Man Booker 2015 Shortlist Announced

The six books on the Man Booker Prize 2015 shortlist have just been announced. They are:

A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler
Satin Island by Tom McCarthy
The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma
The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota
I have read four of these, not getting to the McCarthy and Sahota books as yet. Of the four that I read thus far, clearly the best book is A Brief History of Seven Killings. It is a modern epic, seven hundred pages or so, chronicling the turbulent political and social scene of Jamaica in the first two decades of its independence. James writes with passion and power, and this novel rises to realm of great literature.
Yanagihira’s A Little Life, a story of four friends, set in New York City, almost makes it to that realm, but not quite. Of about equal length as A Brief History of Seven Killings, her book lacks the drive and energy that is so pervasive in the James novel. Both are agonizing and gripping works, with memorable characterization, but the pace and consistency of A Little Life is somewhat off.
The Fishermen is an outstanding debut novel by Obioma. A highly compelling story, taking place in a small Nigerian town, the author narrates a family history, which is seemingly doomed from the book’s onset. It may be the sleeper on this year’s shortlist.
Although the judges for the Man Booker Prize are to consider the book, rather than the author, in making their decisions, one has the feeling that A Spool of Blue Thread is on the 2015 shortlist as an honor to Tyler’s body of work, rather than the particular merits of this particular novel. Typically Tyleresque, with quirky Baltimore citizenry, it is a nice story, but hardly worthy to be considered for the Man Booker.

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2015 American Man Booker Longlisted Novels

As many critics warned, the internationalization of the Man Booker Prize implemented just last year, would soon lead to American domination of the competition. And this year, five of the thirteen books on the longlist are by American authors. I don’t know if this is quite domination, but still it represents a significant segment of the longlist finalists.
These five 2015 selections are: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara; A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler; Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg; Lila by Marilynne Robinson; and The Moor’s Account by Laila Lalami.
I will be discussing these five books and their authors at The Book Stall in Winnetka on the evening of Thursday, September 10. The Book Stall is located at 811 Elm Street, and the free presentation begins at 6:30 pm.

Man Booker 2015 Longlist to be announced Wednesday, July 29

man booker prize 2015 blurb

Those of you who have been following my blog during the last four years know how keenly interested I am in the Man Booker Prize competition. The announcement of the 2015 longlist is July 29th, sometime between noon and 5 pm, London Time. Then on September 25th, the elimination process results in the selection of the shortlist. Finally the winner is declared on October 13th. Not all longlisted books will be available on July 29th. Obviously more in the UK than in the States. If not already, consider becoming a follower of my blog, and get Man Booker updates and book reviews throughout the selection process.