Would you look at this, a post about last years Man Booker Prize, which probably seems a little out of place. But fear not, this is serving a purpose. Alongside my Summer of Austen, I’m intending to read all of the shortlisted books. Can you tell I’m done with university? Wondering why? Then you might want to check out my New Years Resolutions.
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
This is actually the winner, but not one that immediately grabs my attention, still maybe this will surprise me and be my favourite. Still, I do really like this cover, which is usually a good sign. Centered around a race trial, The Sellout follows one man though his unusual upbringing, presumably somewhere in the US.
Apparently it is super satirical, which I really hope is not going to go over my head. It also reminds me of another book, Erasure by Percival Everett, which I read for university but did end up enjoying.
Hot Milk by Deborah Levy
A little more up my alley, comes this novel by Deborah Levy that is set on the Spanish coast it sounds perfect for summer. You might have noticed that I enjoy a good mystery, well I also enjoy medical TV shows and this presents us with a woman who has a mystery illness. Our protagonist, Sofia, is hell bent on discovering the cause and curing her mother’s mystery illness, so takes her to the unorthodox Doctor Gomez, in this seemingly idyllic location. However there is also a focus on herself as she explores her sexuality in this desert community.
His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet
Again, this is one that already appeals to me because I feel a little more home in murder mystery/ thriller/ legal thriller territory. Even though this looks quite a bit darker than my recent mysteries, I did used to read darker murder mystery/thrillers so this will take me back. His Bloody Project, I believe focuses on the aftermath of some brutal killings, so maybe more legal thriller after the brutal triple-muders in a rural Scottish community. Even though the perpetrator is clear, the really question here, is why did he do it. I love psychology, so I think this book will really be looking at the psychology of a murderer.
Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh
This is another book that I think is really going to focus on the psychology of a character, this time that of Eileen, a young woman, working in a boys prison. Set in the 60s, her usual routine is upended upon the arrival of a new counsellor, Rebecca, who is everything that Eileen is not. Still, despite Eileen’s troubled background, and less than legit hobbies, the two form an unlikely friendship which leads Eileen on a surprising, apparently “Hitchcockian style” path. As someone who really like Hitchcock, I’m already sold.
All That Man Is by David Szalay
In a deviation from the trend of novels so far, this one takes us to the form of the short story. I’m not always a huge fan of short story collections because they can deviate so much from each other, but I don’t absolutely hate them. In this book we are getting 9 short stories’ each one from the point of view of a different man at a different point in life. The stories narrators range in age, obviously, but also social status, from an oligarch, to a working class man, and also nationality, from Prague, to Belgium, to Cyprus. I’m also intrigued to he possibility of an overarching illustration of what it means to be a man in the 21st century.
Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien
And finally, the book that I feel as though I have spoken about too much, comes this one, also a contender for the Women’s Prize for Fiction 2017. When Canadian mother and daughter, take in a young Chinese woman, Ai-ming, who is fleeing the aftermath of the Tiananmen Square protests, they do not yet realise how much this will have an effect upon their lives. As I have said previously I have no prior knowledge of Chinese history, so this will definitely be new territory for me. Slowly but surely, Ain-min, begins to open up and tell the story of her past, which I think is going to be really interesting, especially for someone like me, with no prior knowledge.
And those, ladies and gentlemen, are the books that made the Man Booker Shortlist last year. I’m hoping to be able to continue with this sort of thing, I’m not sure if I will manage the long list for 2017, but I will definitely be all over that shortlist.
Have you read any of these books, if so what did you think? Would you like to read any of these books? Do you have any favourites that have made either the longlist or the shortlist either in 2016, or past years? Either way, I would love to know.
Thank for reading!