Literary Corner Cafe

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The 2011 Man Booker Shortlist Announced

The Booker shortlist was announced today in London. I have to admit, my two favorites, Alan Hollinghurst's The Stranger's Child and Sebastian Barry's On Canaan's Side did not make it from the longlist to the shortlist. I thought both of those books were beautiful and masterful, and I was really hoping Barry would win since he didn't capture the prize for The Secret Scripture.

On the whole, I do like the shortlist, though. My favorites are Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birch and Half Blood Blues by Edi Edugyan, but all the books have something special to offer.

The 2011 Booker Shortlist consists of:

The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes - Barnes tackles the disappointments of ageing, the slipperiness of memory and the intensity of youthful experience, as narrator Tony remembers his brilliant schoolfriend Adrian and his difficult first girlfriend Veronica. The bequest of a diary puts all his comfortable certainties into question.

Jamrach's Menagerie by Carol Birth - Birch’s 11th novel, also longlisted for the Orange, is a brilliantly vivid recreation of the 19th-century London docks and a doomed expedition to the South Pacific to capture a ‘dragon’ for the charismatic naturalist Jamrach. Birch combines precise historical detail with epic themes of wanderlust and survival.

The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt - Eli and Charlie Sisters are hired killers on the American west coast in 1851, during the Gold Rush in the Sierra Nevada mountains. Caught in a cycle of inflationary violence, Eli begins to wonder if there's not an easier way to make a life, in a Western that explores humanity in the face of huge economic and technological change.

Half Blood Blues by Edi Edugyan - Canadian author Edugyan's second novel begins soon after the fall of Paris in 1940, when jazz trumpeter Hieronymous Falk is arrested in a cafe. He is never heard from again. Just 20, he was both a German citizen, and black. Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero's bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin.

Pigeon English by Stephen Kelman - The epidemic of teenage knife crime is the backdrop to this debut, in which an 11-year-old Ghanaian boy turns detective after witnessing the aftermath of a murder on a London estate. Voice is all in a novel that offsets adult realities with the innocent argot of small boys.

Snowdrops by A.D. Miller, a former Russian correspondent of "The Economist," tackles Putin-era corruption in this assured debut. The narrator, an English lawyer living in Moscow, finds his morals compromised when he becomes entangled in a shady property deal.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors, and good luck.

(Descriptions courtesy of "The Guardian" Website)

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