Rolling on from last years attempt, I am (hopefully) going to read this shortlist in time for the 2018 announcement.
I am aware that this is probably old news by now, but if you wanted to know a bit more about this years shortlist, then you’ve come to the right place.
Lincoln in the Bardo, takes the tragic death of Abraham Lincoln’s son, Willie, during the Civil War, and combines it with a sense of magical realism, as he finds himself trapped in limbo. This version of limbo, named the Bardo, after the Tibetan Monk tradition, consists of ghosts, scrambling over young Willie’s soul. Although I have the kindle edition of this book, I have to point out how beautiful the hardcover is, with it’s marbled effect end papers. The concept is defiantly intriguing to me, and it’s probably the one I’m most excited to read.
This one follows fourteen year old Linda, who lives with her family on an ex-commune. Her parents mostly leave her to her own devices, and she struggles to fit in at school, until a new “perfect” family moves near by. Linda, begins to babysit for them, finding herself drawn into their family, a place she feels like she belongs. However, dark secrets threaten to boil over, Linda has to make a decision, one that may have devastating consequences for everyone. History of Wolves is a coming age story, that I have a feeling might just stick with you.
The first book of Smith’s Seasonal series, Autumn, and to be honest with you I have no idea what this is about. I have read the GoodReads summary, and I still don’t understand, which could either be a really good thing, because it give me no expectations. However, this could also mean that it had very little to boast in terms of plot, I guess we’ll just have to see. On a much more positive note, I like the concept of a “seasonal” series of books, and I do think that it has a lot of potential to be a rather beautiful quartet, but only time will tell if Smith manages to pull it off. Fingers crossed!
Moving swiftly on, already halfway through the shortlist, we reach Elmet, a contemporary, coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of Yorkshire. We follow a father and his two children, who live a rather rural, wild, but free lifestyle. Narrated by Daniel, who lives with his father and sister in an idyllic country cottage, it becomes apparent that the freedom of their life, and childhood, cannot last forever. There seems to be a focus on familial bonds, but can this family bend with the changes that are about tone forced upon them or will they break under the pressure?
Without a doubt 4321 is the most intimidating due to the sheer size of this beast. At a mammoth 921 pages, this is easily the most lengthy book on the shortlist this year. On March 3, 1947, Archibald Issac Ferguson is born, but this book doesn’t just follow him. No, 4321, follows four different versions of this character. Each version of Archibald has an identical DNA makeup, but go on to make their own decisions, leaving them to lead very different lives. I’m defiantly intrigued by this premise but I am a little nervous that it’ll be similar to Midnight’s Children another Man Booker contender, one which I really did not enjoy. Fingers crossed!
And finally we read the last book to make the shortlist this year. Mohsin Hamid tells the story of Nadia and Saeed, two people who meet, both living in turbulent times, in a country that’s on the brink of civil war. Against the odds they fall for each other, but with the world around them falling into war it seems that all is lost. Until the doors being to whisk people away. So, yes, Exit West does have an element of magical realism, but as with all magic, it demands a price. Not only does this book seem to be a diverse read, but it also has that extra element of magic, though I don’t suspect that it will be a main focus.
And those are the six books that make up the Man Booker shortlist for 2017!
Have you read any of these books, and what did you think? If you haven’t, which one appeals to you the most?
Thanks for reading,