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Thread: Man Booker Prize

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    Award Man Booker Prize

    For the last forty years the Booker prize (currently the Man Booker Prize) has been awarding a purse to whatever novel its judging panel deems to be the best book of the year by a Commonwealth or Irish novelist.

    Over the last sixteen years, though, the Man Group's sponsoring of literature worldwide has grown so that we now have the following prizes:

    All that seems to be missing is a Man sponsored prize for South America, one for Europe (excl. UK and Ireland) and, at a push, the United States, although the Pulitzer probably covers that 'book of the year' area.

    I'd like to think that, in time, the books can all be promoted together so that we can see what's currently deemed to be the best offerings from around the world. If anything, an umbrella award (like the Commonwealth Writers' Prize) could generate interest in other titles, especially translated ones. At the same time, if the books winning the prizes are translated, they will likely go to the bigger publishers and be promoted to the point that everything else falls under the radar.

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    Default Re: The Booker Prizes

    Yes, there are a lot of Bookers. The one for Russia is welcome, but one covering the whole of non-English-speaking Europe would be even more welcome.

    The International one stipulates that the book has to be available in English, a demand the Nobel has certainly never made. But I suppose that the sheer bureacracy involved in allowing anyone to enter in any language, would render the prize unworkable.

    When publishers, critics and reviewers in both Britain and the States begin to better understand the questions and issues involved when you deal with translations, then the focus of prizes will, no doubt, become sharper.

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    Award Man Booker Prize 2008

    The longlist for the Man Booker Prize 2008 has been announced.

    • The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga (Atlantic)
    • Girl In A Blue Dress, Gaynor Arnold (Tindal Street)
    • The Secret Scripture, Sebastian Barry (Faber & Faber)
    • From A To X, John Berger (Verso)
    • The Lost Dog, Michelle de Kretser (Chatto & Windus)
    • Sea Of Poppies, Amitav Ghosh (John Murray)
    • The Clothes On Their Backs, Linda Grant (Virago)
    • A Case Of Exploding Mangoes, Mohammed Hanif (Jonathan Cape)
    • The Northern Clemency, Philip Hensher (Fourth Estate)
    • Netherland, Joseph O’Neill (Fourth Estate)
    • The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape)
    • Child 44, Tom Rob Smith (Simon & Schuster)
    • A Fraction Of The Whole, Steve Toltz (Hamish & Hamilton)

    The shortlist will be announced six weeks from now, on 9th September, 2008, with the winner being declared on 14th October, 2008.

    This year’s panel of judges tasked with whittling down over a hundred titles to the thirteen above, and ultimately to the winner, are:
    Michael Portillo (Chair)
    Alex Clark
    Louise Doughty
    James Heneage
    Hardeep Singh Kohli

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Stewart, I think you said that you were aiming to read the full shortlist ? have you read any of these at this juncture?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Sybarite View Post
    Stewart, I think you said that you were aiming to read the full shortlist
    I wouldn't do a cop out like that. The longlist. All thirteen, like I did last year.

    – have you read any of these at this juncture?
    Sadly not. Having got a copy of the Hensher and Rushdie from Amazon, I've got these titles:

    • The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga (Atlantic)
    • A Case Of Exploding Mangoes, Mohammed Hanif (Jonathan Cape)
    • The Northern Clemency, Philip Hensher (Fourth Estate)
    • Netherland, Joseph O’Neill (Fourth Estate)
    • The Enchantress Of Florence, Salman Rushdie (Jonathan Cape)

    I honestly can't believe the Tom Rob Smith's Child 44 is anywhere near the longlist as I've always viewed it as little more than an overhyped thriller.

    What also surprises is the size of them. There's a lot of bricks in there, with the Toltz and Hensher over seven hundred pages, the Arnold over 500 and, I think, the Ghosh too.

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    I wouldn't do a cop out like that. The longlist. All thirteen, like I did last year.
    I did you a disservice, Sir, for which I apologise.

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    ... What also surprises is the size of them. There's a lot of bricks in there, with the Toltz and Hensher over seven hundred pages, the Arnold over 500 and, I think, the Ghosh too.
    Do you think that's all part of the whole thing about On Chesil Beach being too 'short' to be a novel? Is there some sort of idea floating around that books have to be big to be good?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    YES!!!!!!


    Thickies!!!

    Me so happy!!!

    I will order the Toltz asap and the hensher too.

    have read the rushdie

    and am verrrry happy to see Child44 there

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    oh and apparently I am the first to say this here but what the fuck? No Carey?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Mirabell View Post
    No Carey???
    No Galgut, no Winton, no Crumey. What's one more? As someone said on the Booker forum, and I paraphrase, it's been a good year for fiction and only the Booker judges don't know it. The one title that's causing a lot of disgust is Tom Rob Smith's Child 44, with many seeing it as a thriller and nothing more. I was offered a copy earlier in the year and refused on those grounds: it just didn't interest me.

    I've got all but two titles now, and that's only because they haven't been released yet, and will be getting on to them after I've finished my current read.

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    I've just read the Rushdie, but checked out the library catalogues first thing this morning and have a bunch of them on reserve. I started reading one of the two Australian entries, Michelle De Kretser's The Lost Dog, this afternoon.

    There's several of these that I've never heard of the novel or the author (Aravind Adiga, Gaynor Arnold, Tom Rob Smith), and others where I didn't realise a prominent author had a new novel out (Berger, Barry).

    It looks like an interesting list. I would have a strong expectation that the shortlist will include Rushdie (although will they let him win in the same year as he picked up his second best of the Booker?). He and Berger are the only previous winners on the longlist. Ghosh is such a wonderful writer he'd have to be a good chance. I strongly expect O'Neill to be on the shortlist from the reviews of Netherland. Steve Toltz is the other Australian and he could fill the Nicola Barker/Darkmans role. A Fraction of the Whole received very positive reviews here, and it's very long (700 odd pages) and a bit odd, from what I gather. Sebastian Barry is the only other writer with strong Booker form (shortlisted for A Long, Long Way), while Hensher and Grant have been longlisted before.
    ?He wishes he had never entered the funhouse. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. But he's not. Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator--though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    No Galgut, no Winton, no Crumey. What's one more? As someone said on the Booker forum, and I paraphrase, it's been a good year for fiction and only the Booker judges don't know it. The one title that's causing a lot of disgust is Tom Rob Smith's Child 44, with many seeing it as a thriller and nothing more. I was offered a copy earlier in the year and refused on those grounds: it just didn't interest me.
    There are always obvious omissions. Carey missed out last time too. Maybe they feel they've given him enough due with two wins, but His Illegal Self is really terrific writing. I'd be amazed if Steve Toltz lives up to that standard, but he's a young first novelist and he obviously fits into the other factors that they're looking for. De Kretser has form in Australian book prizes, but again it's surprising to see her there ahead of the frequently shortlisted Winton whose new one has been widely acclaimed here.
    ?He wishes he had never entered the funhouse. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. But he's not. Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator--though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Funhouse View Post
    Carey missed out last time too. Maybe they feel they've given him enough due with two wins, but His Illegal Self is really terrific writing.
    Carey was longlisted last time, with Theft: A Love Story, as I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. But I don't think they would choose not to give him another chance because they is not a constant, being a different panel with a different approach each year.

    I'd be amazed if Steve Toltz lives up to that standard, but he's a young first novelist and he obviously fits into the other factors that they're looking for. De Kretser has form in Australian book prizes, but again it's surprising to see her there ahead of the frequently shortlisted Winton whose new one has been widely acclaimed here.
    It's looked like a bumper year for Australian fiction with the likes of Helen Garner's The Spare Room, Alexis Wright's Carpentaria, Tim Winton's Breath, Peter Carey's His Illegal Self, Michelle de Kretser's The Lost Dog, Steve Toltz's A Fraction Of The Whole, and even Rhyll McMaster's Featherman.

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    Carey was longlisted last time, with Theft: A Love Story, as I wouldn't have bought it otherwise. But I don't think they would choose not to give him another chance because they is not a constant, being a different panel with a different approach each year.
    Oh yeah, I forgot Theft was longlisted. I must have just been outraged that it didn't make the shortlist. Yes, I'm aware of the changing panel and different ideas, but each incoming panel is aware of what's been rewarded in the past, so maybe this panel thought Carey could do with a break from all the adulation.

    It's looked like a bumper year for Australian fiction with the likes of Helen Garner's The Spare Room, Alexis Wright's Carpentaria, Tim Winton's Breath, Peter Carey's His Illegal Self, Michelle de Kretser's The Lost Dog, Steve Toltz's A Fraction Of The Whole, and even Rhyll McMaster's Featherman.
    Well, it depends what you mean by year. Carpentaria was published here in 2006 and The Lost Dog was published in 2007. Garner, Carey and Winton are three heavyweights all published in 2008, though.
    ?He wishes he had never entered the funhouse. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. But he's not. Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator--though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Funhouse View Post
    Well, it depends what you mean by year.
    Booker year: October 2007 to September 2008.

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    Booker year: October 2007 to September 2008.
    I'm not usually one for awards so I need a little clarification here... are the books on the current long list representing titles released prior to October 2007 or does it include titles yet to be commercially available but slated for released up until September 2008? If not, then this would count out Carey, Winton and Garner?

    Obviously I might be going against the tide, but I for one thought that Theft was a much better book than His Illegal Self. Possibly not in terms of style and structure, but certainly in the way it captured the relationship between the central protagonists... And, wankery aside, I don't mind a good caper story.
    Check out my reading log blog - www.sweetgypsymama.com/bookreviews

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    The Age this morning was claiming Aravind Adiga as an Australian, which seems like a stretch, according to this:

    Aravind Adiga was born in Madras (now Chennai), India, in 1974. He completed his schooling in India and Australia. He graduated from Columbia University in New York with a B.A. in English literature - among his teachers was Simon Schama. After his B.A., he went on a scholarship from Columbia to Magdalen College, Oxford, where he received his M.Phil. in English literature (among his tutors at Oxford was Hermione Lee). He entered journalism in 2000 through an internship at the Washington, DC bureau of the Financial Times.
    He currently lives in Mumbai.

    Somewhat more bizarrely, the Times of India called him a software engineer from Karnataka...
    ?He wishes he had never entered the funhouse. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. But he's not. Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator--though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Cocko View Post
    I'm not usually one for awards so I need a little clarification here... are the books on the current long list representing titles released prior to October 2007 or does it include titles yet to be commercially available but slated for released up until September 2008? If not, then this would count out Carey, Winton and Garner?
    The book has to be published in the UK within those dates.
    And, wankery aside, I don't mind a good caper story.
    What is it with Carey? His recent titles seem to refer in some way to the wrong side of the law: Theft, His Illegal Self, My Life As A Fake, etc.

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Cocko View Post
    I'm not usually one for awards so I need a little clarification here... are the books on the current long list representing titles released prior to October 2007 or does it include titles yet to be commercially available but slated for released up until September 2008? If not, then this would count out Carey, Winton and Garner?
    No, the books on the current longlist were published (or will be published) in the UK between October 2007 and September 2008. The in the UK bit would have qualified Carpentaria even though it was published in Australia by Giramondo in 2006.

    Nobody even knows which titles were nominated, though, as this is kept a big secret. Publishers have a quota of books they can put forward, and then the judges can call in titles if they want to, but it's possible that some of the titles that people are complaining about not being on the longlist weren't even read by the judges.

    Obviously I might be going against the tide, but I for one thought that Theft was a much better book than His Illegal Self. Possibly not in terms of style and structure, but certainly in the way it captured the relationship between the central protagonists... And, wankery aside, I don't mind a good caper story.
    I liked both, but the exquisite prose in His Illegal Self blew me away more than Theft.
    ?He wishes he had never entered the funhouse. But he has. Then he wishes he were dead. But he's not. Therefore he will construct funhouses for others and be their secret operator--though he would rather be among the lovers for whom funhouses are designed.?

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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Stewart View Post
    What is it with Carey? His recent titles seem to refer in some way to the wrong side of the law: Theft, His Illegal Self, My Life As A Fake, etc.
    I don't know, I've read eight of his books and each of them seems to deal with an outsider, in many cases on the fringe of the law. Think of the underground gambling in Oscar and Lucinda, the conman in Illywhacker, the illegal aliens in The Unusual Life of Tristam Smith and of course Australia's most mythical of all criminals Ned Kelly. Then there is the examples you've cited... you could argue that this is Carey embracing the great Australian notion of a convict identity.
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    Default re: Man Booker Prize 2008

    Quote Originally Posted by Funhouse View Post
    I liked both, but the exquisite prose in His Illegal Self blew me away more than Theft.
    I certainly agree that Carey's craft is on display more in His Illegal Self than Theft and I agree that passages from His Illegal Self are among the best I read. I just didn't get into the plot, which was a shame.
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