The Coops Booker Prize – my (very subjective) shortlist

The 2015 Booker shortlist is announced on Tuesday (September 15th), and for the first time ever, the longlist interested me enough for me to try to read it in its entirety and come up with some predictions. Or if not predictions, then at least the books I will be complaining about if/when they do or don’t make it. It was hard; it was a pretty good list. But in the end – for me, anyway – there were a few clear winners, a few clear losers, and some better-than-average books in between. Here they are!

  1. A Little Life ***** Not exactly a departure from general opinion – the bookies’ odds are short on this one, between 2/1 and 4/1 – but I just adored it, and if it doesn’t even feature on the shortlist then I will get red and shouty. https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/17/review-a-little-life-by-hanya-yanagihara/
  2. Did You Ever Have a Family **** An unexpected gem, this one has a quiet sort of grace which has stayed with me since I read the first page. https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/05/review-did-you-ever-have-a-family-by-bill-clegg/
  3. The Fishermen **** Completely different to anything else on the longlist, in a good way  https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/02/review-the-fishermen-by-chigozie-obioma/
  4. Year of the Runaways **** A novel which made me see the world around me in a different way https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/23/review-the-year-of-the-runaways-by-sunjeev-sahota/
  5. A Brief History of Seven Killings – I’m cheating a bit on this one, because I haven’t finished it yet, but I am confidently willing to predict that it will feature on my shortlist. The voice and texture of the narrative are so unusual that, once I realised that, I decided not to rush it – so I put it down until I had finished the others, and can’t wait to pick it up again.
  6. The Green Road **** The first of Anne Enright’s novels I’ve read, and much fuller than some of the other ‘family sagas’ on the list. Review to follow.

And the rest:

  1. Satin Island **** – I wasn’t quite sure what to do about this one, but in the end it landed just outside my top 6. I wouldn’t be surprised if it did get a spot on the shortlist, and that wouldn’t enrage me like it would some (I think this one has split opinion more than any of the others), but to me it doesn’t have the consistency of a winner. Review to follow.
  2. The Chimes *** – A really interesting and creative debut from a talented new voice. Review to follow.
  3. A Spool of Blue Thread *** – Not enough about this one that was special, in my opinion. It was the first one of the list I read, and I found it eminently forgettable compared to some of the others. I still suspect I’m not quite old enough to understand Anne Tyler! https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/review-a-spool-of-blue-thread-by-anne-tyler/
  4. The Moor’s Account *** – The good bits were as good as anything on the shortlist; the bad bits were just a little too long to make it a top read. https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/09/03/review-the-moors-account-by-laila-lalami/
  5. Lila *** – Beautiful writing, but a little too sad for me, in the end. https://booksahoyblog.wordpress.com/2015/08/11/review-lila-by-marilynne-robinson/
  6. Sleeping on Jupiter ** – It has India, and it has sexual violence; sadly both are done significantly better elsewhere on the longlist.
  7. The Illuminations ** – Makes an attempt at topics which should be necessary and topical, but never really finds a true voice.
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