Opinions on the Man Booker Prize

While the bookies reckon the prize will go to Tom McCarthy’s novel C, there’s still plenty of conversation around the world’s most influential prize.

Australian critic and blogger, James Bradley called McCarthy’s novel a “dark horse candidate” but was “pleased” to see Carey on the list. Bradley laments the absence of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap and David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet, but has another punt on a winner: “Emma Donoghue’s fictional reworking of the Natasha Kampusch story, Room, has been attracting a lot of attention.”

Some have panned Carey. Book blogger John Shelf called condemned it as “a fully achieved imagining of something that’s hardly worth doing; full of plot and character, signifying nothing.” McCarthy’s book was pilloried in a New York Times review, which called it “disappointing and highly self-conscious”.

And spare a thought for judge Rosie Blau. She wrote in the Financial Times that reading the shortlist was particularly moving as she gave birth to her first child while “romping through [Roddy Doyle’s] The Dead Republic”. She spent the remainder of the judging “reading 138 books over the head of a suckling child [which] felt, at times, like the worst possible way to enjoy or judge literature.”

The full shortlist is:

  • Peter Carey Parrot and Olivier in America

  • Emma Donoghue Room

  • Damon Galgut In a Strange Room

  • Howard Jacobson The Finkler Question

  • Andrea Levy The Long Song

  • Tom McCarthy C

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