Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Hail, Hail, the Shortlist's Here

After weeks of back-stabbing, moaning, grumbling, and controversy (if authors knowing one another can be called that), the Booker shortlist was announced today.

The lucky devils are:

Achmat Dangor - Bitter Fruit
Sarah Hall - The Electric Michaelangelo
Allan Hollinghurst - The Line of Beauty
David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas
Colm Toibin - The Master
Gerard Woodward - I'll Go to Bed At Noon

Susanna Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell (my [massive] copy of which I picked up today, incidentally) doesn't make it, but after the revelation that not all of the judges were very happy with it being "called in", that's no surprise. It's probably a shame. Though I must say that Strange and Norrell does sound more like a Whitbread kind of novel than a Booker one...

The three favourites make it through unscathed, and the other three, well, I wasn't expecting them at all. Largely because no one's been saying anything much about them. I have to say, I don't think they pose much of a serious risk to the three favourites, but we shall have to wait and see. I don't think it's as strong or interesting as it could have been, but they've done pretty well to whittle their very conservative longlist down to a relatively promising six. I can't say I'm champing at the bit to read any of them (I'm discounting Mitchell's book, having alredy read it after succumbing to the hype it got when it was published), though The Master looks relatively interesting and I might make time for the Woodward book at some stage.

Who do I think will win? Haven't a clue. It's a bit of a three-horse race, but of those front-runners I couldn't, with much validity pick one over any other. With a gun to my head, I would now say Mitchell, rather than Hollinghurst, but I wouldn't put any money on it.

As I say, we'll have to wait and see. And by the time we've waited long enough, I shall be at University.