Good year for the Man Booker Prize
It's a good year for the Man Booker Prize. The longlist generated significant press coverage and sales, with The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas doing particularly good trade.
But, like a giddy thoroughbred in the Grand National, Tsiolkas has fallen at the shortlist hurdle along with David Mitchell, Lisa Moore, Alan Warner, Rose Tremain and Paul Murray.
That leaves Peter Carey (Parrot and Olivier in America), Tom McCarthy (C) Emma Donoghue (Room) Damon Galgut (In a Strange Room) Howard Jacobson (The Finkler Question) and Andrea Levy (The Long Song) in the running for the prize with its attendant £50,000 and sales surge.
All are good books; intelligent, well-crafted, captivating stories. And none would look inappropriately dressed if adorned with a Man Booker Prize Winner 2010 sticker. So, as ever with these things, the decision will come down to the taste of the judges, which is necessarily subjective. My suggestion would be to read them all and make your own mind up.
Much has been made of Tom McCarthy's novel C, which has been described as experimental and has been praised for its willingness to challenge the form. I wonder how many of those who have commented had read his previous novel Remainder? It struck me as a much more experimental book, at once both annoying and alluring, like reading Catch 22 with a John Cage CD playing in the background.
If there were ever a Man Booker Prize for overlooked novels, Remainder would get onto my shortlist.