Booker Prize 2017 Longlist – My thoughts and predictions.

Early yesterday morning the longlist for the 2017 Booker prize was announced. This is my first Booker prize as a book blogger and I am going to try my best to read the longlist by the time the prize is announced, wish me luck, I will probably need it. The shortlist will be announced on the 13th of September with the Winner reveal on the 17th of October, with all the ARC’s I have to be read I haven’t got a hope in hell but I will try.

Autumn by Ali Smithautumn ali smith

To start this is the only book on the list that I have already read and it is the beautifully poetically written account of the twilight of a mans life set in post-vote brexit Britain and the platonic  friendship he has with a much younger woman. See my full review here.

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4 3 2 1 by Paul AusterAuster 4 3 2 1

This book was reticently reviewed by the lovely Avalina@AvalinahsBooks and it explores the way potential lives can diverge.  It takes a boy named Archibald Isaac Ferguson born in Newark, New Jersey and follows four potential lives.  From what I can gather this is a slow read, but beautifully written but it can get a little confusing which of the four.  Interesting it is a book often abandoned, according to goodreads, but that doesn’t make it bad, just not an easy read.

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Days Without End by Sebastian BarryDayswithoutend

Sebastian Barry has won the Booker prize twice before, and this book was awarded the Costa Book of the year for 2016 so is a strong contender for this prize. Its a Historical novel, set in America at the time of the Indian wars and the America Civil War charting the life of a young man who fleeing the potato famine in Ireland, goes to America and enlists in the US army.   The folks at goodreads have rated it 4.05starsClare@A Little Blog of Books reviewed it at the beginning of the month and she accurately predicted its inclusion in this longlist.

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History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund HistoryofWolves

By an American author this debut coming of age novel set in a Minnesotan forest narrated by Madeline a teenage  girl who’s parents where part of a now failing commune. There is a scandal involving a teacher which affects the protagonist indirectly but otherwise it seems charecgter rather than plot driven.     The total goodreads rating is 3.29 stars and I have a feeling that this won’t be making the longlist.  On the other hand The Literary Elephant read it, reviewed it and liked it.

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Exit West by Mohsin HamidExitWest

This is the first book by a non native English speaker but by a very experienced author who wrote the Reluctant Fundamentalist (which was shortlisted back in 2007)  among others.  It is a magical realism novel set in a war torn country  about how war affects the lives of ordinary people and ultimately the trials associated with being a refugee. It is focused mainly on a couple Nadia and Saeed and their clandestine love affair and the strains the changes put upon them. This book was reviewed by Stephanie@Adventures of a Bibliophile and she rated it very highly.

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Solar Bones by Mike McCormackSolar Bones

This book is written in one sentence and without any punctuation, hrmm, sounds weird but I am guessing it must work as the goodreads rating is 4.1 stars.  This book has also been awarded the Goldsmith Award and nominated for several others but not a whole load of people have read it yet. It  is set in small town Ireland and pays homage to that way of life.  I guess this is fairly typical of the Booker prize that they are not afraid of experimental styles I will have to get hold of a copy before I am convinced. I couldn’t find any bloggers I know who had reviewed this book so this is a blog discovery exercise for me.  Stephen@ The Lone Wolf really like it.

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Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregorReservoir 13

This mystery novel centers around the disappearance of a teenage girl in the hills Peak district whilst she is on holiday with her parents.  It looks to be a very sad book about how despite terrible things happening life must go on.   You can read reviews by UBS Otago Review of Books rate it highly.  It was rated 4.01 by Goodreads.

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Elmet by Fiona MozleyElmet(1)

I think this is the obscure one that nobody has read, probably because it wont be published till the 10th of August.  One person has read got an ARC and has put it on goodreads, they rated it 5 stars. Set in Yorkshire this atmospheric novel centers on Cathy who lives with her Daddy, a man who built their house with his bare hands.  It explores the bond between father and daughter and that’s about all I can find out.

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati RoyTheMinistryofUtmosthappiness

From the author of the God of Small things which is one of my all time favourite books and won the Booker prize twenty years ago.  This book focuses on Anjumhijra which is the third gender in India, being a castrated male or hermaphrodite.  This is a part of Indian culture that is taboo and therefore not openly discussed.  This is a book with a totally un-linear plot including stories within stories and I am really looking forward to reading it.  Check out this review at the Bookidote.

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Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunderslinconinthebardo

Bardo is the Tibetan Buddhist term for the place we go between death and rebirth.   This book is set over the one night following the death of  eleven year old Willie Lincoln whilst his father Abraham (the ex US president) sits in vigil and is visited by the ghosts of the dead from the long dead to the recently deceased.  It is set in the middle of the US Civil war (a common timeframe for this years list).   Goodreads rate it 3.95 stars and Lucy@ The Hard Book Habit have written an interesting review.

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Home Fire by Kamila ShamsieHome Fire

This is a book by the second Pakistani author on the list (the first being Mohsin Hamid), it has already been shortlisted for Orange and Baileys Prize but it hasn’t been published yet (its due out on the 10th of August).  This fact hasn’t held it back the 39 people who rated it on goodreads gave it a huge rating of 4.59 stars.  The book follows two British Muslim families of  Muslims living in London and abroad, for more details check out this Kirkus Reviews review.

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Swing Time by Zadie Smithswing time

Zadie Smith is a becoming a bit of a British institution in the 16 years since her debut White teeth was awarded more awards than you can shake a stick at.  I did read White Teeth back in the day and liked it and I have two of the remaining 4 novels sitting on my TBR shelf (real one).  This book is about two aspiring dancers one with rhythm and talent and the other with ideas of black culture and tribalism.  I think this looks like an interesting read you can check out this review over at Beats & Books for more details.  Goodreads have rated it 3.6 stars.

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I think I may have saved the best for last.

The Underground Railroad by Colson WhiteheadTheUndergroundRailway@2x

I think this is my favourite to win before I have read most of them, this book has been published nearly a year now (but only since September in the UK therefore eligible) and it has won the Pulitzer prize and the Goodreads choice for Historical fiction and a slurry of others.  Goodreads rate it at 4.04 and it has been widely read. It is a coming of age book about a slave in Georgia who is encouraged to try and escape using an underground railroad (of the title) and their subsequent pursuit by a relentless slave catcher.  Sound riveting, check out this wonderful review over at Infinite Jess.

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15 thoughts on “Booker Prize 2017 Longlist – My thoughts and predictions.

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  1. I have not read any of these, but I want to read them all, now! The Elmet summary spoke to me, so I ran to see if Edelweiss had it listed and it didn’t, but Netgalley did. It Is a Wish For It listing, so wish me luck. It doesn’t publish here in the US until September 21st. I might try and read the short list. I have less ARCs after September. I fully support you in your spirit to read all of these before the winner is announced. 🙂

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      1. It is still showing up on my NG search, not sure, but maybe the “wish for it” listings only show up for the country the request is open for. I am not quite sure how the “wish for it” listings work. I know not all Netgalley ARCs are available in different countries at the same time. I would keep checking back. 🙂

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  2. Thanks for the mention! A History of Wolves is the only book I’ve read from the long list so far, but I recognize several others from my TBR that it’s probably time I get around to reading… I wouldn’t be surprised if History of Wolves falls out of the running because it’s not the sort of book that will appeal to everyone, but I do think it’s a worthwhile read. I’ll definitely be checking out more of these now!

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  3. Thanks for sharing my review! This is a really great overview. And I will definitely have to check out Autumn – I’ve been meaning to read Ali Smith for a while now.

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  4. I didn’t expect my review of Arundhati Roy’s book being featured on here, but I totally appreciate that! I do hope you enjoy more than I did. I have yet to read The God of Small Things, but I do plan on checking it out since it was what interested me the most at first. Love this challenge you set yourself with the Booker Prize award. There are some that I had on my TBR for a while now, and some I didn’t know about, so thank you for sharing the long list. Best of luck on your challenge! 😉

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