Man Booker Prize Longlist Announced

July 28, 2010

The Man Booker Prize, promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the best full length novel of the year written by a citizen of the British Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland and published in the United Kingdom for the first time in the year of the prize (October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2010). The novel must be an original work in English (not a translation) and must not be self-published.  The Prize is worth £50,000 or approximately $78,000. Moreover, winning the Prize guarantees larger sales world-wide, and improves potential for future publishing contracts as well as film and TV rights. We guess you could call winning a good thing. The 2010 shortlist will be announced onTuesday September 7th.

Chaired by Andrew Motion, former Poet Laureate, the 2010 judges are Rosie Blau, Literary Editor of the Financial Times; Deborah Bull, formerly a dancer, now Creative Director of the Royal Opera House as well as a writer and broadcaster; Tom Sutcliffe, journalist, broadcaster and author and Frances Wilson, biographer and critic.

A total of 138 books, 14 of which were suggested by the judges, were considered for the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ longlist of 13 books. Due to the timing of the Prize, some of the books have not been published in the U.S. yet and several have not been scheduled for U.S. release.

The longlist includes:

Peter Carey ~ Parrot and Olivier in America
This is one of the favorites to win–Carey has already won twice before (one of only 2 people to do so) with Oscar and Lucinda and True History Of The Kelly Gang.  An irrepressibly funny novel set in early nineteenth-century America. Olivier – an improvisation on the life of Alexis de Tocqueville – is the traumatized child of aristocratic survivors of the French Revolution. Parrot is the motherless son of an itinerant English printer. They are born on different sides of history, but their lives will be connected by an enigmatic one-armed marquis. When Olivier sets sail for the nascent United States – ostensibly to make a study of the penal system, but more precisely to save his neck from one more revolution – Parrot will be there, too: as spy for the marquis, and as protector, foe, and foil for Olivier. As the narrative shifts between the perspectives of Parrot and Olivier, between their picaresque adventures apart and together – in love and politics, prisons and finance, homelands and brave new lands – a most unlikely friendship begins to take hold.

Emma Donoghue ~ Room
This is being published in the UK in August and will be released in the U.S. on September 13th. The Guardian calls it, “Perhaps the most controversial novel [on the list], inspired by the case of Josef Fritzl who kept his daughter prisoner for 24 years. The novel, which was one of 14 called in by judges – rather than being submitted by the publisher – was installed as second favourite for the prize by Ladbrokes.” Click here to watch a Youtube interview with Emma Donoghue.

Helen Dunmore ~ The Betrayal Not scheduled for publication in the U.S.

Damon Galgut ~ In a Strange Room Not scheduled for publication in the U.S.

Howard Jacobson ~ The Finkler Question Not scheduled for publication in the U.S.

Andrea Levy ~ The Long Song
Another of the favorites to win, Levy also wrote Small Island which was made into a Masterpiece Theater series and aired earlier this spring. The Long Song tells the story of the last turbulent years of slavery and the early years of freedom in 19th-century Jamaica.

Tom McCarthy ~ C
Zadie Smith, author of White Teeth, described McCarthy’s first novel Remainder as ‘one of the great English novels of the past 10 years.’ Opening in England at the turn of the twentieth century, C is the story of a boy named Serge Carrefax, whose father spends his time experimenting with wireless communication while running a school for deaf children. Serge grows up amid the noise and silence with his brilliant but troubled older sister, Sophie: an intense sibling relationship that stays with him as he heads off into an equally troubled larger world. After a fling with a nurse at a Bohemian spa, Serge serves in World War I as a radio operator for reconnaissance planes. When his plane is shot down, Serge is taken to a German prison camp, from which he escapes. Back in London, he’s recruited for a mission to Cairo on behalf of the shadowy Empire Wireless Chain. All of which eventually carries Serge to a fitful—and perhaps fateful—climax at the bottom of an Egyptian tomb

David Mitchell ~ The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the most influential novelists in the world. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The New York Times Book Review called him simply “a genius.”   The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiance a cute; back in Holland. But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings. As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”

Lisa Moore ~ February
Moore’s follow-up to her award-winning debut, “Alligator,” is propelled by a local tragedy, in which an oil rig sinks in a violent storm. Helen O’Mara, widowed by the accident, spirals from the present day back to that devastating winter that persists in her mind and heart. Although the book got a mixed review in The New York Times, the reviewer wrote: “Moore has great strengths as a writer, chiefly in her powers of description. She gives us the cold, steep streets of St. John’s in its many wintry incarnations and well-observed scenes of Iceland and Tasmania, where John travels, as well as glimpses of his business meetings and chance encounters in New York…”

Paul Murray ~ Skippy Dies
Why does Skippy, a fourteen-year-old boy at Dublin’s venerable Seabrook College, end up dead on the floor of the local doughnut shop? Could it have something to do with his friend Ruprecht Van Doren, an overweight genius who is determined to open a portal into a parallel universe using ten-dimensional string theory? Could it involve Carl, the teenage drug dealer and borderline psychotic who is Skippy’s rival in love? Or could “the Automator”—the ruthless, smooth-talking headmaster intent on modernizing the school—have something to hide? Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the subject of this dazzling and uproarious novel, unraveling a mystery that links the boys of Seabrook College to their parents and teachers in ways nobody could have imagined. With a cast of characters that ranges from hip-hop-loving fourteen-year-old Eoin “MC Sexecutioner” Flynn to basketballplaying midget Philip Kilfether, packed with questions and answers on everything from Ritalin, to M-theory, to bungee jumping, to the hidden meaning of the poetry of Robert Frost, Skippy Dies is a heartfelt, hilarious portrait of the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, and a tragic depiction of a world always happy to sacrifice its weakest members. As the twenty-first century enters its teenage years, this is a breathtaking novel from a young writer who will come to define his generation.

Rose Tremain Trespass
Rose Tremain won the Orange Prize in 2008 for The Road Home. Her new book will be released in the U.S. in October. In Canada, The Globe and Mail recently called it a “dark and powerful novel.” Ruth Scurr for The Observer wrote: “The story she weaves between her pair of siblings is taut and full of suspense that no reviewer should dispel. Suffice to say that the first chapter, which begins picturesquely, with a small child inspecting insects in the dusty grass at Mas Lunel, ends with a piercing scream that echoes through the rest of the novel until its gory denouement. Tremain’s present-day story wittily revives Robert Louis Stevenson’s fears: perhaps foreigners still have good reason to arm themselves when they venture into the wilds of the Cévenol.”

Christos Tsiolkas ~ The Slap
The sensational international bestseller by Australia’s “preeminent contemporary novelist” (The Age), in his United States debut, Winner of the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, Christos Tsiolkas’s The Slap is a riveting page-turner and a powerful, haunting rumination on contemporary middle-class family life. When a man slaps a child who is not his own at a neighborhood barbecue, the act triggers a series of repercussions in the lives of the people who witness the event-causing them to reassess their values, expectations, and desires. For readers of Jonathan Franzen and Tom Perrotta, this is a compelling account of modern society and the way we live today.

Alan Warner The Stars in the Bright Sky Not scheduled for publication in the U.S.