The 2012 Man Booker Prize longlist


It’s been too long since I last posted and, for various personal reasons, this probably isn’t the best time to start again. Who knows, maybe it is. My plan moving forward is to have more, shorter posts, which should be easier to read and quicker to write. So, without further ado…here we go.

The 2012 Man Booker prize longlist was announced last week and there has been much talk about debut novelists being preferred to the ‘old guard’. Zadie Smith, Martin Amis and Ian McEwan were all given the cold shoulder in favour of Sam Thompson, Alison Moore and Jeet Thayil (who? exactly!).

The other major talking point is a continuation of last year’s brouhaha about the books being chosen for their ‘readability’. Apparently this year it’s about books that are of high quality and that you will want to read again and again.

The two favourites are, of course, very well-known – Will Self and Hilary Mantel – but all in all it’s a fairly unfamiliar list in terms of authors. I think this is great – I’m tired of ‘heavyweight’ authors being assumed to be the best. What I am particularly pleased about, though, is the strong presence of indie publishers.

And Other Stories only started up last year if I am not mistaken and had great success with Juan Pablo Villalobos’ ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’, which was shortlisted for the Guardian first book award.

I had only really known of Salt as a poetry publisher but they actually publish across a very wide range of genres. They describe themselves as ‘a trade publishing business, proudly independent, committed to producing important, beautiful, readable, literary works’. From what I have seen, I would agree. (Check out this beautifully written and insightful blog post they published about being longisted, well worth a read!)

I first came Mymidon Books when I was researching independent publishers located outside of London and these guys just happen to be right on my doorstep in Wales. Their books ‘are written to an exceptionally high standard: crisp and engaging prose; captivating and imaginative story-telling’. Big-up Welsh publishing!

Everybody knows Bloomsbury, and Faber and Faber.

Not sure if I’ll get round to reading many of these books as I’ll be quite busy in the coming months but ‘Nacropolis’, ‘Communion Town’ and ‘Umbrella’ sound very interesting to me.

Anybody planning on reading the entire longlist or will you wait for the shortlist? Anyone tempted by a flutter on who will win it this year?

The 2012 Man Booker prize longlist – indie publishers:

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng (Myrmidon Books / @myrmidonbooks)

Skios by Michael Frayn (Faber & Faber / @faberbooks)

Swimming Home by Deborah Levy (And Other Stories / @andothertweets)

The Lighthouse by Alison Moore (Salt / @saltpublishing)

Umbrella by Will Self (Bloomsbury / @bloomsburybooks)

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil (Faber & Faber / @faberbooks)

The rest:

The Yips by Nicola Barker (Fourth Estate)

The Teleportation Accident by Ned Beauman (Sceptre)

Philida by André Brink (Harvill Secker)

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce (Doubleday)

Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel (Fourth Estate)

CommunionTown by Sam Thompson (Fourth Estate)

Also worth checking out: The Man Booker prize 2012 in pictures courtesy of the Guardian.



About hombremediocre

Publisher, bibliophile, writer, traveller and general culture aficionado. (My favourite punctuation mark is the em dash.)
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