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Posts from the ‘Man Booker Prize’ Category

2017 Man Booker Longlist: History of Wolves

History of Wolves.jpg

Book number 5 for our shadow panel is History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund. Five of us read this book. Once again we reviewed the book on the following criteria: 1) writing quality; 2) originality; 3) character development; 4) plot development; and 5) overall enjoyment. We’ve each provided mini-reviews and ratings. Here are our ratings for History of Wolves.
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2017 Man Booker longlist: Lincoln in the Bardo

lincoln in the bardo

Next up for our Shadow panel is Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. Our panel reviewed the book on the following criteria: 1) writing quality; 2) originality; 3) character development; 4) plot development; and 5) overall enjoyment. We’ve each provided mini-reviews and ratings. We hope you add your own thoughts and comments. Here are our ratings…
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2017 Man Booker longlist: The Underground Railroad

underground railroad

It’s officially time to begin our shadow panel reviews. For those of you who don’t know us well, each year we gather a group of panelists to do a shadow panel of the Man Booker longlist books. Our panel collectively reviews all the books on the longlist and at the end of the month we will make our predictions. Each week we will post 2-3 reviews with our ratings.

Our panel reviews each the book on the following criteria: 1) writing quality; 2) originality; 3) character development; 4) plot development; and 5) overall enjoyment. We’ve each provided mini-reviews and ratings. We rank books using that criteria to produce an “objective” ranking of our top 6 books.

First up for our Shadow panel is Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad. A few of us (not me) predicted this would make the longlist. Here are our mini reviews and ratings for The Underground Railroad.
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And the winner is…

man booker

The 2016 Man Booker Award winner was announced this today. Yesterday our panel made final predictions and we were pretty evenly split between The Sellout and Do Not Say you Have Nothing with Thien’s book having a slight edge. And the prize went to…


Congrats to Paul Beatty in his much deserved win. While I personally was rooting for Madeleine Thien’s book, I thought the Sellout was superb and worthy of the win.  All 5 of our panelist read this book before the shortlist announcement and we had predicted it would make the shortlist. Kate and Nicole also predicted it would win the whole thing.

Paul Beatty is the first US author to win the Man Booker!

We want to hear from you! What do you think of the judges’ decision? Do you think the book deserves to win the prize? If not, which book should have won?

2016 Man Booker Prize: Final predictions

The time has come for our panel of judges to predict the final winner of the Man Booker 2016 Prize. Tomorrow the finalist will be announced. Here’s who we think will take home the final prize… Read more

2016 Man Booker Shortlist: All that Man is by David Szalay

all that man is

Our final shortlist book is All star Man is by David Szalay. Four of our panelists read this book. Read what we think of its odds of winning the prize. This Monday we will each make our final predictions for the winner.

All that Man is by David Szalay
Published: October 2016 (US publication date)
Find it/buy it here: All that Man is

Amazon Synopsis: Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving–in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel–to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly separate narratives of All That Man Is aggregate into a picture of a single shared existence, a picture that interrogates the state of modern manhood while bringing to life, unforgettably, the physical and emotional terrain of an increasingly globalized Europe. And so these nine lives form an ingenious and new kind of novel, in which David Szalay expertly plots a dark predicament for the twenty-first-century man.

Dark and disturbing, but also often wickedly and uproariously comic, All That Man Is is notable for the acute psychological penetration Szalay brings to bear on his characters, from the working-class ex-grunt to the pompous college student, the middle-aged loser to the Russian oligarch. Steadily and mercilessly, as this brilliantly conceived book progresses, the protagonist at the center of each chapter is older than the last one, it gets colder out, and All That Man Is gathers exquisite power. Szalay is a writer of supreme gifts–a master of a new kind of realism that vibrates with detail, intelligence, relevance, and devastating pathos.

Jen’s Thoughts: By far my least favorite book on the longlist in terms of content.
Why it could win: It’s well written and as much as I disliked it, I can’t deny that Szalay is a talented writer. David Szalay is a darling of literary critics. The book recently won the Gordon Burn award for being a work that “subtly changes the way you look at the contemporary world.” Clearly professional reviewers like it more than I did.
Why it might not win: It’s not really a novel but rather a short story collection. I personally didn’t think it was a particularly nuanced or complex analysis of modern day masculinity. I found the stories to be repetitive and overly gloomy in an unrealistic way.

Book Worm’s Thoughts: This was my least favourite book on the list and personally it would not have made the shortlist.
Why it could win: Because there is no justice in the world? Because the judges are mad? On a serious note it could win because the way the book shows the stages of a man’s life is actually quite original although very bleak and depressing.
Why it might not win: Because it is bleak, depressing and not representative of all that man is.

Nicole’s Thoughts:  I don’t know if I’m ever going to finish this book, or even if I want to.  I don’t dislike it, but it’s not inspiring.  I really like the travel aspect of it, and it’s interesting because I’m a travel person so that’s much more inspiring to me than the musical nature of Do Not Say We Have Nothing – so maybe I’m just a super self-centered reader
Why it could win: 1.  To irritate this panel 🙂  2.  Some perceived depth?  3.  Perhaps the characters are particularly relatable to the men on the panel.
Why it might not win: I thought most of the Longlist books I read were better than this, so I’m not quite sure what was seen in it to begin with.

Kate’s Thoughts: Didn’t read it. Didn’t want to.
Why it could win: Men like books about men?
Why it might not win: There are better books on the list?

Andrew’s thoughts – I did not care for this book at all.  I found it to be a stereotypically myopic view of masculinity that suggested sexual desirability and status were the two things that motivated and defined modern man.  Despite Donald Trump’s popularity, I’d like to think that isn’t true.
Why it could win: It somehow made the short list so someone must have liked it.  The writing is superb if you enjoy short, declarative sentences (which I do) and the conceit of viewing life through a series of vignettes depicting different men at progressive stages of life is interesting.
Why it might not win: Is this a novel or a collection of short stories?  Either way, this is a bleak, depressing book that proved to be an unenjoyable read.

We want to hear from you. Have you read it? What did you think? Do you think it will win the 2016 Man Booker?

2016 Man Booker Shortlist: Eileen


Next up on our list of 2016 Man Booker candidates is Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh. Only three of us read this book. Here are our thoughts about whether it will win. Do you think Eileen will take the prize? Read more

2016 Man Booker Shortlist: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeline Thien

do not say we ahve nothing

Our next contender is a book that our panel were really split on in terms of odds for winning the prize. Four of our judges read the book. Here is what we each thought. Read more

2016 Man Booker Shortlist: His Bloody Project

his bloody project

Four of us read this next shortlist book: His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet. Kate was the only one to correctly predict that it would make the shortlist. Check out what we think of the odds that this book will win the whole thing.  Read more

2016 Man Booker Shortlist: Hot Milk by Deborah Levy

hot milk

Next up on our list of Man Booker candidates is Hot Milk by Deborah Levy. Once again, all five of us read this book and most of us loved it. Here are our thoughts on its chances of taking home the big prize. Read more