The Man Booker Prize Long List was announced July 23, 2018. The list was whittled down from 171 submissions — the most amount of titles ever submitted — to just 13 incredible works. The award is open to writers of any nationality with books written in English and published in the UK or Ireland (a recent addition after a rule change in 2018). I always love seeing these lists as they inspire me to read powerful, modern works, but I know it would be rare to read all the nominations. This week I’ve made me own Man Booker Prize Short List from these Long List nominations. Let’s get started!
1. Snap by Belinda Baur
On a hot summer day, eleven-year-old Jack is left in charge of his two younger sisters while his mom goes to get help because their car has broken down. Three years later, Jack is still in charge with no answers as to where his mother is or even if she is still alive. Secrets start to come to light and the truth begins to unravel, but is it a truth they want to uncover? Snap immediately reminds me of a Gillian Flynn novel, and I know it promises to be more than just a thriller read. I think it’s quite unusual for such a straight-forward thriller to be a nomination for the Man Booker Prize, so I expect a lot from Snap once I open it’s covers. Published July 3, 2018.
2. The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner
Kushner writes about the inside of the Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility as Romy Hall begins the first of two consecutive life sentences. Initially, this reminds me of Orange is the New Black except fiction. It’s about the struggle inside the prison, with harshly rationed goods and regular abuse of power by the guards, and the desire for life beyond bars. I’m drawn to this story because I’ve never read anything like it, and I expect to learn something about our legal system and a path I never plan to embark on myself. Published May 1, 2018.
3. The Overstory by Richard Powers
In his 12th novel, Powers strings together the stories of nine different people and their relationship with the forest. Traveling across time and space, this novel tackles the deep divide between humans and nature. From it’s short description, this book seems to be a little bit mystical and eerie, as well as incredibly impactful with its message. I love a good intertwined story from various perspectives, and fantastical elements entice me further. Published April 3, 2018.
4. Normal People by Sally Rooney
A story about love and politics, Normal People follows Connell and Marianne throughout their young life from rural Ireland to a prestigious university in Dublin. A love that transcends societal expectations and monetary boundaries, Rooney’s second novel tackles the universal difficulties in life, like being true to who you are and accepting change. Since this is on the Man Booker Prize Long List, I know it’s more than an love story, but the love aspect is definitely what interested me at first. I’m excited to read about a country different from my own, and experience the love between these two people through the pages of a book. To be published April 16, 2019.
5. From a Low and Quiet Sea by Donal Ryan
This story centers on three men described separately as a refugee, a dreamer, and a penitent, and it’s all about how they come together in the end. The characters travel from Syria to Ireland, and it tells the story of how these men with vastly different backgrounds come to meet and influence each others lives. Unfortunately, I don’t know much else about the book, but honestly, all I need to know is that these separate stories end up intertwined at the end. Published July 17, 2018.
I’m excited to see which of the books on the Man Booker Prize Long List make it to the Short List, and if any of my selections make the cut. I’m sure my selections from the list are vastly different from your own, so let me know which books you’re excited to read in the comments below!