Friday, September 7, 2007

It's Booker Time

The Booker Prize folks have released their short list for this year's prize. And the list looks a lot like it did in the last few years--filled with authors with small reputations and tiny distributions, and one Goliath to lend the crew legitimacy. This reminds me, in fact, of the list two years ago, when John Banville's excellent novel The Sea took the prize, even though only about 3,300 copies of it had been sold.

Here's this year's list:

  • Darkmans by Nicola Barker
  • The Gathering by Anne Enright
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
  • Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones
  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • Animal’s People by Indra Sinha
Some people have been angry about the prize's turn away from Big Names, but I welcome it. I can't say I all that happy about seeing Ian McEwan on the list again. It sometimes seems like the giants of English publishing get on the list just because of who they are, as when Rushdie's book Shalimar the Clown made its way onto the long list in 2005. In any event, I look forward to reading one or two of these books in the next year.

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