The 12-strong longlist for the Man Booker Prize has been announced. What do this year’s choices tell us about the literary landscape in 2012?
This year’s Booker longlist has its fair share of surprises.
While many expected Hilary Mantel to make the final 12 with Bring Up The Bodies, her sequel to 2009 Booker winner Wolf Hall, it is the omission of several other big-name writers that has raised eyebrows in literary circles.
Smith’s NW – her first novel since 2005′s On Beauty – had been widely expected to make the list after strong advance buzz. It is due to be published in September.
However, the 12 nominees do include high-profile authors Will Self (Umbrella) and Michael Frayn (Skios).
As last year, this year’s longlist features four first-time novelists – Rachel Joyce (The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry), Alison Moore (The Lighthouse), Jeet Thayil (Narcopolis) and Sam Thompson (Communion Town).
Tom Tivnan, features editor of The Bookseller, told The Independent: “It’s a nice mix of young gunslingers and some of the old guard. It’s a bit more literary than last year.”
It was last year that the Booker judges were criticised for putting a focus on “readability” in their choice of shortlisted novels.
When the final six novels were announced in 2011, ex-MI5 chief Dame Stella Rimington said: “We wanted people to buy these books and read them, not buy them and admire them.”
Man Booker Prize – 2012 longlist
- Nicola Barker – The Yips
- Ned Beauman – The Teleportation Accident
- Andre Brink – Philida
- Tan Twan Eng – The Garden of Evening Mists
- Michael Frayn – Skios
- Rachel Joyce – The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry
- Deborah Levy – Swimming Home
- Hilary Mantel – Bring Up the Bodies
- Alison Moore – The Lighthouse
- Will Self – Umbrella
- Jeet Thayil – Narcopolis
- Sam Thompson – Communion Town
Strange Random Book Quote:
“What I say is, a town isn’t a town without a bookstore. It may call itself a town, but unless it’s got a bookstore it knows it’s not fooling a soul.” ― Neil Gaiman, American Gods