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Saturday, July 28, 2012

The 2012 Man Booker Longlist (with comments by Liviu Suciu)

A few days ago the Man Booker prize has announced its 2012 longlist;  12 novels of which many are from less well known writers and a few which have been published by smaller presses in the UK at least. The US availability of the titles varies though.

Nicola Barker, The Yips (Fourth Estate)
André Brink, Philida (Harvill Secker)
Michael Frayn, Skios (Faber & Faber)
Deborah Levy, Swimming Home (And Other Stories)
Will Self, Umbrella (Bloomsbury)
Jeet Thayil, Narcopolis (Faber and Faber)
Sam Thompson, Communion Town (Fourth Estate)

Of the list above, I read Bring up the Bodies (and hope to have a review later in the year) which has been installed as the favorite sort of by default. The sequel to the acclaimed Wolf Hall (FBC Rv), winner of the prize in 2009 and top 25 novel of mine in that year as well as the middle book of a trilogy following the life of Thomas Cromwell, Bring up the Bodies is tighter and more accessible than Wolf Hall, though I missed a little the sprawling nature of the first book as well as its more difficult but also more rewarding style. Still a top 25 novel of the year as it is just a great read.

The big surprise for me was Tan Twan Eng's second novel, The Garden of Evening Mists which was another book I have been looking for every year since I've read the wonderful The Gift of Rain in 2008. I actually discovered The Gift of Rain from the Booker longlist and it was a top 25 novel of the year for me also. I have not written anything about it, as The Gift of Rain came before I started keeping my reading journal on Goodreads and doing full reviews here, but I plan to remedy that soon either with a  full review on FBC or at least talking a little about it in the introduction to the review of The Garden of Evening Mists which I plan to do for its US publication date on September 4.

As I have not seen a new book by Tan Twan Eng for a few years, I forgot to check recently and so I was really surprised but delighted to see The Garden of Evening Mists and of course I got the UK edition on the spot and it starts as haunting and as memorably as The Gift of Rain so I expect another top 25 read of the year.

Of direct sffnal interest there seem to be three books, Communion Town, The Teleportation Accident and Umbrella and I will check them out when a copy will come into my hands or I see one in a bookstore and actually I plan to do that with pretty much all 10 books on the list I have not heard of before as who knows, I may discover another big time favorite!


vikzwrites said...

I have added you to my booker blogroll @

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