The wait of waits for readers across the world is over; the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist has finally been revealed!
As always, the list is a surprising one, full of books that are diverse and exciting. From re-tellings of classic stories like Don Quixote and The Odyssey to books about contemporary black life in London, the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist presents a thrilling challenge to the discerning reader.
Past winners Margaret Atwood and Salman Rushdie both made it onto the shortlist and now stand a chance of becoming the fourth double winner in Booker history, joining Peter Carey, J.M. Coetzee, and Hilary Mantel. With The Testaments, Atwood could also become the second author to win the prize for a sequel in the same series, as Mantel has done with Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies.
The winner of the £50,000 prize will be revealed at a ceremony in London on 14th October – until then, peruse the 2019 Booker Prize shortlist and get reading!
(Even better, if you order from the shortlist before 14th October, 2019, you’ll go into the running to win a signed hardcover edition of Quichotte by Salman Rushdie!)*
by Margaret Atwood
“Dear Readers: Everything you’ve ever asked me about Gilead and its inner workings is the inspiration for this book. Well, almost everything! The other inspiration is the world we’ve been living in.” – Margaret Atwood
In this electrifying sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood answers the question that has tantalised readers for decades: What happened to Offred? When the van door slammed on Offred’s future at the end of The Handmaid’s Tale, readers had no way of telling what lay ahead. With The Testaments, the wait is over. Margaret Atwood’s sequel picks up the story 15 years after Offred stepped into the unknown, with the explosive testaments of three female narrators from Gilead.
Buy it here.
by Salman Rushdie
The epic new novel from the Booker of Bookers winner Salman Rushdie – a playful inversion of the Don Quixote story set in contemporary America.
Quichotte, an ageing travelling salesman obsessed with TV, is on a quest for love. Unfortunately, his daily diet of reality TV, sitcoms, films, soaps, comedies and dramas has distorted his ability to separate fantasy from reality. He wishes an imaginary son into existence, while obsessively writing love letters to a celebrity he knows only through his screen. Quichotte’s story is narrated by Brother, a mediocre spy novelist in the midst of a midlife crisis, triggered in part by a fall-out with his Sister. As the stories of Brother and Quichotte ingeniously intertwine, Salman Rushdie takes us on a wild, picaresque journey through a world on the edge of moral and spiritual collapse.
Buy it here.
10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World
by Elif Shafak
“In the first minute following her death, Tequila Leila’s consciousness began to ebb, slowly and steadily, like a tide receding from the shore. Her brain cells, having run out of blood, were now completely deprived of oxygen. But they did not shut down. Not right away.“
Our brains stay active for ten minutes after our heart stops beating. For Tequila Leila, each minute brings with it a new memory: growing up with her father and his two wives in a grand old house in a quiet Turkish town; watching the women gossip and wax their legs while the men went to mosque; sneaking cigarettes and Western magazines on her way home from school; running away to Istanbul to escape an unwelcome marriage; falling in love with a student who seeks shelter from a riot in the brothel where she works. Most importantly, each memory reminds Leila of the five friends she met along the way – the friends who are now desperately trying to find her.
Buy it here.
Girl, Woman, Other
by Bernardine Evaristo
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.
Joyfully polyphonic and vibrantly contemporary, this is a gloriously new kind of history, a novel of our times: celebratory, ever-dynamic and utterly irresistible.
Buy it here.
by Lucy Ellman
Latticing one cherry pie after another, an Ohio housewife tries to bridge the gaps between reality and the torrent of meaningless info that is the United States of America. She worries about her children, her dead parents, African elephants, the bedroom rituals of ‘happy couples’, Weapons of Mass Destruction and how to hatch an abandoned wood pigeon egg. Is there some trick to surviving survivalists? School shootings? Medical debts? Franks ‘n’ beans?
A scorching indictment of America’s barbarity, past and present, and a lament for the way we are sleepwalking into environmental disaster, Ducks, Newburyport is a heresy, a wonder-and a revolution in the novel.
It’s also very, very funny.
Buy it here.
An Orchestra of Minorities
by Chigozie Obioma
In this contemporary twist of Homer’s Odyssey, in the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition, Chigozie Obioma weaves a heart-wrenching epic about the tension between destiny and determination.
Umuahia, Nigeria. Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, sees a woman attempting to jump to her death from a highway bridge. Horrified by her recklessness, Chinonso joins her on the roadside and hurls two of his most prized chickens into the water below to demonstrate the severity of the fall. The woman, Ndali, is moved by his sacrifice.
Bonded by this strange night on the bridge, Chinonso and Ndali fall in love. But Ndali is from a wealthy family, and when they officially object to the union because he is uneducated, Chinonso sells most of his possessions to attend a small college in Cyprus. Once in Cyprus, he discovers that all is not what it seems. Furious at a world which continues to relegate him to the sidelines, Chinonso gets further and further away from his dream, from Ndali and the place he called home.
Buy it here.
Check out more acclaimed books on our Award Winning Reads page!
About the Contributor
Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.
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