If you’re a fan of freshly baked bread then the ‘Baker’s Dozen’ offers a treat and if you’re a fan of freshly rated books, then the ‘Man Booker Dozen’ will fill you with excitement. We’re excited to see the stellar line up on this year’s prestigious literary prize list. Ahead of the weekend (an obvious excuse to hit your local bookseller) here’s a little more about the 13 titles which have made the list. Ready, set, read…
4 3 2 1 by Paul Auster: Archibald Isaac Ferguson is born on 3rd March 1947. From that one birth, Archibald’s life takes four simultaneous and yet utterly different paths. Four boys each with the same genetic make-up will grow up again and again and again, their lives filled with unique loves, losses trials and tribulations will converge and twist but never quite touch. The novel employs a quadruple narrative structure and explores both inner and outer worlds.
Days Without End by Sebastian Barry: Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms John Cole join the US Army in the 1850s and are soon fighting in the Indian and Civil Wars. Desperate to escape the hardships they have known all their lives, the young men experience days of vivid wonder, despite the horrors they encounter at war. An encounter with a young Indian girl forces them to make a choice that could change the course of their lives forever…
History with Wolves by Emily Fridlund: Linda lives with her parents on an ex-commune in Northern Minnesota, she doesn’t really fit in with the girls at school and she is largely left to her own devices. When a ‘perfect’ family move in to the cabin across the lake, Linda strikes up a friendship with them and finally feels that she has somewhere to belong. But all is not as it seems…
Exit West by Mohsin Hamid: Nadia and Saeed are two ordinary young people, attempting to do an extraordinary thing – to fall in love – in a world turned upside down. Theirs will be a love story but also a story about how we live now and how we might live tomorrow, of a world in crisis and two human beings travelling through it.
Solar Bones by Mike McCormack: Marcus Conway is an engineer who can’t help but use his mathematical mind to consider how things are held together, bridges, banking systems, marriages…. A novel in which a whole life and its ponderings are condensed into a single hour.
Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor: A young girl has gone missing and her community band together to find her, the tragedy of one family has shock wave impact on everyone involved but there is also everyday life to be going on with – births, deaths, farm life, even a pantomime to be rehearsed. A look at the rhythms of rural life.
Elmet by Fiona Mozley: A novel commenting on contemporary society and one family’s place in it, Elmet follows Daniel, Cathy and Daddy as they try to make their place in the world and explores the bonds between a father and child.
Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders: The American Civil War rages while President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son lies gravely ill. In a matter of days, Willie dies and is laid to rest in a Georgetown cemetery. Newspapers report that a grief-stricken Lincoln returns to the crypt several times alone to hold his boy’s body.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhathi Roy: he Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on a journey of many years – the story spooling outwards from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis and beyond, to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India, where war is peace and peace is war, and where, from time to time, ‘normalcy’ is declared.
Autumn by Ali Smith: Daniel is a century old. Elisabeth, born in 1984, has her eye on the future. The United Kingdom is in pieces, divided by a historic once-in-a-generation summer. Love is won, love is lost. Hope is hand in hand with hopelessness. The seasons roll round, as ever.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith: Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and true identity, how they shape us and how we can survive them.
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead: A novel documenting the odyssey of a young slave as she fights for freedom and searches for a better life, a powerful meditation on American history.
Home Fire by Kamila Shamshie: The novel is an urgent, fiercely compelling story of loyalties torn apart when love and politics collide. (To be published 15th August 2017)
We say that’s weekend and summer reading sorted. Happy reading and good luck to all longlistees.