The prize, which launched in 1969, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom.
To maintain the consistent excellence of The Booker Prize, judges are chosen from a wide range of disciplines, including critics, writers and academics, but also poets, politicians and actors, all with a passion for quality fiction.
The winner of The Booker Prize receives £50,000 and, like all the shortlisted authors, a cheque for £2,500 and a designer bound copy of their book. Fulfilling one of the objectives of the prize – to encourage the widest possible readership for the best in literary fiction – the winner and the shortlisted authors now enjoy a dramatic increase in book sales worldwide.
So I have to admit i’m not always a fan of the Man Booker long list selections but this year there are some books that just sound too good not to put on my TBR list.
The ones that have peaked my interest this year are….
I will add my reviews to this post as I read them so don’t forget to check back!
My Sister is a Serial Killer – Oyinkan Braithwaite
” When Korede’s dinner is interrupted one night by a distress call from her sister, Ayoola, she knows what’s expected of her: bleach, rubber gloves, nerves of steel and a strong stomach. This’ll be the third boyfriend Ayoola’s dispatched in, quote, self-defence and the third mess that her lethal little sibling has left Korede to clear away. She should probably go to the police for the good of the menfolk of Nigeria, but she loves her sister and, as they say, family always comes first. Until, that is, Ayoola starts dating the doctor where Korede works as a nurse. Korede’s long been in love with him, and isn’t prepared to see him wind up with a knife in his back: but to save one would mean sacrificing the other… “
This was a quick read as it was well written and easy to follow and I can see why it was selected for the long list.
It was an interesting idea but I just didn’t connect with the characters or get understand the deeper reason for why her sister was killing all these men.
Night Boat to Tangier – Kevin Barry
“In the dark waiting room of the ferry terminal in the sketchy Spanish port of Algeciras, two aging Irishmen — Maurice Hearne and Charlie Redmond, longtime partners in the lucrative and dangerous enterprise of smuggling drugs — sit at night, none too patiently. It is October 23, 2018, and they are expecting Maurice’s estranged daughter (or is she?), Dilly, to either arrive on a boat coming from Tangier or depart on one heading there. “
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World Elif Sharak
“ For Leila, each minute after her death brings a sensuous memory: the taste of spiced goat stew, sacrificed by her father to celebrate the long-awaited birth of a son; the sight of bubbling vats of lemon and sugar which the women use to wax their legs while the men attend mosque; the scent of cardamom coffee that Leila shares with a handsome student in the brothel where she works. Each memory, too, recalls the friends she made at each key moment in her life – friends who are now desperately trying to find her. . . “
Girl, Woman, Other – Bernardine Evaristo *WINNER*
” Girl, Woman, Other follows the lives and struggles of twelve very different characters. Mostly women, black and British, they tell the stories of their families, friends and lovers, across the country and through the years. “
This book is dedicated to presenting the life experiences of 12 black British women, through out the past century, each connected to another in some way. There is just so much going on in this book its hard to put into words how good it is without rambling for days!
I have to admit that I did struggle to begin with, purely with the style it is written in. It is a free declamatory style, using commas, but no capital letters, no full-stops and no quotation marks. The prose is printed almost as verse, with random line breaks which, I think, is what I struggled with most (An instagrammer told me that the breaks were where your brain would naturally pause, you will have to try it yourself to see if you agree!) but after the first few chapters I did find myself not noticing this anymore and continued on to really enjoy the story.
Definitely a worthy winner of the Booker prize!