Posted by: Lisa Hill | July 27, 2017

Gosh, I’ve read some of the 2017 Man Booker longlist!

I’ve got used to being hopelessly out of touch with the Booker prize, so I was rather startled to discover that I’ve read some of the longlist:

4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber) (I’ll need a lot of persuading, I haven’t liked his fiction up to now)

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry (Ireland) (Faber & Faber)

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson), debut novel, but I’m open to persuasion (Update 18/10/17 see my review)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Pakistan-UK) (Hamish Hamilton)

Solar Bones by Mike McCormack (Ireland) (Canongate)

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor (UK) (4th Estate)

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals), debut novel, but I’m open to persuasion (Update 18/10/17 see my review)

The Ministry Of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy (India) (Hamish Hamilton), already on my TBR

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury), not keen on the sound of this, but (Update 18/10/17 abandoned at page 62)

Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie (UK-Pakistan) (Bloomsbury), probably not, not keen after reading her previous one, but see Claire’s review at Word by Word

AutumnAutumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton), maybe…

Swing Time by Zadie Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton),

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (US) (Fleet),

But nothing from Canada, anywhere in Africa or Australia?  Hmmm..

The shortlist of six books will be announced on Wednesday 13 September and the 2017 winner will be announced on Tuesday 17 October.

Congratulations to all the authors, editors and publishers!


  1. I wasn’t keen on Lincoln in the Bardo but after listening to The Book Club on ABC iView last night I have changed my mind. If you have not seen it have a look. Series 11, episode 5 or 6 I think. I didn’t like Underground Railroad at all. Personally enough people think (in USA) think it was a real train. This doesnt help with history. Trump probably thinks it is a real train as he thought Frederick Douglas was still alive. Roll eyes into forehead. Good review .

  2. You’ve already read a lot of them actually.

    • I think that’s because it’s quite a mainstream list by well-known writers, most of whom are writers who I read anyway.

  3. I’m relieved I won’t have to go looking for a hat to eat now Reservoir 13 is safely on the list!

    • Yes, love his stuff. Was it your review of this that I read just recently?

      • I did review it a little while back, somewhat rapturously. It’s the one book I was desperate to see on the list.

        • Thanks, Susan, I’ve added a link to your review above.

          • Thank you, Lisa. Very kind!

            • You know what, I have read it, I read it on your recommendation! And not so long ago either.

              • I hope you liked it.

                • I did! Terribly sad, but beautifully written with great empathy. But somehow the title failed to register with me when I was whipping up this post. I was rushing to go out to a solar power info night run by our local council…

                • Well, that’s a relief!

  4. It does seem rather mainstream… I’ve read the Irish ones but this list seems predictably Anglo-American centric. Still, I’m keen to read Reservoir 13 but was waiting for paperback release.

  5. You know, what it’s made me realise is that we lack a champion for books from Canada and Africa.
    For English publishers to take up interest in books outside the US and UK, and to buy the rights to publish them in the UK, they need to know about them. Now we no longer have Kevin, and Kinna isn’t reviewing books any more, it’s hard to know about the books that matter. I follow a couple of blogs from Ghana and Nigeria and a couple from Canada, but it’s a bit hit-and-miss and I’m certainly not constantly adding books from those countries to my TBR like I used to.

  6. Well I usually haven’t even heard of most of the books shortlisted for this prize and I’ve even read one this year (The Underground Railroad) and I have one on my tbr pile (Days Without End).

    • I really liked Days without End. Quite different to everything else I’ve read by Barry but that just shows how versatile he is.

      • He is one of my favourite authors and I received this for Christmas but for some reason I have been put off reading it. I think I’m scared of being disappointed like Kim from Reading Matters.

        • I know what you mean, there’s something very comforting about knowing an author and feeling confident that it’s going to be a good book…

  7. I have only read two, Reservoir 13, which still lingers on with me, and Exit West. which I enjoyed. I will read Lincoln in the Bardo soon. As for the others, I will wait for the short list before I commit to any more of the nominations.

    • Yes, I’m going to get Reservoir 13 because I was always going to get it anyway, but the rest can wait until I see a good review from someone I trust…

  8. And I’ve already read 5! Yikes! I’ve never done that well before. So I’ve just downloaded 4 of the others as samples on Kindle. There are 2 others which are pre-orders (means they’ll likely be available before too long) and 1, Elmet by Fiona Mozley, which is not even mentioned in the US Amazon site. – I guess that was a huge surprise to all.

    I’ve read these (my reviews are linked):
    Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)

    Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (Bloomsbury)
    The best of the lot so far as I’ve read.

    Autumn by Ali Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
    Nice – I do enjoy Smith

    Swing Time by Zadie Smith (Hamish Hamilton, Penguin Random House)
    Not so happy with this one

    The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (Fleet, Little, Brown)
    A very good book and quite enjoyable but I’m not sure it’s Booker Prize material –

    ** I’ve got samples of these:
    4321 by Paul Auster – starting out very nicely –
    Days Without End by Sebastian Barry
    History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund
    The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

    ** These are pre-orders but not by me – not yet
    Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
    Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor
    Home Fire by Kamila Shamsie

    ** This is not available in the US yet at all
    Elmet by Fiona Mozley

    I wonder if I can read the lot of them prior to the short-list coming out in mid-September – ??? (Do I want to? – seriously.)

    • Fantastic, Becky, I’ll add your links up above.

  9. I’ve only read one, but a few that look enticing on the list, although I’m not in a rush to read them with #WITMonth coming up and others still to read! Still look forward to the reviews to confirm which I might splash out on, I haven’t hear anything about the Kamila Shamsie novel.

    • That’s the dilemma, isn’t… so many competing demands on our reading time.

  10. Well you beat me as I haven’t read any.

    • I’m sure the fact that I’ve read more than half of them means something, but I’m not sure what it is.
      Three of them were just serendipitous finds at the library, so it might just be that my library is brilliant at finding books?

      • Might be. I’m not that tempted by any of them.

  11. i’ve not read any of these which is not surprising since my focus this year has been on what i already owned rather than new titles.. My first reaction to the list was that it was rather predictable. Other than the two debuts the books are all ones that i could have expected. i’m missing the excitement factor.

    • I’m missing the global factor. I do like to discover authors from round the world and sometimes the Booker can turn up really interesting books.

  12. I plan to read (soon) Solar Bones and the Arundhati Roy. Two from a Booker longlist is probably an all-time high for me.

    • I’m interested in the Arundhati Roy. I’ve read some awful reviews of the novel, but then, she’s so political, I’d expect some people to dislike the book just because of that. And clearly these Booker judges think it’s worthy of long listing.
      #LuckyMe I just bought it yesterday, before the longlist was out.

  13. wow, you’ve read an impressive amount of the list. But then again I’m not one to read new books. Frankly I’m very unimpressed by this longlist; too many UK/US authors.

    • Yes, it’s got a rather monocultural feel about it. But having said that, I don’t think that wishing for more diversity should obscure the fact that there are some very good books here, telling important stories. Solar Bones is a very good book indeed, and so is Reservoir 13.

      • I will admit that both Solar Bones and Reservoir 13 (along with Paul Auster) have been on my radar but I haven’t been buying books as of late; trying to get to those ones on my shelves. Maybe I’ll check the library.

  14. This is an interesting lineup of writers and books. I’ve read Colson Whitehead’s novel, The Underground Railroad. I look forward to reading the novels by Arundhati Roy and Zadie Smith.

    • I’m not sure but I think Roy’s novel might be the longest one in the list.

  15. […] Longlisted for the 2017 Booker, Autumn (2016) is first of what will apparently be a series of four.  (Winter is due for publication in November).  I hesitate to call it a novel because although this Hamish Hamilton edition is 259 pages long, it is printed in such a large font that it feels like reading a Large Print edition. It takes only an hour or two to read and if it were printed in a normal font it would be more of a novella.  I looked up the rules of eligibility for the Booker Prize – and found that entries appear to be limited to novels, but presumably they’ve had that argument and resolved it in Smith’s favour. […]

  16. […] only read two of them.  I’m disappointed to see that only one of my favourites from the longlist, Exit West made […]

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