The 2010 Man Booker Prize longlist was released today. Last year, KfC managed to review all 13 titles and I will set that goal again this year, although I may fall a couple short as I have only read four of the books. I will post a category in the sidebar with updates and links to reviews as they go up.
First off, the three that have been reviewed here:
February, by Lisa Moore — reviewed here — one of two Canadian entries on the list and a major surprise. (Emma Donoghue’s Room — not yet released — is the other.) February did not even make last year’s Giller Prize longlist. But…it is very topical, since it is about the Ocean Ranger disaster and the current Gulf of Mexico crisis makes it very timely. After a few years of Canadian absence from the Booker list, it is nice to see two there but I am sure Yann Martel, Linden McIntyre and Tom Rachman (all eligible Canadian authors) are as surprised as I am that at the choices.
The Long Song, by Andrea Levy — reviewed here. Well-loved for Small Island, Levy again returns to Jamaica with this novel about the final days of slavery — and what happens when it ended. For my money, a worthy inclusion on the longlist. Levy’s approach to her very serious subject is to examine it through the eyes of some individuals effected by it, both black and white. What results is a very human, readable novel.
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas — reviewed here. An Australian novel, this one has been around for a while — short listed for their Miles Franklin prize in 2008, it won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 2009, but was only published in the UK this year, making it Booker eligible. A very interesting study of modern Australia, told through the eyes and experiences of a dozen characters who happened to be present when “the slap” took place. For Canadian readers in particular, a worthwhile look at contemporary life in one of the other Old Dominions, with many parallels to our own experience.
And a review to be posted in two days:
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De Zoet by David Mitchell. When the bookies post their odds, I expect this to be one of the favorites — it has received very good reviews and been the subject of much talk. I’ll offer a bit of a preview, however. Despite being a major David Mitchell fan (I have read all his books), I will be out of step on this book — indeed, of the four that I have read so far, I would rank it third. Then again, as veteran visitors here may remember, I did not much like last year’s Booker winner, Wolf Hall, either.
Which gives us the KfC reading list for the next while — copies of these have been ordered, with review timing likely dependent on when they arrive (a number are not yet available in North America and have to be shipped from the UK). I won’t promise that I will get to them all but I’ll do my best.