2017 Man Booker Shortlist: Elmet
Today is going to be a busy day on the blog because I’ve procrastinated and still have to post our last two books and our predictions for winner. Today we’ll cover Elmet and 4321 then will end the day by posting our winner predictions. Our panel will be 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. Here are our thoughts for Elmet by Fiona Mozley. Keep reading to see what we think about whether it will be our 2017 Man Booker winner.
Amazon Synopsis: In this atmospheric and profoundly moving debut, Cathy and Daniel live with their father, John, in the remote woods of Yorkshire, in a house the three of them built themselves. John is a gentle brute of a man, a former enforcer who fights for money when he has to, but who otherwise just wants to be left alone to raise his children. When a local landowner shows up on their doorstep, their precarious existence is threatened, and a series of actions is set in motion that can only end in violence. Steeped in the natural world of northern England, this is a lyrical commentary on the bonds of siblings and fatherhood, and on the meaning of community in the modern world. Elmet marks the launch of a major new voice in literary fiction.
Jen’s Thoughts: This is the book I least want to win the prize. I did really like the first half of the book. I found it haunting and an interesting portrayal of a certain lifestyle. I also loved the strength of the female character. But… I really disliked the last third. I found that part melodramatic and frankly quite unbelievable and silly — a strict contrast to the rest of the book. Any of you ever watch True Blood? The ending of this book for some reason reminded me of that scene when Lillith comes out of the pool of blood for the first time.
Why it could win: It’s listed third in the betting odds for taking home the prize. It contains great descriptions of the the landscape and family lifestyle. It is also filled with gender and class commentary.
Why it might not win: It’s a debut novel and while debut novels sometimes win, the prize usually goes to more established authors. It shouldn’t win. The other books on the list are stiff competition and superior to this book.
Book Worm’s Thoughts: This is not my favourite book on the shortlist but it is the one I think the judges will choose.
Why it could win: This is a novel packed with controversy and going by previous years the judges love controversy. It is also a book by a relatively unknown author and I think that will be considered when judging.
Why it might not win: While I did enjoy the novel I personally didn’t find it that mind blowing. I also had issues with the narrators voice, for me it just didn’t sit right with the rest of the story and the family/social dynamic shown in the novel.
Nicole’s Thoughts: I enjoyed this book from start to finish and the characters kicked butt.
Why it could win: Because it’s a complete dark horse.
Why it might not win: As much as I loved it, it’s flawed and there were much strong books on the list.
Anita’s Thoughts: Even though I really panned this book in my review, I have to say I did enjoy reading it more than Autumn. There’s something more to it than meets the eye. But it was hard for me to be fair to it because the ending was just way over the top.
Why It Could Win: This book represents a fresh UK-based voice and that might be enough to win.
Why It Might Not Win: Personally, if this doesn’t win, I blame the editors. Eliminate the inconsistencies and reel in the ending a bit, and I think this one could have been more of a contender.
We want to hear from you. Have you read it? What did you think? Do you think it will win the 2016 Man Booker?