Predictions for the Man Booker Short List

The Man Booker shortlist will be revealed tomorrow and there are many predictions as to who will be included (my favorite is over at The Oxen of the Sun).

As a reminder, the long list:
Clegg, Bill  - Did You Ever Have a Family (Jonathan Cape)            
Enright, Anne - The Green Road (Jonathan Cape)
James, Marlon - A Brief History of Seven Killings (Oneworld Publications)
Lalami, Laila - The Moor's Account (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)
McCarthy, Tom - Satin Island (Jonathan Cape)
Obioma, Chigozie - The Fishermen (ONE, Pushkin Press)
O’Hagan, Andrew - The Illuminations (Faber & Faber)
Robinson, Marilynne - Lila (Virago)            
Roy, Anuradha - Sleeping on Jupiter (MacLehose Press, Quercus)
Sahota, Sunjeev - The Year of the Runaways (Picador)
Smaill, Anna - The Chimes (Sceptre)
Tyler, Anne - A Spool of Blue Thread (Chatto & Windus)
Yanagihara, Hanya - A Little Life (Picador)

Shortlist predictions:

I think there's probably consensus on at least these three titles:

Satin Island by Tom McCarthy (Jonathan Cape, 2015)

This is McCarthy's 4th novel (5th book). His book C (2010) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

Good reviews on Publishers Weekly and Kirkus (although not starred).

blurbU., a “corporate anthropologist,” is tasked with writing the Great Report, an all-encompassing ethnographic document that would sum up our era. Yet at every turn, he feels himself overwhelmed by the ubiquity of data, lost in buffer zones, wandering through crowds of apparitions, willing them to coalesce into symbols that can be translated into some kind of account that makes sense. As he begins to wonder if the Great Report might remain a shapeless, oozing plasma, his senses are startled awake by a dream of an apocalyptic cityscape. [Amazon]

Lila by Marilynne Robinson (Virago - UK / HarperCollins - Canada, Oct. 7, 2014) 

This is Robinson's 4th novel (the 3rd in the Gilead trilogy). She won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Gilead (2004).

Lila is the winner of the National Book Critics Award, a National Book Award Finalist and was named One of the Best Books of 2014 by Kirkus.
blurbLila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church-the only available shelter from the rain-and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life. She becomes the wife of a minister, John Ames, and begins a new existence while trying to make sense of the life that preceded her newfound security. [Amazon]

Starred review on Publishers Weekly and (surprisingly) not a starred review on Kirkus


A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara (Picador)

This is Yanagihara's 2nd novel (her first was People in Trees, 2013), and has taken the literary world by storm. A lot of people expect to see this title on the shortlist, although I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't make it (but we'll see).

blurbIn rich and resplendent prose, Yanagihara has fashioned a tragic and transcendent hymn to brotherly love, a masterful depiction of heartbreak, and a dark examination of the tyranny of memory and the limits of human endurance. [Amazon]

It's garnered a starred review from Kirkus.


Based on reviews, I wouldn't be surprised to see these titles on the shortlist:

The Moor's Account by Laila Lalami - (Periscope, Garnet Publishing)

Winner of the American Book Award
Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.
Kirkus Best Fiction Book of the Year. 

Starred review from both Kirkus & Publishers Weekly.

blurbLaila Lalami brings us the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America: Mustafa al-Zamori, called Estebanico. The slave of a Spanish conquistador, Estebanico sails for the Americas with his master, Dorantes, as part of a danger-laden expedition to Florida. Within a year, Estebanico is one of only four crew members to survive. [Amazon]

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma (ONE, Pushkin Press)

This is Obioma's debut novel.

New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice.
Starred review from Publishers Weekly.

blurbIn a Nigerian town in the mid 1990's, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family. [Amazon]


Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg (Jonathan Cape)

This is Clegg's debut novel.

It's garnered starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, Booklist and Library Journal.

blurbBill Clegg’s fiction debut looks at the aftereffects of a tragedy, skillfully employing alternating chapters told by a handful of characters. The night before her daughter’s wedding, June Reid loses her daughter, her daughter’s fiancé, her ex-husband, and her boyfriend in a house fire. [Amazon]

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