Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist

The only one I have read
The only one I have read

I am not terribly impressed with this year’s shortlist:

Joshua Ferris: To Rise Again at a Decent Hour
Richard Flanagan: The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Karen Joy Fowler: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
Howard Jacobson: J
Neel Mukherjee: The Lives of Others
Ali Smith: How to be Both

One Englishman, a Scot, an Indian, an Australian, and two from the US. Two women. One previous winner. All fairly well-known writers. No first novels.

I have read one – the Flanagan, which I thought was quite good but not great. Unlike the past two years, I certainly shall not read the rest, though may read the Mukherjee and Smith, but not before the announcement. I do not see an obvious winner and shall not predict one as that will curse him/her to lose. I had hoped the addition of US writers would enhance the list. it seems to have had the opposite effect.

2 thoughts on “Man Booker Prize 2014 shortlist”

  1. You should try the Fowler; it’s much better than its précis seems to suggest.
    Even better, you could go for her recently reissued brilliant first novel Sarah Canary.
    Btw, Fowler is friends with Ruth Ozeki, an author you appear like more than I do; they share some similarities in concerns and outlook, but Fowler is a subtler and less dishomogeneous writer, imho.

    • You are almost certainly right. I did read Sarah Canary many years ago and seem to remember enjoying it. But, with this list, as there are so many other interesting books to enjoy – I am looking now at reading some of the French and German book prize novels – I did not feel inspired the way I was the last couple of years. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you start up another blog/tumblr.


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