Booking a Room with a View

Join me as I shuttle and shoulder through the worlds of literature, cinema, and the awards seasons attending both.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

And the 2009 Man Booker Prize shortlist is:

AS Byatt's The Children's Book
JM Coetzee's Summertime
Adam Foulds's The Quickening Maze
Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall
Simon Mawer's The Glass Room
Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger

Of these, I've read The Little Stranger and while I found it quite spooky, I also thought it might have benefited from the shifts in perspective that gave her two previous shortlisted novels (Fingersmith and The Night Watch) such architectural and empathetic depth (although it must be said that Waters's strict adherence to Dr Faraday's interpretation of events does lend the narrative a kind of claustrophobia which, in turn, heightens the terror of the piece -- which may have been her aim). I've purchased the Byatt and Mantel novels from Amazon UK and will be reading Wolf Hall while my wife is in Paris later this month. Coetzee's novel -- because I haven't read, and am indifferent to the idea of reading, its predecessors Boyhood and Youth -- doesn't interest me. Mawer's hadn't interested me, but the extravagant praise from those readers and bloggers who made it a point to read all thirteen longlisted novels has made me, at least, curious. I almost gave in and ordered the Foulds novel alongside the Mantel and Byatt as it hasn't (yet) secured an American publication date (whereas both The Children's Book and Wolf Hall will be published stateside in October), but went with Adam Thorpe's Hodd (which, in all likelihood, will never be published in America -- and, owing to Thorpe's French citizenship, was ineligible for the Booker Prize) instead.

The winner will be announced 6 October.

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