The Yips

Our Shortlist Predictions

Man BookerWe’re just one day away from the official 2012 Man Booker short list announcement and we’re finally ready to unveil our group picks for what we think are the most deserving titles in the bunch.

It should be noted that our process wasn’t super scientific and that not every blogger read every book.  In fact, most books have only 2-4 reviews.  What we did was assign a rating on a 1-5 scale (half numbers were fine) for each novel we read.  We then totaled the score for each novel and divided by the number of bloggers who read the book.  The six titles that scored the highest are our predicted short list.  We’ll be shaking up the scoring methodology in the next round, where all of our bloggers have committed to reading all of the short listed titles in order to better predict the overall winner.

Without further delay, here are the six books that as a group we feel should move on to the short list round:

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Nicola Barker’s The Yips (Review #2)

The_YipsRating: 4
The Yips
A Novel by Nicola Barker
2012 / 550 Pages

This review was simultaneously published on 40GigsAndaMule on 9/9/2012

When we divided up the Booker long list, The Yips was the book I was most interested in reading. But it wasn’t the first I read. That honor went to Michael Frayn’s Skios, and perhaps The Yips suffered for it. Both books are broad farce – the Bookers seem to be sweet on farce this year – and it is only in comparison to the tautness of Frayn’s story that The Yips comes in a close number two. I’d like to rate it 4.25 stars, but I think our erstwhile editor would have my head.

Our main character Stuart Ransom is wonderfully awful. The large supporting cast is truly great. And the book’s take on the burqa as potentially an object of empowerment is thought-provoking.

With their similar style and pace, the Booker judges may be willing to push through only one of the aforementioned. If that’s the case, I’d push for Skios. But I’d love to see them both on the short list and considered head to head in the next stage.

Know Your Booker!: Nicola Barker’s The Yips

The_YipsSo you think you know everything there is to know about Nicola Barker’s Booker nominated novel The Yips? Test your knowledge against our GoodReads quiz here!

What’s it about?

The Yips is described by the book’s publisher Fourth Estate as follows:

‘There was a rat in the bath’, Gene explains. ‘It’s a long story, but basically I fished it out and was carrying around by the tail, not quite sure how to dispose of it, when I managed to barge in on this woman having a genital tattoo’.

2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods’ reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton’s less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who’s had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E’s at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, and a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist and his considerably more pious wife. But at the heart of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic figure of Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.

Nicola Barker’s ‘The Yips’ is at once a historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment, the filthiest state-of-the-nation novel since Martin Amis’ ‘Money’ and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton.

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Nicola Barker’s The Yips

The_YipsRating: 4.5
The Yips
A Novel by Nicola Barker
2012 / 550 Pages

The Setup: The hilarious Man Booker-longlisted novel from the author of DARKMANS, Nicola Barker.

2006 is a foreign country; they do things differently there. Tiger Woods’ reputation is entirely untarnished and the English Defence League does not exist yet. Storm-clouds of a different kind are gathering above the bar of Luton’s less than exclusive Thistle Hotel. Among those caught up in the unfolding drama are a man who’s had cancer seven times, a woman priest with an unruly fringe, the troubled family of a notorious local fascist, an interfering barmaid with three E’s at A-level but a PhD in bullshit, a free-thinking Muslim sex therapist and his considerably more pious wife. But at the heart of every intrigue and the bottom of every mystery is the repugnantly charismatic Stuart Ransom – a golfer in free-fall.

Nicola Barker’s Man Booker-longlisted novel THE YIPS is at once a historical novel of the pre-Twitter moment, the filthiest state-of-the-nation novel since Martin Amis’ MONEY and the most flamboyant piece of comic fiction ever to be set in Luton.  (From the hardcover edition)

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Book Review: 2012 Long Listed: Rachel Joyce’s The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

The_Unlikely_Pilgrimage_Of_Harold_FryRating: 3
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
A Novel by Rachel Joyce
2012 / 336 Pages

The Setup: Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit of youth and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him–allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.

A novel of unsentimental charm, humor, and profound insight into the thoughts and feelings we all bury deep within our hearts, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry introduces Rachel Joyce as a wise–and utterly irresistible–storyteller. (From the hardcover edition)

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The Man Booker Award 2012 Longlist

ManBookerMan Booker fever is upon us!  Today the 12 novels that made the longlist were finally revealed and we’ve compiled each of their full descriptions for you below on one easy to read page.  The 6 titles that make the shortlist cut will be announced on September 11th and the ultimate winner of the prize will be announced on October 16th.

Look for this page to be updated with links to reviews as we continue to make our way through the longlist and keep checking BookerMarks for even more up to the minute Man Booker coverage.

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