Man Booker Prize 2012 Longlist in Sin City

Man Booker Prize 2012 Longlist in Sin City

In previous years I have made an effort to read all the books on the Man Booker Prize shortlist. Back then, I was living in England, and the library had all the books on the list. I was working full time, too, so I only had the time for the shortlist.

Yesterday the Booker Prize longlist was, and I have already read a rather paltry one of them. The book itself wasn’t paltry, it was Bringing Up The Bodies, which was very good.  I can’t see that winning this year, though, with Wolf Hall having won previously.  I have read quite a lot of Will Self’s earlier books, and am not particularly keen to read any more.

So, I got on to the Las Vegas / Clark Country Library website to check out what I can check out. Here’s what I will be reading in the coming weeks:

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce. This is probably going to make me quite homesick. The protagonist walks the length of Britain in order to save someone’s life. It’s her debut, although she’s written quite a few radio plays. Amazon describes it as “a tender, quietly comic, heartstopping and very British coming of (old) age novel from a powerful new voice in fiction”. Sounds harmless enough.

Skios, by Michael Frayn. It’s is set on the Greek island of, you guessed it, Skios, and seems to be about an adventure involving a science lecturer, a woman he is romantically involved with, and a strange old guy. Not my usual sort of thing. I bought a copy of his 1999 Booker-shortlisted historical fiction Headlong, but never got around to reading it, I would rather read that than Skios. Apparently Michael Frayn is 78, the oldest writer on the longlist this year.

Narcopolis, by Jeet Thayil. Set it 1970s Bombay, up to, I think, 2000s – over only 300 pages! This one sounds like the most interesting of the three. It’s set around an opium den, with an interesting and varied group of characters. Thayil is a poet from India, so I’m hoping the be reading some creative prose here. I read Booker prize winner White Tiger when that was on the shortlist, that one is about modern India and I really didn’t like it, so I hope this one is more enjoyable.

What they don’t have is;

The Yips, by Nicola Barker

The Teleportation Accident, by Ned Beauman

Umbrella, by Will Self (amazed that they don’t have this, they have others by him, though)

Philida, by Andre Brink

The Garden of Evening Mists, by Tan Twan Eng

Swimming Home, by Deborah Levy (short stories – so I’m glad they haven’t got that one)

The Lighthouse, by Alison Moore

Communion Town, by Sam Thompson

This is in no way a criticism of Las Vegas Clark County Libraries. I think the libraries here are excellent. This is a British award, so I wouldn’t expect a US library to stock them all. Honestly, it’s a relief, I have a huge pile of books on my to-read shelf, and adding eleven more (the whole list, that I haven’t read) would have been just silly. I’m looking forward to reading the three that the library have, and I hope my four get on the shortlist, announced in September.

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