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2018 Man Booker Short list predictions


Our shadow panel of 6 judges managed to collectively read all 13 books. We rated all the books on the following criteria: 1) writing quality; 2) originality; 3) character development; 4) plot development; and 5) enjoyment.  Based on our collective ratings we came up with a group shortlist. Keep reading to find out how each book was ranked and which books we predict will make the list. The shortlist will be announced tomorrow. 

To start off, below are are “objective” rankings. These rankings were based on our overall ratings for each book averaged across all judges who read the book. If you click on the links they will take you to our mini-reviews of each book. Here are our panel’s consensus ratings:

  1. Overstory: (18/20)
  2. The Long Take (17.5/20)
  3. From a Low and Quiet Sea (17.2/20)
  4. Warlight (15.56/20)
  5. Everything Under (15.5/20)
  6. In our Man and Furious City (15.5/20)
  7. Washington Black (15/20)
  8. Milkman (14.8/20)
  9. The Water Cure (14.2/20)
  10. The Mars Room (14/20)
  11. Normal People (13/20)
  12. Snap (11.5/20)
  13. Sabrina (9.5/20)

Based on our overall combined ratings, the first 6 books would make our shortlist if we were the Man Booker judges. We’ve given each judge the opportunity to share their thoughts and predictions for the shortlist.

Jen’s Predictions: Overall I though the list was pretty weak this year. I usually predict which books I think will make it, but this year I have no idea what the judges are thinking – based largely on the fact that I thought the long list selections were unusual. So instead of venturing to pick which books I think will make it, I’m going to instead tell you which books I think deserve to make the shortlist. Here are my choices in no particular order.

  1. In Our Mad and Furious City
  2. Milkman
  3. Long Take
  4. Warlight
  5. Overstory
  6. From a Low and Quiet Sea

I think it is unlikely that all 6 of those books will make the shortlist because it only includes one female author but unfortunately for the women on the list, these are the six books that I thought the best of the lot. If I were to venture a guess, I would say that Overstory would be replaced by Washington Black or Everything Under on the actual shortlist.

Book Worm’s predictions: 

  1. The Overstory
  2. The Long Take
  3. Everything Under
  4. Warlight
  5. The Mars Room
  6. In Our Mad and Furious City

Nicole’s predictions:  

In no particular order

The Overstory
The Long Take
From a Low and Quiet Sea
Warlight
In Our Mad and Furious City
Milkman

I haven’t read two of these books, so pretty much a crapshoot.  I feel like one of the Irish authors could win the whole thing this year.

Anita’s predictions complete stabs in the dark:

1. The Overstory
2. The Long Take
3. From a Low and Quiet Sea
4. Warlight
5. Washington Black
6. In Our Mad and Furious City

Lisa’s predictions:

1. Overstory
2. The Long Take
3. From a Low and Quiet Sea
4. Warlight
5. Milkman
6. The Water Cure

Andrew’s Predictions: So… since I only managed 4 books, and 3 of them don’t deserve to be shortlisted, this is mostly based on my compatriot’s reviews:

Overstory
From a Low and Quiet Sea
In our Mad and Furious City
Warlight
Washington Black
The Long Take

We want to hear from you! What did you think of the list? Which books do you think will make the list? Which judge do you think has it right?

Want to check out some other predictions? Check one of our favorites here:

14 Comments Post a comment
  1. Susie #

    Those l want to make it and those that I think will make it are two different things! I’m going to say The Overstory, Warlight, Everything Under, The Long Take, Normal People, and The Water Cure for personal preference, however I think there’s a fair chance that Milkman might make it rather than The Water Cure. I’m really looking forward to finding out. I’m hoping to finish the last few hours of Washington Black today before the announcement, but I have a PD so it’s unlikely!

    Like

    September 19, 2018
  2. Scott #

    My predictions:

    Everything Under
    The Long Take
    The Overstory
    Sabrina
    Warlight
    Washington Black

    Like

    September 19, 2018
  3. I wavered between Mad and Furious City and Normal people.

    Like

    September 20, 2018
  4. pbtanita #

    And the shortlist is:

    The 2018 shortlist of six novels

    Author (country/territory) Title (imprint)

    Anna Burns (UK) Milkman (Faber & Faber)

    Esi Edugyan (Canada) Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)

    Daisy Johnson (UK) Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)

    Rachel Kushner (USA) The Mars Room (Jonathan Cape)

    Richard Powers (USA) The Overstory (William Heinemann)

    Robin Robertson (UK) The Long Take (Picador)

    Like

    September 20, 2018
    • pbtanita #

      Surprising list to me as per usual. Basically my projections did as well as if I randomly selected half the books. That part doesn’t surprise me.

      Like

      September 20, 2018
  5. The good news is, I don’t have to read Mad and Furious City, the bad news is I have to read Washington Black.

    Like

    September 20, 2018
    • pbtanita #

      But, but, it’s good!

      Like

      September 20, 2018
  6. Bookworm did pretty well with her predictions – 4 of these six did make it to the shortlist. I am surprised Warlight didn’t get through and would have loved to have seen Ryan on the list

    Like

    September 20, 2018
    • pbtanita #

      She did very well! I was impressed.

      Like

      September 20, 2018
  7. I think this year has been my best prediction year ever, sadly I am still hopeless as predicting what will make the longlist 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    September 21, 2018
    • Scott #

      I picked four of the finalists but think the exclusion of Warlight almost as incomprehensible as the inclusion of Milkman. The Mars Room was okay and The Overstory and Everything Under even better. My pick for the winner is Washington Black.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 21, 2018
      • pbtanita #

        I agree with your thoughts, Scott. While Warlight bored me, I thought the use of language was so beautiful that it deserved to be shortlisted. Milkman is incomprehensible to me, but apparently it’s polarizing because there are those who LOVED it. I’m 65% of the way through Washington Black, and personally I think it is excellent . . .in fact, I’m reading it slowly to savor it more. Great storytelling and beautifully written . . .but now that Milkman is shortlisted, I fear that’s the one that will win.

        Like

        September 22, 2018
    • pbtanita #

      Bookworm, selecting four was impressive! Last year, I tried to guess what the judges would like – – fail. This year, I based my choices on what I liked – fail. I’m out of strategies.

      Like

      September 22, 2018
      • pbtanita #

        Though, I did like Mars Room more than Warlight, but I couldn’t fathom Warlight wouldn’t be chosen . . .so maybe I second guessed myself again!

        Like

        September 22, 2018

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