The Man Booker Shortlist 2011… Thoughts

With what I thought was a little lacklustre flare, but then again I was in a Museum taking my twin cousins for a morning out, the Man Booker Shortlist was announced earlier today and here it is…

  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch
  • The Sisters Brothers by Patrick deWitt
  • Half Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan
  • Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman
  • Snowdrops by A.D. Miller

I was really pleased to see Carol Birch (and doubly excited as she will be at Bookmarked in October with Jane Harris who a lot of people think was robbed a Man Booker long-listing, oops I might have let loose a secret there) on the list with ‘Jamrach’s Menagerie’, delighted about ‘The Sisters Brothers’ too, happy to see ‘Snowdrops’, intrigued by Barnes and Edugyan which I will re-read and finish, and I did a chortle of glee that ‘Pigeon English’ was on the list – I almost cannot wait to see what all the book snobs are saying about that. I liked the book to a point though I didn’t love it, it’s not a typical ‘Booker’ book but hoorah for Kelman, it’s a bit of a fingers up at the vitriol that book has received.

So who do I want to win? Well there are two books it would make me happy to see take the crown, and those are Carol Birch and Patrick deWitt. Birch probably has the edge with me as I love the Victorian era, and this book really pleasantly surprised me. Expect a glowing review of deWitt in the next few days.


It could all change with a re-read and a finally finish reading though. We will see. What do you make of the list?


Filed under Book Thoughts, Man Booker

16 responses to “The Man Booker Shortlist 2011… Thoughts

  1. I haven’t actually read any of them yet but am planning to do so immediately. Like the sound of Edugyan’s best if I’m honest but can’t begin to predict who will win!
    Will have to look through your reviews to see how you rate them

  2. I’m very surprised, yet pleased to see Snowdrops on the list. It’s the only one of the group that I’ve read and I liked it very much. I’d like to read Jamrach’s Menagerie and the Barnes, but I don’t think I’ll get to the others.

  3. Speaking of Bookmarked, what date in October is it? I have to be down south every second Monday and Tuesday of each month for work and I have a feeling that I won’t be able to attend any of them – please tell me otherwise (I really want to meet Jane and carol!)

  4. I think I’m a little burnt out from my main genre passion to raise an all seeing eye on the Booker. I keep seeing Carol Birch’s book cover and pausing! I have Snowdrops so I think I’ll give that a go. Now off to see whose reviewed them already including yours of course.

  5. Why oh why haven’t I read Jamrach’s Menagerie yet? I’ve heard such great things. Like you, I liked but didn’t love Pigeon English, though Harri was incredibly endearing and funny.

    • Why havent you indeed, though maybe in the FOREVER its taken me to reply you have got to it by now. If you havent then you should. I liked Harri in Pigeon English, I think its a good book for a younger market, not a Booker choice. I think its a rogue ‘book of the times’ choice to be honest.

  6. Amy C

    I was pleasantly surprised to see that I had read 3 out of the 6 chosen (well, almost finished with the third), and this from all the way across the pond where several of the booker longlist haven’t even been released yet. Like you, I was very happy to see Jamrach’s Menagerie make it, that book was quite incredible in some ways. I’m almost finished with The Sisters Brothers and really enjoying it. Pigeon English was good too, though not amazing. Have been anxiously awaiting On Canaan’s Side which is supposed to be released here in the U.S. this week, too bad it didn’t make the cut!

  7. bookgazing

    Pigeon English has been lashed out at has it? Go on, dish the gossip if you’ve got time Simon…

    • Well its not so much gossip as just people being real snobs. I didn’t love the book and I certainly don’t think its short list worthy but some of the comments about it just havent been nice, and I don’t really want to give them too much more air time.

  8. I haven’re read any of these, but I think Sisters Brothers deserves and award for the best cover art I’ve seen in a while. I’ve been very close to buying it a couple of times based on the cover alone.

    • I think the cover is very, very clever. I am not sure its my favourite of the year, which could actually go to the trade paperback of Birch’s novel, I think it summarises the book well though.

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