Posted by: Lisa Hill | September 13, 2017

2017 Man Booker shortlist

The 2017 Man Booker shortlist has just been announced late tonight Australian time, and I’ve only read two of them.  I’m disappointed to see that only one of my favourites from the longlist, Exit West made it.

4321 by Paul Auster (US) (Faber & Faber)

History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund (US) (Weidenfeld & Nicolson) (Update 18/10/17 see my review)

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid (UK-Pakistan) (Hamish Hamilton) (Update 18/10/17 see my review)

Elmet by Fiona Mozley (UK) (JM Originals) (Update 18/10/17 see my review)

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders (US) (Bloomsbury Publishing) – I borrowed this from the library and couldn’t get interested in it at all.

Autumn by Ali Smith (UK) (Hamish Hamilton) see my review.

Three titles from the US, and three from the UK, so this prize isn’t doing anything to introduce readers to authors from the Commonwealth or anywhere else.

The 2017 winner will be announced on Tuesday 17 October, but I don’t think I really care…

Update 18/917 And this article by Alex Shepherd at New Republic explains (a) why I was briefly excited to have read some of the longlist and (b) why the Booker no longer matters.


  1. Sigh*
    Although happy to see Exit West & Lincoln in the Bardo there.

    • I was so disappointed by Lincoln in the Bardo. I was expecting to like it!

      • I was expecting not to like it. Therefore pleasantly surprised.

  2. What was your other favourite Lisa?

  3. I’ve just had – early this afternoon in fact – Lincoln in Bardo recommended by one of my old reading group friends. She highly recommended it. (I say old but she’s 3 years younger that I! However, she retired to the south coast a few years ago so she’s an old, i.e. no longer active, member!)

    • I couldn’t get on with it at all. After I abandoned it I read some reviews and I think it’s a love it or hate it book…

  4. I’m dismayed at the absence of Reservoir 13 from the list. I also had hopes for Home Fire. Of the six left in the game I have Autumn, Elmet and History of Wolves in my sights.

    • Yes, I was surprised by that. Such a very good book…

  5. I’m not overjoyed either. Yes, Lincoln in the Bardo is probably the best of what I’ve read but Exit West is good as is Autumn. I started 4321 but life intervened – it’s pretty fun, a lot faster than it looks.

    I’m glad to hear that about Home Fire and Reservoir 13. Looking forward to Elmet and History of Wolves but they sound more like generic suspense novels.

    • Well, I’m waiting to see what people I trust think of the unfamiliar titles. So I’ll be watching out for your reviews!

  6. The issue of the dominance by USA of the prize came up at the press conference today when the shortlist was announced. The chair of judges denied that geography played an issue – but then she would wouldn’t she. I’m saddened by the way the Booker has gone – it means there is less chance of authors from smaller geographies getting into the final rounds. it’s noticeable how in the last few years we’ve had fewer Indian, ANZ authors

    • Well, yes, it’s not as if US authors need the kind of support that the Booker offers. Whereas it is invaluable to authors from places where literary writing is vulnerable because of a smaller market – and that does include Australia. But I’m not being parochial about it, and I do think it should always be about ‘the best book’ whatever that means, regardless of gender or cultural identity. But I can’t believe that there wasn’t a single author from Africa, Canada, India, NZ or the rest of the commonwealth that was worthy of inclusion. I just don’t believe that.
      I mean this shortlist might just as well be a PR release for the US/UK market.

      • It’s hard to believe that there wasn’t one author from those countries but then, reading something yesterday about the cost of entry into these prizes, did make me wonder whether that has an effect too.

        • I’m sure it does, but then, it always has, and in previous years there have been nominees and winners from other countries.

          • True. Whatever the cause it’s causing me to lose the keen interest in the Booker

  7. Have not read any. Lincoln in the Bardo is on my wait list at library for audio book as I heard it is wonderful with many actors voices. It will take awhile to get I suspect. The Booker has never been one of my favourite award results. I just can’t connect with many of their choices in the past so tend to focus on other things. I think it is just too political (sigh…like everything these days) though I do appreciate I miss some gems now and again.

    • Oh, well, it’s a good thing we have so many voices blogging their reading that we no longer need to rely on experts to tell us what to read!

  8. I haven’t read any of the Shortlist though my book group have chosen Autumn for November. I had read two of the Longlist, and was disappointed that Kamila Shamsie wasn’t on the shortlist.

    • Autumn is a good choice for November… when I was in a book group we always chose shorter books then because we were all so busy at work at that time of the year and then Christmas was on its way too.

  9. I’ll fix it, then delete this…

    • Thank you.

      • No worries, I like it when people fix my typos too!

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