The 2016 longlist or ‘Man Booker Dozen’ has been announced; let’s break down the 2016 figures: Thirteen novels made the list, four of which are debuts. Seven are by men, six by women. There are five American writers, six British, one Canadian and one South African.
J.M. Coetzee’s The Schooldays of Jesus made the list, the sequel to the widely praised The Childhood of Jesus. He’s also the first author to win the Booker Prize twice; he was also awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2003. Deborah Levy is the only other writer to have made the Man Booker list in the past; she was shortlisted in 2012 for Swimming Home.
Author of Oliver Kitterridge, Elizabeth Strout, has also made the list for My Name is Lucy Barton. The four debut novels on the list are: Hystopia by David Means, The Many by Wyl Menmuir, Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh and Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves.
Judges for the prize this year are Amanda Foreman, Jon Day, Abdulrazak Gurnah, David Harsent and Olivia Williams. They will read all 13 books and announce a shortlist on 13 September. Each writer on the shortlist will receive £2,500. The £50,000 winner will be revealed on 25 October.
An exquisite new novel from the Pulitzer prize-winning author of Olive Kitteridge.
A mother comes to visit her daughter in hospital after having not seen her in many years. Her unexpected visit forces Lucy to confront her past, uncovering long-buried memories of a profoundly impoverished childhood; and her present, as the façade of her new life in New York begins to crumble, awakening her to the reality of her faltering marriage and her unsteady journey towards becoming a writer.
From Lucy’s hospital bed, we are drawn ever more deeply into the emotional complexity of family life, the inescapable power of the past, and the memories – however painful – that bind a family together. My Name Is Lucy Barton is a tender expression of the meaning of familial love from one of America’s finest writers.
The Schooldays of Jesus
by J.M. Coetzee
When you travel across the ocean on a boat, all your memories are washed away and you start a completely new life. That is how it is. There is no before. There is no history. The boat docks at the harbour and we climb down the gangplank and we are plunged into the here and now. Time begins.
David is the small boy who is always asking questions. Simón and Inés take care of him in their new country. He is learning the language; he has begun to make friends. He has the big dog Bolívar to watch over him. But he’ll be seven soon. He should be at school. And so David is enrolled in the Academy of Dance in Estrella. It’s here, in his new golden dancing slippers, that he learns how to call down the numbers from the sky. But it’s here too that he will make troubling discoveries about what grown-ups are capable of.
The Schooldays of Jesus, the startling sequel to J. M. Coetzee’s widely praised The Childhood of Jesus, will beguile its readers. With the mysterious simplicity of a fable, it tells a story that raises the most direct questions about life itself.
The North Water
by Ian McGuire
A 19th-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.
Behold the man: stinking, drunk, brutal and bloodthirsty, Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaling ship bound for the hunting waters of the Arctic Circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money and no better option than to embark as ship’s medic on this violent, filthy, ill-fated voyage.
In India during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which a man can stoop and imagined he’d find respite on the Volunteer, but now, trapped in the wooden belly of the ship with Drax, he encounters pure evil and is forced to act. As the true purposes of the expedition become clear, the confrontation between the two men plays out in the freezing darkness of an Arctic winter.
About the Contributor
Anastasia Hadjidemetri is the former editor of The Booktopian and star of Booktopia's weekly YouTube show, Booked with Anastasia. A big reader and lover of books, Anastasia relishes the opportunity to bring you all the latest news from the world of books.