The Man Booker Prize 2016 Longlist & My Initial Thoughts

So the Man Booker Prize 2016 longlist has been announced and once again I have been completely thwarted in my attempts to guess it. I managed to guess a whopping three books on the long list, one of which, Eileen, I had actually read (yet haven’t reviewed but will be soon). I have also read another, My Name is Lucy Barton which I didn’t predict would make the longlist – not because I didn’t like it (I have reviewed it here) there were just lots of other books calling to me when I made my very last minute guessing attempt on camera, ha.  So before I waffle on more, here is the list…


  • The Sellout – Paul Beatty (Oneworld)
  • The Schooldays of Jesus – J.M. Coetzee (Harvill Secker)
  • Serious Sweet – A.L. Kennedy (Jonathan Cape)
  • Hot Milk – Deborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton)
  • His Bloody Project – Graeme Macrae Burnet (Contraband)
  • The North Water – Ian McGuire (Scribner UK)
  • Hystopia – David Means (Faber & Faber)
  • The Many – Wyl Menmuir (Salt)
  • Eileen – Ottessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape)
  • Work Like Any Other – Virginia Reeves (Scribner UK)
  • My Name Is Lucy Barton – Elizabeth Strout (Viking)
  • All That Man Is – David Szalay (Jonathan Cape)
  • Do Not Say We Have Nothing – Madeleine Thien (Granta Books)

In case you are wondering why these are all in different formats; the books in bold I have read, the books in italics I have on my shelves. The Many is a book I was actually contemplating reading last week for Booktubeathon because it is slight and sounds spooky, it may well be the one I turn to next. Hot Milk I have been meaning to read for ages, as I have The Sellout which I was kindly sent by a lovely friend in America ages ago. Do Not Say We Have Nothing only recently arrived and The North Water has remained on my shelves despite being set on boats since reading Shirley Barrett’s whaling novel, Rush Oh!, earlier in the year (again I haven’t reviewed it yet) and loved it.

The others I know very little about but two are calling to me instantly, His Bloody Project because it is a thriller and Work Like Any Other which sounds intriguing with its tale of electricity stealing and manslaughter. Szalay and Means I need to look into more, Coetzee I have read and enjoyed, Kennedy I still haven’t tried and feel I should.

Am I going to read the longlist? Yes and no. I think I am going to see what takes my fancy between now and the shortlist announcement in September (though I have a feeling The Many may get whisked off the shelves this weekend) and see what happens and what the shortlist looks like later in the year.  It’s an interesting list of books though that is for sure. What are your thoughts? Which of the books have you read and what did you make of them?


Filed under Man Booker

14 responses to “The Man Booker Prize 2016 Longlist & My Initial Thoughts

  1. Louise

    I was a little disappointed, as only 2 of the titles really appeal to me (Lucy Barton and Do Not Say We Have Nothing) many of the others just sound – and have reviews describing them as – too dark, bleak and depressing (which is a major turnoff for me) I don’t mind somewhat dark books, but there should be a balance. And the Sellout well, it just seemed very much rooted in US issues and I had a meh feeling after reading the reviews.

    I look forward to see what you write about All That Man Is, Simon! The premise sounded interesting , but when I reviewer on Goodreads wrote that apparently there was no light or positivity included in “all that”, it kind of hit my “too depressing” button.

    • Ha. You see that’s made me like the list all the more. I do quite like my books dark and a bit disturbing. Though I’m not a huge fan of depressing. We will see what happens when I get to some of them.

      • Louise Trolle

        A bit dark and disturbing is ok – I just had an overdose of 1970s Scandinavian social realism in highschool (where bleaker is always better)

  2. Louise

    “A reviewer” not I reviewer 🙂

  3. Unfortunately I haven’t read any of them. The books that are calling to me to try are ‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’, ‘The Sellout’, ‘All That Man Is’ and ‘His Bloody Project’. I need to get reading

  4. Andrew Cole

    I really liked’ The north water’ , remarkably for Booker a very readable romp around the arctic waters in Victorian England with a truly nasty baddy.
    I also enjoyed Elizabeth Barton and this may be a good reason to reread as I suspect the writing deserves closer reading but again very readable.
    I hadn’t tried szalay until very recently I picked up The Innocent which was a brilliant story about a post war Russian secret police man, touching on themes of love and betrayal so I will definitely read this.
    I am looking forward to exploring the rest as one of my favourite reads last year The illuminations was from the long list although I thought the Annie Proux might be on, I saw it in the library yesterday and it would make a solid foundation for your new house Simon.
    I expect there will some good discussions ahead and already heard some briefly on front row.

  5. Andrew Cole

    Oops ‘Lucy Barton’ !

  6. actually quite blown away with the longlist this year. I have only read one which is Elizabeth Strout’s ” My Name is Lucy Barton”. I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the other 12. Looking forward to another year of Man Booker readings.

  7. Kate D

    I haven’t read a single one although there are a couple that I had already marked as “must reads” (Strout and Maguire). A L Kennedy is an author I really like and I’ve read elsewhere that this is her “best yet” so I will definitely get to that (I think you’d enjoy her books). The others are pretty much unheard of by me (I’m wondering if they’re published in Australia yet…..) but I look forward to discovering new authors and reading what you think of some of them Simon!

  8. Deb

    The only book on the list that I’ve read so far is EILEEN which I liked but felt somewhat detached from. In a way, it reminded me of Richard Ford’s CANADA: a young, unloved narrator caught up in events not of his/her making.

  9. I would like to read ‘My Name Is Lucy Barton’ because I have heard good things about it, but am rooting for ‘The Many’ which I adored (if enjoyment of such a dark book can be described in that way). It has so many layers yet allows the reader to peel back only as many as they choose and still enjoy the tale.

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  11. I’ve read Do Not Say We Have Nothing. Devastating story, beautifully told. May inspire you to listen to Shostakovich and Bach anew. Recommended, with a tissue caveat. 😉 I bought Hot Milk today, and now keen to read Eileen. The whole long list is too ambitious for me though!
    My review of Do Not Say We Have Nothing:

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