Man Booker Prize 2015 Longlist Predictions…

Sorry I couldn’t come up with a more snazzy title than that this morning but having just spent a good hour or two going through my bookshelves, both of the books I have read this year and the ones I have yet to (which made me have a moment of weeping from the shame), so my brain is slightly frazzled. The reason I was doing this exercise was to see which books I thought would make it onto the Man Booker Longlist tomorrow, always a fun game which many people have joined in with already. I must say, before I reveal the list, there is no way on earth I think I am a) anywhere near right b) in a position where I feel I should be c) am not sure I want to be anywhere near right as I like the surprise of new to me books. How can any of us, unless we are one of the judges or the administration team, have a clue? I have just gone on books I have read and loved and books that I really want to read that I can see as being ‘Booker’ books, whatever that is – let’s not open up that can of worms! So here goes…

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A Little Life – Hanya Yanagihara
All Involved – Ryan Gattis
The Good Son – Paul McVeigh
Girl At War – Sara Novic
A Brief History of Seven Killings – Marlon James
TheWallcreeper – Nell Zink

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I Saw A Man – Owen Sheers
At Hawthorn Time – Melissa Harrison
The Wolf Border – Sarah Hall
The Well – Catherine Chanter
Tender – Belinda McKeon
Us Conductors – Sean Michaels

Note, I am missing one and that is because I don’t have it. I think The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma could also be on the list, it is one I am very eager to read at some point. Now you may be thinking ‘hang on a minute sunshine whatabout x, y or z’ well these lists are tricky and you can only go with your gut but I did have another 11 that I could have had on that list which at the moment I purged I thought could go either way…

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Yes, I know those are a pile of nine books but I cannot find my copy of The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan and Kate Atkinson’s A God in Ruins is on a very high shelf (yes those shelves in the picture above go on up very very very high) and I couldn’t reach it without getting chairs involved and all sorts. I loved A God in Ruins but I wonder if the clever sneaky very subtle twist will be a marmite effect as I know lots of people who (because clearly they have hearts made from coal surrounded by ice, ha) were left slightly unmoved by it. Anyway, any of the above and aforementioned, if not pictured, I would like to see on the list very much indeed. Though as I have mentioned part of the joy of it is the surprise that may await us.

Would I have a tantrum if any of these weren’t on the list? Possibly with A Little Life, which might be one of my books of a lifetime, and All Involved because I think Gattis has written a fascinating insight into gang culture which puts you on a roller-coaster from start to finish (unputdownable would be the cliche I would use if I could, oh… I have) and is crafted and characterised beautifully, and A God In Ruins will ruin you, if you have a normal person’s heart – hehehe. Annoyingly I have only reviewed the Atkinson as the other two will be on You Wrote The Book in due course so am holding off till then. Oh, I am rambling, let us wrap up. What I can say is that I am very excited about tomorrows list and will be awaiting it with much interest.

If you would like to see more guesses there are some at A Case For Books, A Life in Books, Farm Lane Books and over at Neil D. A. Stewart’s blog. Oh and if you want a whole different list you can vote on then check out the Not The Booker Longlist 2015 too. Now over to you, what do you think of the books I have chosen (have you read any?) and which books are you hoping will make the list and why? Let me know if you have had a go at predicting tomorrows list.

14 Comments

Filed under Book Thoughts, Man Booker, Random Savidgeness

14 responses to “Man Booker Prize 2015 Longlist Predictions…

  1. We’ve had a go over at Shiny New Books. Amazingly, I’ve only read two out of all the books you’ve picture above: Owen Sheers and although I loved it I don’t think it’ll feature tomorrow, whereas I’d be delighted if Claire Fuller’s book was on the list – it’s still the best novel I’ve read this year. Us conductors is the one I really want to read from your pics.

  2. David

    I’ve only read two from your list, Simon – I think I’d agree with you on ‘The Wolf Border’ as it leaves you with so much to think about and has certainly stayed with me in the couple of months since I read it, but I did have some reservations about it (it crams too much in and extends the border metaphor to the point that her intention starts to become diluted by multiple meanings). I personally wouldn’t put ‘At Hawthorn Time’ on the list – I thought it was a good read and well-written, but nothing especially new. I had a go at guessing a list over on the Mookse and Gripes Booker Forum, which was this:

    Kathleen Alcott – Infinite Home
    Jonathan Buckley – The River is the River
    Nora Chassler – Grandmother Divided by Monkey Equals Outer Space
    Michael Crummey – Sweetland
    Petina Gappah – The Book of Memory
    Sarah Hall – The Wolf Border
    Atticus Lish – Preparation for the Next Life
    Andrew Miller – The Crossing
    Chigozie Obioma – The Fishermen
    Jim Shepard – The Book of Aron
    Colm Toibin – Nora Webster
    Steve Toltz – Quicksand
    Hanya Yanagihara – A Little Life

    And a couple of alternatives: Marlon James’s ‘A Brief History of Seven Killings’ and Ian Stephen’s ‘A Book of Death and Fish’. All complete shots in the dark based on reviews/general buzz/previous books by the authors – I’ve only actually read three of the above!

  3. I’d like to see Tender on it: just read it and thought it rather brilliant.

  4. How exciting, I actually have some of these on my TBR piles plus have begun A Little Life (though yet to be captivated by it). Time to reorganise their order in which to be read. I’m very impressed by Owen Sheers, whether he’s reached his potential I’ve yet to see but it’s there. Melissa Harrison’s first novel Clay I very much enjoyed, and wasn’t Wolf Border read on the radio recently? It was enjoyable but no more than that.
    Lots to think about. Off to look at the other lists now.

  5. I’ll be AMAZED if A Little Life isn’t at least long-listed.

  6. Lots of those are in my wishlist, but A Brief History… (which is a mighty tome, and not at all brief) is the only one I’ve read, and I’d love to see that earn a place.
    I’ve a copy of The Fisherman in my TBR – I’m looking forward to that one.
    I’m rubbish at guessing these longlists though – I’m never quite sure what qualifies!

  7. I know those tears of shame, Simon! I must read All Involved. A Little Life will be on it, deffo. Probably Nora Webster, and Us Conductors, and maybe The Wolf Border. Then I’ll see something on another site – I’m just picking out your BEST ideas. Who are the judges by the way? Just thought – Americans! Forgot about em – Anne Tyler? Would she quality? A Spool Of Blue Thread?

    • Just thought – maybe the judges get announced tomorrow. Because you’d mention them Simon. Because you’re thorough like that – journalism background; very professional. That’s partly why I follow you. And you’re funny and no snob and love your family so much, that’s why else. And you’re opinionated, but positively so. I’m not a Booker groupie/ Folio Prize Fan but some books get a real buzz about them. But we also get some surprises too.

      • I haven’t mentioned the judges actually. But only because it’s my judgement and my guesses I am talking about not theirs. You can find out all about them on the Man Booker website.

  8. I thought All Involved was excellent and really made me care about something I would have otherwise not been that interested in. I’d be happy to see it make the list. I loved Our Endless Numbered Days but it doesn’t strike me as a Booker book somehow.

  9. Pingback: Crystal ball gazing for Booker prize 2015 | BookerTalk

  10. I would be very surprised if A Little Life is not on the list. I would love to see Girl at War. That was a really powerful read.

    You make an interesting point about A God in Ruins. I’ve been very careful not to say too much, but I know some people think that the kind of “trick” that Atkinson pulls somehow diminishes the book. I thought it was incredible and had no idea it was coming!

  11. Pingback: The Man Booker Prize Longlist 2015… | Savidge Reads

  12. A belated thanks for the link, Simon. What an incredibly varied longlist it turned out to be! No one could accuse this year’s judges of conservatism.

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