It’s been just a bit over a month since the Longlist was announced and here we are now, the Shortlist has finally been unveiled! The six authors that have been nominated are Margaret Atwood, Lucy Ellmann, Bernardine Evaristo, Chigozie Obioma, Salman Rushdie, and Elif Shafak. We have the six time nominee and previous winner Margaret Atwood alongside previous winner Salman Rushdie, with stories contemplating our present and foretelling our future. It’s definitely a tough competition this year!
I have to admit, I still haven’t had a chance to read any of the Longlisted books… August has been a busy month job hunting, getting into the groove of writing a blog, and trying to get back into art as well. I have bought “Ducks, Newburyport” and can’t wait to read it, although it is a bit of a daunting behemoth of a book, with over 1000 pages… And I really want to pre-order “The Testaments” (still can’t believe I haven’t!)
Here are the six shortlisted books, their blurbs, and my initial thoughts on them:
“The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood
Genre: Science Fiction / Dystopia
I am eagerly waiting for the 10th September to finally read it! This is a sequel to the acclaimed “The Handmaid’s Tale”, which I absolutely loved and cannot recommend enough! The book picks up the story 15 years after the final scene in the first one. We will have three female characters narrating the story and their experience in Gilead. I cannot wait to see what Margaret Atwood has created and how Gilead evolved/collapsed/whatever else happened to it.
“Ducks, Newburyport” by Lucy Ellmann
A mammoth of a book this one, with over one thousand pages! As soon as I read the blurb and the concept behind it, I decided that I just had to have it. My boyfriend treated me to this one! Basically, a list/stream of thoughts from an Ohio housewife and baker. It tackles the small and the big universal subjects, delving deep into anxieties of the contemporary America. I don’t think I can give this book an accurate description/blurb without reading it first. It sounds incredibly different, grand, and all-encompassing.
“Girl, Woman, Other” by Bernardine Evaristo
The book follows 12 different characters throughout their lives and struggles. They’re mostly women, black, and British. The story spans throughout the country, years, friends, lovers, and families. The books blurb slightly reminds me of “Homegoing” by Yaa Gyasi, as that was a huge family saga spanning through years and continents. I can’t wait to read “Girl, Woman, Other” one day!
“An Orchestra of Minorities” by Chigozie Obioma
A story about destiny and determination, and the collision of both. The story starts in Nigeria, where Chinonso, a young poultry farmer, stops a woman from jumping off a bridge. The woman, Ndali, and Chinonso eventually fall in love but due to wealth and education differences between the two, Ndali’s family objects to their union. A determined Chinonso moves to Cyprus to attend a small college. But the world and the people aren’t what they seem. He is banished to the sidelines, getting further from his dream, Ndali, and his life in Nigeria. A contemporary twist on Homer’s “Odyssey” following the mythic style of the Igbo literary tradition. Once again, going onto my to-read list (which is growing way too fast…)
“Quichotte” by Salman Rushdie
As you can probably tell from the title, the story takes inspiration from Miguel de Cervantes’ well known book “Don Quixote“. It’s a modern day quest for love and family. Sam DuChamp, a mediocre writer of spy thrillers, creates a new character, Quichotte, a salesman obsessed by a TV star who wants to prove his worthiness to her. The books deals with Quichotte’s quest for love and all the issues he encounters on his way, as well as Sam’s midlife crisis. The two stories masterfully intertwine and take the reader on a one hell of a ride.
“10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World” by Elif Shafak
10 minutes and 38 seconds is all that Leila has, after she’s been murdered and thrown into a dumpster. As her brain shuts down, she recollects her life in its entirety. Another book that is going straight into my to-read list! I really enjoy books that cover entire life stories or family sagas and span through years, decades, centuries.
And there we have it, the Shortlist of this year’s Man Booker Prize! The winner will be announced on the 14th October, so I better get reading some of these.
Have you read any of the Longlisted/Shortlisted books yet? Let me know what you thought in the comments below!