Tuesday, 8 September 2009

The Six

The Man Booker shortlist has been announced. The Booker thirteen has been whittled down to six and they are:

Byatt, AS The Children's Book

Coetzee, J M Summertime

Foulds, Adam The Quickening Maze

Mantel, Hilary Wolf Hall

Mawer, Simon The Glass Room

Waters, Sarah The Little Stranger

I am not surprised to see the big players on the list; I wanted Coetzee there and, although I haven't read the tomes yet, I expected to see the Byatt and Mantel. I am shocked to see The Little Stranger. I am most disappointed that my favourites -The Wilderness, Heliopolis, and How to Paint a Dead Man- are absent. I find this list predictable and unsatisfying.

I am looking forward to reading The Children's Book and The Glass Room and to finishing reading The Quickening Maze. I dread reading Wolf Hall and may actually give up the reading now that the shortlist unappeals. I'll read the remainder that I want to read and predict Coetzee to win or potentially Mawer, from things I've heard (I'll let you know if I disagree once I've read it.)


farmlanebooks said...

I couldn't agree more! So disappointing.

Nymeth said...

I haven't read any of them besides the Byatt (which I'm happy to see on the list, but like you said it's not surprising), so I can't really comment. I'm sorry to hear you find it disappointing, though! It's a pity about The Wilderness in particular - I've seen some great reviews of that one, and it would be nice to see a first time novelist on the list.

Paperback Reader said...

Jackie, not surprising though. The cynic in me expected to see the big names (not Waters) and to be right is disillusioning. I think it's made worse by the fact that as Sarah Waters fans we were disappointed and found The Little Stranger weak and yet there it is on the list. It seems like favouritism to me.

Ana, The Children's Book (and Wolf Hall, ugh) was on the shortlist from the beginning, even if I didn't want it to be so. Saying that, I may pick it up from the library later, read it, and next week (ambitious or realistic?) say that it deserves to win! I am looking forward to reading it.

I am sad for Samantha Harvey and for first and aspiring novelists; they deserve the plaudits.

verity said...

Interesting. I really must get around to Summertime.

Paperback Reader said...

I'd be very interested in your thoughts, Verity, especially as you have read Boyhood and Youth.

Laura said...

I was surprised at the Waters nomination as well. I haven't read it yet but have heard similar comments from other Waters fans about her latest not being her best. I'm not a huge fan of Byatt or Coetzee so yes, all in all not the best of lists this time around.

Rachel said...

They always choose the predictable ones, that's why I never bother with all this Booker hype. I MUST read The Children's Book though, I've had it for four months now and I still haven't been brave enough to start.

Paperback Reader said...

Laura, I keep thinking that I missed something with The Little Stranger, especially now it's been shortlisted, but I definitely thought it was weaker than her other work, some of which I love.

Rachel, I am definitely feeling disheartened but the cynic in me predicted the predictability! I finally collected my requested copy of The Children's Book from the library today (good timing) and plan to start it soon.

Bianca Winter said...

Hello Claire
Sadly I didn't get a chance to post my shortlist predictions and preferences before the announcement, but I am really interested in your comments. I finished nu&nu this morning, which left just How To Paint A Dead Man and Summertime from the longlist. The shortlist contains my top three so far (Wolf Hall, The Glass Room and The Little Stranger) so I can't feel too agrieved, but it still feels a bit lacking. Really looking forward to reading back over your reviews now I'm almost through my reads, especially the Waters, as she's new to me.

anothercookiecrumbles said...

Hmm, although expected, I half-hoped that Wolf Hall wouldn't make the shortlist, as I'm really not inclined to read the book.

Bizarrely enough, I'm not that surprised that The Wilderness didn't make it, although I did hope (against hope) that How To Paint A Dead Man would - just because I thought it was "clever". Oh well, what do I know.

I'll try working my way through the shortlist now, and hopefully finish five of the six before the Booker is announced. With my luck, the winner will be the one book I haven't read (i.e. Wolf Hall, probably).

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Bianca, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the two you still have to read as I have a high opinion of those two.
I am currently reading The Glass Room and really enjoying it; Wolf Hall doesn't appeal to me in the slightest; I thought The Little Stranger was below par for Waters. If you are reading through my posts on the nominations then I wrote a redux post for The Little Stranger; I continually wonder what I perhaps missed when reading it that some other readers (and Booker judges) didn't.

anothercookie, I felt exactly the same! I so don't want to read Wolf Hall and also feel that, knowing my luck, it will win. Not relishing that at all.

As How to Paint a Dead Man was the freshest in my mind, I really expected/hoped it would be there. The writing and style were exquisite.

I'm hoping to have read 5/6 too (have so far read 2/6) by the time the award is announced but Wolf Hall isn't being read unless it wins...

Samantha said...

I am currently reading The Children's Book and have The Glass House ready to go. I did very much like The Quickening Maze so was glad to see that one on the shortlist.

Paperback Reader said...

Samantha, I'm about to review The Glass House; I loved it. I'm looking forward to The Quickening Maze and planning on starting The Children's Book today.