I can’t believe it’s already time for another round of The Man Booker Prize. With last year’s groundbreaking results and the surrounding controversy, we have high hopes for MBP activity in 2013. But before that can happen, we have to know a little more about the nominees. The official longlist titles will be revealed tomorrow (July 23), but in the meantime, here are a few of my predictions about what may appear on the longlist announcement. I have not yet read many of the potential nominees, but for a more complete list of possibilities, check the goodreads list of eligible titles.
The Childhood of Jesus by J.M. Coetzee
Coetzee has already won the Booker twice. Can he beat the Booker record and win a third? It’s too early to say, but based on Coetzee’s prize-winning record and general tendencies to shake things up in the literary community, I’d say there is a very very good chance that The Childhood of Jesus will make the longlist.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
This one’s kind of obvious I think. In fact, I will be very surprised if I don’t see this one on the longlist. Gaiman fans are extremely vocal, and the press has been all over this book’s release. But then again, perhaps the elitist committee may be turned off by such a blockbuster. Who knows? Either way, I’ll be reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane in the near future.
The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín
I read a lot about this book for a brief period of time, but then it kind of fell of the radar. Even so, Colm Tóibín is a favorite in the literary community, and this novelized portrait of Christ’s mother sounds extremely fascinating, so I hope I see it on the longlist. I’d very much like to read it.
Orkney by Amy Sackville
MBP judges seem to always throw in a few eclectic, quirky novels in the longlist, and I hope this is one of them. A story about a passionate honeymoon between a literature professor and his student, Orkney seems like something that has the potential to attract Booker judges. Plus, I’ll admit, I really like the cover.
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
Whether or not this books makes the longlist, I will definitely be reading it. I’m a big fan of Margaret Atwood, and I have read the other two books in this series, Oryx and Crake and The Year of the Flood. Eligible titles must be published by September 30, and we can expect this one to hit the shelves on September 3.
Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
I have not yet read this book, but I feel like I’m seeing it everywhere these days, and everyone seems to love it. I’ll probably end up reading it either way eventually, but due to its strong presence in the media since its release, I have a feeling that I may be reading it as an MBP 2013 longlist contender.
Entertaining Strangers by Jonathan Taylor
To be completely honest, this is another one of those books that just sounds weird, quirky, and fascinating, but has been relatively overlooked by the media. Published last November by Salt (the house that published 2012 shortlisted novel The Lighthouse by Alison Moore), Entertaining Strangers seems to be hidden gem that is just waiting to be discovered by the Booker judges.
The Guts by Roddy Doyle
As we know from last year’s MB Prize winner, the judges definitely have a thing for sequels. And this followup to The Commitments (1987) has been long anticipated by Doyle Fans. The Guts will be published in August. Oh and by the way, Doyle won the Booker back in 1993 for his novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
Paris by Edward Rutherfurd
So we already know that Booker judges typically adore historical fiction, and Paris promises to take reader on a sparkling historical tour of the most romantic city in the world, so I’d say this novel has a decent chance of making it to the longlist. And when you consider the success of Rutherford’s previous historical novels, Paris feels like a pretty solid prediction. But even if it’s not on the longlist, I’m looking forward to reading this one anyway.
This debut novel promises to be sly, dazzling, and sensual. And with a name like Petite Mort how could it not be? I don’t know how likely this new author is to appear on the MBP longlist, but I sure hope it does because I really want to read this book anyway.