
- The Marrying of Chani Kaufman (Eve Harris) - 4.12
- The Kills (Richard House) - n/r
- The Lowland (Jhumpa Lahiri) - 4.31
- Unexploded (Alison MacLeod) - 4.00
- TransAtlantic (Colum McCann) - 3.99
- Almost English (Charlotte Mendelson) - 3.57
- A Tale for the Time Being (Ruth Ozeki) - 4.04
- The Spinning Heart (Donal Ryan) - 4.17
- The Testament of Mary (Colm Tóibín) - 3.57
posted by aught at 11:55 AM on August 1, 2013 [2 favorites]

I got the Colum McCann and Tash Aw books from the library at the weekend and haven't cracked either of them yet. Better get to finishing them, there'll be a whole lot more holds today! I love Colm Toibin but wasn't crazy about this book of his.
posted by jamesonandwater at 12:41 PM on August 1, 2013

I've only read the Ozeki book, and despite liking her earlier work, I was disappointed in this one.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 3:53 PM on August 1, 2013

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