The Man Booker Shortlist is out!!! (Nobody Panic!)

Guys, the Man Booker shortlist is out!

This is perhaps the most exciting time of the year for book nerds. And looking at the shortlist I am very excited about all of the nominees!!

Here’s the list…

‘Like a Fading Shadow’ by Antonio Muñoz Molina 

Narrates the last ten days of freedom of Martin Luther King Jnr’s assassin, set in Lisbon. It seems to be a mix of fact and fiction but it’s unclear exactly how that will work.

I’m expecting… I genuinely don’t know what to expect from this book. It could be a kind of thriller set up as we wait to find out what happens to the assassin… or it could be a ponderous meditation on whether fiction or fact more accurately represents history. I’m curious.

‘The World Goes On’ – László Krasznahorkai

A former Man Booker winner’s latest collection of short stories. The Independent tells me; ‘fearful God-like narrator tells a series of enigmatic stories marked by a sense of futility and pessimism’. I’m expecting… to probably not fully understand these.

‘Vernon Subutex 1’ by Virginie Despentes

From what I read, this seems to be about a music shop owner who tries to save the store by selling off rare tapes made by his musician benefactor. The tapes spark and interest and soon he becomes entangled with all sorts of wacky characters. I’m expecting… sharp edged comedy. I’ve never read any French satire… so approaching this with a lot of curiosity!

‘The White Book’ by Han Kang 

This is a meditation on the colour white. I have no idea what this could possibly mean, but I’m expecting meaningful, metaphorical short stories, and possibly to cry. Han King also won the Man Booker previously for ‘The Vegetarian’.

‘Frankenstein in Baghdad’ by Ahmed Saadawi 

I am super excited about this extremely weird sounding novel! It’s a new approach to the Mary Shelley classic (so much stuff about Frankenstein this year!) but set in Iraq, after the US invasion. I’m expecting HUGE things from this novel. Not only is it right up my street, but it sounds like it’s going to a dark fable with plenty of political points to make.

‘Flights’ by Olga Tokarczuk 

Olga Tokarczuk is apparently already QUITE the big deal in Poland, and the idea behind this book is pretty original. I say book because, despite plenty of Googling, nobody will tell me whether it’s a novel or a collection of short stories, so I am guessing it’s somewhere in between. Similarly, nobody can tell me definitively what it’s about, but it seems to be a series of anecdotes about lots of different things with the principle themes being travel, itinerancy, death and (surprisingly) embalming. I’m expecting… something fairly mind-bending and very experimental. Possibly a bit of a challenging read.

To conclude, this year they ALL sound awesome.

The prize winner will be announced on 22nd May – I’m hoping I have time to rattle through all of these before then, but without an idea of how long they are I might not manage to get to all of them.

I will 100% be prioritising Frankenstein in Baghdad, whereas The World Goes On might not make the cut if I’m short of time (I’m a bit frightened of it to be honest).

I can’t WAIT to hear what you think of these, which will you be reading first?


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