Who is your favourite to win this year? Have you read any of the contenders? What’s next on your reading list? For the next couple of weeks, I would love to talk to as many of you as possible about this year’s Man Booker Prize! Join the conversation here, on twitter or on Instagram.
What I have read so far and how I would rank them…
1. Reservoir 13 (Jon McGregor)
So far this has been the standout novel for me. The opening chapter grabs the attention but the authors beautiful writing holds it. I read this novel in two or three huge chunks to fully experience the sheer poetry and lyricism present throughout. The ending might frustrate some but I think that the sum of the parts is better than the whole in this case. A Man Booker Prizewinner should be a classic that will uphold over time and I think that this book will do just that. One that I can see myself going back to. Read my full review here.
2. Lincoln in the Bardo (George Saunders)
An avid reader on Instagram proclaimed that this candidate ‘reinvents the novel’ and ‘pushes the boundaries to its absolute limits.’ I am inclined to agree. Built around the death of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, this novel describes the twenty four hours after the boy is placed in his final resting place. Using real and fictional testimony, Saunders writes a heartbreaking tale about love, loss and trying to move on. In parts, this novel is a real tearjerker. Also, historical references also give the reader a flavour of what it was like to be alive (and dead!) during the American Civil War. This one might win because of its sheer inventiveness. I would not disagree if it did so.
3. Days Without End (Sebastian Barry)
I love this book for many reasons and it seems that I am not the only one. Days Without End has won buckets of awards upon it publication late last year. Taking the Man Booker Prize would be the cherry on top. This is a hollywood blockbuster of a novel that features the typically amazing penmanship of author Sebastian Barry. The battle scenes in particular are a joy to read for their searing and visceral reality. If this one wins I will be completely surprised because the winner rarely goes to the most popular with the general public. Read my full review here.
4. Autumn (Ali Smith)
I listened to this as an audiobook so I feel like I did not give it a fair chance. At the moment, I have a hard copy at my beside to give it a second chance. My initial gut feeling is that I preferred Girl Meets Boy by the same author much more. I thought that that novel had a better flow and a more relatable story. This novel is held up as ‘the first Brexit novel’ but I don’t think that this makes it any more important or relevant. Other reviewers have praised it for its prose regarding the season of autumn, but I found that Reservoir 13 blew it away in this regard. I will agree though that the relationship between the two main characters, Elizabeth and Daniel, is adorable and I enjoyed this part of the novel very much. Maybe I got this one all wrong, do let me know what you think!
Next up I hope to read… Solar Bones (Mike McCormack)
Who are you tipping for this year’s prize? Who will make the final shortlist?