The Man Booker Prize announced this year’s short list on September 13th, and will announce the winner on October 17th. Check out the list below of the short list and long list winners (those listed within the short list also appear on the long list). Stay tuned for this year’s winner of the Man Booker Prize!
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster – Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives.
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund – Isolated at home and an outlander at school, Linda is drawn to the enigmatic, attractive Lily and new history teacher Mr. Grierson. And then the young Gardner family moves in across the lake, and Linda finds herself welcomed into their home as a babysitter for their little boy, Paul. It seems that her life finally has purpose but with this new sense of belonging she is also drawn into secrets she doesn’t understand. Over the course of a few days, Linda makes a set of choices that reverberate throughout her life. As she struggles to find a way out of the sequestered world into which she was born, Linda confronts the life-and-death consequences of the things people do-and fail to do-for the people they love. [Chester County Library currently only has a physical and e-book copy of History of Wolves.]
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid – In a country teetering on the brink of civil war, two young people meet – sensual, fiercely independent Nadia and gentle, restrained Saeed. They embark on a furtive love affair, thrust into premature intimacy by the unrest roiling their city. When it explodes, turning familiar streets into a patchwork of checkpoints and bomb blasts, they begin to hear whispers about doors – doors that can whisk people far away, if perilously and for a price. As violence and the threat of violence escalate, Nadia and Saeed decide that they no longer have a choice. [Chester County Library currently only has a physical and e-audiobook copy of Exit West.]
Elmet by Fiona Mozley – Daniel is heading north. He is looking for someone. The simplicity of his early life with Daddy and Cathy has turned sour and fearful. They lived apart in the house that Daddy built for them with his bare hands. They foraged and hunted. When they were younger, Daniel and Cathy had gone to school. But they were not like the other children then, and they were even less like them now. Sometimes Daddy disappeared, and would return with a rage in his eyes. But when he was at home he was at peace. He told them that the little copse in Elmet was theirs alone. But that wasn’t true. Local men, greedy and watchful, began to circle like vultures. [Chester County Library does not currently have a copy.]
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders – February 1862. The Civil War is less than one year old. The fighting has begun in earnest, and the nation has begun to realize it is in for a long, bloody struggle. Meanwhile, President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill. In a matter of days, despite predictions of a recovery, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns, alone, to the crypt several times to hold his boy’s body.
Autumn by Ali Smith – Smith’s newest novel, Autumn, is the first installment in a quartet, Seasonal, which is comprised of four stand-alone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical, explores what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means. [Chester County Library currently only has the physical copy of Autumn.]
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry – Thomas McNulty, having fled the Great Famine in Ireland and now barely seventeen years old, signs up for the US Army in the 1850s and with his brother in arms, John Cole, goes to fight in the Indian Wars– against the Sioux and the Yurok– and, ultimately, in the Civil War. Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they see and are complicit in. An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona.
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack – On All Souls Day, the late Marcus Conway returns home. Solar Bones captures in a single relentless sentence the life and death of this rural Irish engineer, and his place in the globally interconnected 21st century. The book takes in local municipal failures and global financial collapse, the quotidian pleasures of family, ancient history and the latest headlines, the living and the dead. [Chester County Library currently only has the physical copy of Solar Bones.]
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor – From the award-winning author of If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things and Even the Dogs, Reservoir 13 tells the story of many lives haunted by one family’s loss. An extraordinary novel of cumulative power and grace, Reservoir 13 explores the rhythms of the natural world and the repeated human gift for violence, unfolding over thirteen years as the aftershocks of a stranger’s tragedy refuse to subside. [Chester County Library currently only has the physical copy of Reservoir 13/]
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy – An intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent. The tale begins with Anjum–who used to be Aftab–unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her–including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo’s landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs’ Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie – Isma is free. After years of watching out for her younger siblings in the wake of their mother’s death, an invitation from a mentor in America has allowed her to resume a dream long deferred. But she can’t stop worrying about Aneeka, her beautiful, headstrong sister back in London, or their brother, Parvaiz, who’s disappeared in pursuit of his own dream, to prove himself to the dark legacy of the jihadist father he never knew. When he resurfaces half the globe away, Isma’s worst fears are confirmed. [Chester County Library currently only has the physical copy of Home Fire.]
Swing Time by Zadie Smith – Two dancers with different approaches to their craft share a complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, in a story that transitions from northwest London to West Africa.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.
Summaries and images taken from catalog.ccls.org.