2012 Booker Shortlist Announced

Last week, the six finalists for the Man Booker Prize were announced. If you’re not familiar with the Booker, it is the United Kingdom’s most prominent literary award. It has been awarded annually since 1969 to a novel written in English by a citizen of the U.K., the Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland. Winners of the Booker Prize tend to enjoy critical and popular success in the United States as well.


This year’s shortlist includes Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel, the sequel to 2009 Booker winner Wolf Hall. Mantel’s latest has already been a bestseller in the U.S. and a hit at Oakland Public Library. Other finalists include The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil, Swimming Home by Deborah Levy, The Lighthouse by Alison Moore, and Umbrella by Will Self. To the annoyance of local readers, these books are often unavailable in the U.S. at the time that the finalists are announced--however, a shortlist nomination will often speed up a U.S. release. At this time, Bring Up the Bodies, The Gift of Rain, and Narcopolis are available, and Umbrella has been scheduled for U.S. release in early 2013.


On a side note, acclaimed Oakland author Yiyun Li will sit on the 2013 Booker judging committee.


Current Nominees and Recent Winners of the Man Booker Prize available from Oakland Public Library


Bring Up the Bodies
By Hilary Mantel
2012 Booker Shortlist
Depicts the downfall of Anne Boleyn at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell as Anne and her powerful family fight back while she is on trial for adultery and treason. The sequel to Hilary Mantel's 2009 Man Booker Prize winner and New York Times bestseller Wolf Hall delves into the heart of Tudor history.


The Garden of Evening Mists
By Tan Twan Eng
2012 Booker Shortlist
Seeking solace in the Malaysian plantations of her childhood after grueling World War II experiences, criminal prosecutor Yun Ling Teoh discovers a Japanese garden and its enigmatic tender, an exiled Japanese royal gardener who reluctantly accepts her as an apprentice. By the author of The Gift of Rain.


Narcopolis
By Jeet Thayil
2012 Booker Shortlist
A tale of vice and passion set against a backdrop of late 1970s Bombay finds a New Yorker becoming entranced with the underworld culture of an opium den and brothel where he encounters a pipe-making eunuch, a violent businessman, and a Chinese refugee.


The Sense of an Ending
By Julian Barnes
2011 Booker Winner
Follows a middle-aged man as he reflects on a past he thought was behind him, until he is presented with a legacy that forces him to reconsider different decisions, and to revise his place in the world. 


The Finkler Question
By Howard Jacobson
2010 Booker Winner
Julian Treslove, a radio producer, and Samuel Finkler, a Jewish philosopher, have been friends since childhood and, as they enter middle age, they reminisce over their struggles with self-identity, anti-Semitism, women, love, and the past.


Wolf Hall
By Hilary Mantel
2009 Booker Winner
Assuming the power recently lost by the disgraced Cardinal Wolsey, Thomas Cromwell counsels a mercurial Henry VIII on the latter's efforts to marry Anne Boleyn against the wishes of Rome and many of his people, a successful endeavor that comes with a dangerous price.


The White Tiger
By Aravind Adiga
2008 Booker Winner
Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life -- having nothing but his own wits to help him along.


The Gathering
By Anne Enright
2007 Booker Winner
The nine surviving children of the Hegarty clan are gathering in Dublin for the wake of their wayward brother, Liam, drowned in the sea. His sister, Veronica, collects the body and keeps the dead man company, guarding the secret she shares with him - something that happened in their grandmother's house in the winter of 1968. As Enright traces the line of betrayal and redemption through three generations, she shows how memories warp and secrets fester.


The Inheritance of Loss
By Kiran Desai
2006 Booker Winner
In a crumbling house in the remote northeastern Himalayas, an embittered, elderly judge finds his peaceful retirement turned upside down by the arrival of his orphaned granddaughter, Sai.


The Sea
By John Banville
2005 Booker Winner
Following the death of his wife, Max Morden retreats to the seaside town of his childhood summers, where his own life becomes inextricably entwined with the members of the vacationing Grace family.


Posted on 9/19/12 by Christy Thomas, Librarian, Main Library.

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Update: Deborah Levy's Booker

Update: Deborah Levy's Booker nominated novel, Swimming Home, has been scheduled for US release on 10/16, the same day the Booker Award winner will be announced. It is now in the catalog and available for holds.

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