The Man Booker Prize promotes the finest in fiction by rewarding the very best book of the year. It’s the world’s most important literary award and has the power to transform the fortunes of authors and even publishers. The judges are selected from the finest critics, writers and academics to maintain the consistent excellence of the prize. The winner receives a large sum of money, and both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership. This year’s Booker Longlist was announced July 27. The Shortlist will be revealed in September. Stay tuned. Here are the 2010 nominees for the Longlist:
Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey (Faber and Faber)
Parrot and Olivier are a mid-nineteenth-century Oscar and Felix who represent the highest and lowest social registers of the Old World, yet find themselves unexpectedly pushed together in the New World.
Room by Emma Donoghue (Pan MacMillan – Picador)
Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him.
The Betrayal by Helen Dunmore (Penguin – Fig Tree)
Leningrad in 1952: a city recovering from war, where Andrei, a young hospital doctor and Anna, a nursery school teacher, are forging a life together. Summers at the dacha, preparations for the hospital ball, work and the care of sixteen year old Kolya fill their minds.
In a Strange Room by Damon Galgut (Grove Atlantic – Atlantic Books)
A young man takes three journeys, through Greece, India and Africa. He travels lightly, simply. To those who travel with him and those whom he meets on the way, including a handsome, enigmatic stranger, a group of careless backpackers and a woman on the edge, he is the Follower, the Lover and the Guardian.
The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson (Bloomsbury)
Julian Treslove, a melancholy former BBC arts producer, veteran of operatically truncated relationships and a man whose chameleon-like qualities have brought him employment at a celebrity lookalike agency. Treslove, a Gentile, wishes to be a Jew.
The Long Song by Andrea Levy
(Headline Publishing Group – Headline Review)
Tells the story of a woman named July, who was taken in as a house slave when she was eight years old and later seduced by the pretentiously moralistic English overseer after he marries the plantation’s mistress.
C by Tom McCarthy (Random House – Jonathan Cape)
Opening in England at the turn of the twentieth century, C is the story of a boy named Serge Carrefax, whose father spends his time experimenting with wireless communication while running a school for deaf children.
The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell (Hodder & Stoughton – Sceptre)
Majestic historical romance set in turn-of-the-19th-century Japan, where young, naïve Jacob de Zoet arrives on the small manmade island of Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor as part of a contingent of Dutch East Indies officials charged with cleaning up the trading station’s entrenched culture of corruption.
February by Lisa Moore (Random House – Chatto & Windus)
In February 1982, the Ocean Ranger, the world’s largest submersible oil drilling rig, capsized in a fierce storm off the coast of Newfoundland. Eighty-four men perished leaving Helen O’Mara behind with three small children and another on the way.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (Penguin – Hamish Hamilton)
A heartfelt, hilarious portrait of the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, and a tragic depiction of a world always happy to sacrifice its weakest members.
Trespass by Rose Tremain (Random House – Chatto & Windus)
In a silent valley in southern France stands an isolated stone farmhouse, the Mas Lunel. Aramon, the owner, is so haunted by his violent past that he’s become incapable of all meaningful action, letting his hunting dogs starve and his land go to ruin.
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas (Grove Atlantic – Tuskar Rock)
At a barbecue in a Melbourne suburb, a man loses his temper and slaps the child of the host’s friends. This incident unleashes a slew of divisive opinions, pitting friends and families against each other as the child’s parents take the man to court.
The Stars in the Bright Sky by Alan Warner
(Random House – Jonathan Cape)
Set almost entirely in and around the Heathrow interzone, a sprawl of service roads and interchangeable hotel lobbies, this book is, like its predecessor, The Sopranos, a novel about booze, growing up and female friendship.