2017 Man Booker Shortlist: 4321
Here is our final shortlist book! Our panel has been giving their thoughts on each of the nominated shortlist books. We’ll tell you briefly what we think of the book, the reasons we think it might win, and the reasons why it might not win. Keep reading to see what we think about whether it will be our 2017 Man Booker winner. Tomorrow we find out which book takes home the prize.
4321 by Paul Auster
Published: (US publication date): January 2017
Find it/buy it here: 4321
Amazon Synopsis: Nearly two weeks early, on March 3, 1947, in the maternity ward of Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, Archibald Isaac Ferguson, the one and only child of Rose and Stanley Ferguson, is born. From that single beginning, Ferguson’s life will take four simultaneous and independent fictional paths. Four identical Fergusons made of the same DNA, four boys who are the same boy, go on to lead four parallel and entirely different lives. Family fortunes diverge. Athletic skills and sex lives and friendships and intellectual passions contrast. Each Ferguson falls under the spell of the magnificent Amy Schneiderman, yet each Amy and each Ferguson have a relationship like no other. Meanwhile, readers will take in each Ferguson’s pleasures and ache from each Ferguson’s pains, as the mortal plot of each Ferguson’s life rushes on.
As inventive and dexterously constructed as anything Paul Auster has ever written, yet with a passion for realism and a great tenderness and fierce attachment to history and to life itself that readers have never seen from Auster before. 4 3 2 1 is a marvelous and unforgettably affecting tour de force.
Jen’s Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book and while it is dense and took me a good month to read, I thought it was worth reading.
Why it could win: The writing is brilliant, the character development is perhaps the best one among all the shortlisted books.
Why it might not win: Lots of people have complained that the book is too long or needed to be cut down (I disagree). A Guardian review called it long-winded and “heft without density.” I think it gets too many negative reviews to win.
Lisa’s Thoughts: I’m 2/3 of the way through. I am amazed by the way in which the author perfectly constructs each long sentence. He pulls me right along, consistently holding my interest. I also like the exploration of different possible life paths.
Why it could win: very ambitious and beautifully written
Why it might not win: it is so very solid, but I don’t think it forges new ground the way some of the other books do.
Anita’s Thoughts: This book has looked increasingly better in the rearview mirror for me. I kinda miss Ferguson.
Why It Could Win: The character development is superlative. It’s a huge epic undertaking that I think was admirable in its scope.
Why It Might Not Win: I can’t imagine that the entire panel of judges had fun reading this very American 1000 page plus tome. I think it’s too American to win.
Book Worm’s Thoughts: Unlike the other panelists I am afraid to say I did find this book boring and long winded in places. I fully expected to love this book but I don’t feel the ending paid back the time I invested in getting there.
Why it could win: It is the most ambitious book on the shortlist in terms of length and character study.
Why it might not win: It is not topical in the way some of the other books are topical, it is not really controversial and it is repetitive in places.
We want to hear from you. Have you read it? What did you think? Do you think it will win the 2016 Man Booker?
Stay tuned… Tonight our panel will announce their winner predictions