The shortlist for the prestigious Man Booker Prize has returned once more. Have you read any of these?
“JAMAICA, 1976. Seven gunmen storm Bob Marley’s house, machine guns blazing. The reggae superstar survives, but the gunmen are never caught. From the acclaimed author of The Book of Night Women comes a dazzling display of masterful storytelling exploring this near-mythic event. Spanning three decades and crossing continents, A Brief History of Seven Killings chronicles the lives of a host of unforgettable characters – slum kids, one-night stands, drug lords, girlfriends, gunmen, journalists, and even the CIA. Gripping and inventive, ambitious and mesmerising, A Brief History of Seven Killings is one of the most remarkable and extraordinary novels of the twenty-first century.”
Update: A Brief History of Seven Killings later went on to win the Man Booker Prize.
“A Little Life is an immensely powerful and heartbreaking novel of brotherly love and the limits of human endurance. When four graduates from a small Massachusetts college move to New York, they’re broke, adrift, and buoyed only by their friendship and ambition. There is Willem, an aspiring actor; JB, a quick-witted, sometimes cruel Brooklyn-born painter seeking entry to the art world; Malcolm, a frustrated architect at a prominent firm; and withdrawn, brilliant, enigmatic Jude. Over the decades, their relationships deepen and darken, tinged by addiction, success, and pride. Yet their greatest challenge, each comes to realize, is Jude himself, by midlife a terrifyingly talented litigator yet an increasingly broken man, his mind and body scarred by an unspeakable childhood, and haunted by what he fears is a degree of trauma that he’ll not only be unable to overcome – but that will define his life forever.”
“The Year of the Runaways tells of the bold dreams and daily struggles of an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance. Thirteen young men live in a house in Sheffield, each in flight from India and in desperate search of a new life. Tarlochan, a former rickshaw driver, will say nothing about his past in Bihar, and Avtar has a secret that binds him to protect the choatic Randeep. Randeep, in turn, has a visa-wife in a flat on the other side of town: a clever, devout woman whose cupboards are full of her husband’s clothes, in case the immigration men surprise her with a call. Sweeping between India and England, and between childhood and the present day, Sunjeev Sahota’s generous, unforgettable novel is a story of dignity in the face of adversity and the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.”
“In this dazzling debut novel, four young brothers in a small Nigerian town encounter a madman, whose prophecy of violence threatens the core of their family. Told from the point of view of nine-year-old Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, The Fishermen is the Cain and Abel-esque story of an unforgettable childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the brothers take advantage of his extended absence to skip school and go fishing. At the forbidden nearby river they encounter a madman, who predicts that one of the brothers will kill another. What happens next is an almost mythic event whose impact – both tragic and redemptive – will transcend the lives and imaginations of both its characters and its readers. Chigozie Obioma emerges as one of the best new voices of modern African literature, echoing its older generation’s masterful storytelling with a contemporary fearlessness and purpose.”
“Meet U., a talented and uneasy figure currently pimping his skills to an elite consultancy in contemporary London. His employers advise everyone from big businesses to governments, and, to this end, expect their ‘corporate anthropologist’ to help decode and manipulate the world around them – all the more so now that a giant, defining project is in the offing. Instead, U. spends his days procrastinating, meandering through endless buffer-zones of information and becoming obsessed by the images with which the world bombards him on a daily basis: oil spills, African traffic jams, roller-blade processions, zombie parades. Is there a secret logic holding all these images together – a codex that, will unlock the master-meaning of our age? Might it have something to do with South Pacific Cargo Cults, or the dead parachutists in the news? Perhaps; perhaps not. As U. oscillates between the visionary and the vague, brilliance and bullshit, Satin Island emerges, an impassioned and exquisite novel for our disjointed times.”
“’It was a beautiful, breezy, yellow-and-green afternoon…’ This is the way Abby Whitshank always begins the story of how she and Red fell in love that summer’s day in 1959. The whole family on the porch, half-listening as their mother tells the same tale they have heard so many times before. From that porch we spool back through the generations, witnessing the events, secrets and unguarded moments that have come to define the family. From Red’s father and mother, newly arrived in Baltimore in the 1920s, to Abby and Red’s grandchildren carrying the family legacy boisterously into the twenty-first century, their lives unfolding in and around the sprawling, lovingly worn Baltimore house that has always been their home…”
Which book do you think should winThe Man Booker Prize 2015?
Have a read and let us know.