The hype that always surrounds the prestigious Booker Prize has already begun with the news that the Long List for 2013 will be announced on July 25th.
Last year’s list provided some treasurers. Apart from winner Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up the Bodies, Tan Twan Eng’s The Garden of Evening Mists was probably my favorite read of the year and a book that everyone to whom I recommended it seems to have enjoyed too, Other memorable ones are Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce, The Lighthouse by Alison Moore and Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil.
It’s a big deal, for reputation and sales, to make it onto even the Long List of what is one of the world’s most prestigious literary competitions. So, who will make it into the spotlight in 2013? Apart from the judges, my guess is as good as any, so here are some possible contenders.
TransAtlantic by Colum McCann: McCann’s novel, is divided into a series of narratives
Australia and India dominate the short-list for the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize just announced. The Last Thread by Michael Sala, Mazin Grace by Dylan Coleman, Floundering by Romy Ash, Tiger in Eden by Chris Flynn and Beneath The Darkening Sky by Majok Tulba are all nominated. Among the others in…
As seems to be the increasingcustom at this time of year I have listed below my top ten books for 2012. There is no method in the madness and they are not in any particuar order. They are simply the books which I enjoyed reading, would happily return to read them again and, perhaps most important of all, would not hesitate to recommend to my friends. The cut off date for 2012 was Christmas Day. Why is this important? Because over the past few days I have read two outstanding books. But more of them later.
Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng.
All is not as it seems in this carefully layered garden set in Malaya just before the invasion by the Japanese. Not for the characters nor the reader. It is poetic and thrilling; a story that continues to haunt you long after the final page is turned.
Bring Up The Bones by Hilary Mantel.
The sequel to the highly successful Wolf Hall, this is a lavish re-take of the ill-fated marriage between Henry VII and Anne Boleyn as seen through the fox-like eyes of Oliver Cromwell.
The Yellow Bird by Kevin Powers
Debut novel from a returned US serviceman attempting to answer the repeated question : What was it like fighting in Iraq? It has been criticised for being over-lyrical (perhaps a result of Powers’ first love, poetry) but I have returned to this book a couple of times after first reading it, and it retains its initial impact.
Availability and a grab-you-by-the-lapels first few pages has proved a crude but effective way into the twelve books vying on the Man Booker long list. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce is her debut novel. Harold is retired, living with his wife Maureen. His son, David, long…