The Man Booker Prize 2005: Longlist

August 15, 2005 at 1:52 am Leave a comment

The shortest ever longlist for the 2005 Booker Prize was revealed on Wednesday – just seventeen books – from which the shortlist of six will be announced on September 8th, and the winner on October 10th.

The Longlist

Tash Aw – The Harmony Silk Factory
John Banville – The Sea
Julian Barnes – Arthur and George
Sebastian Barry – A Long Long Way
JM Coetzee – Slow Man
Rachel Cusk – In The Fold
Kazuo Ishiguro – Never Let Me Go
Dan Jacobson – All For Love
Marina Lewycka – A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian
Hilary Mantel – Beyond Black
Ian McEwan – Saturday
James Meek – The People’s Act Of Love
Salman Rushdie – Shalimar The Clown
Ali Smith – The Accidental
Zadie Smith – On Beauty
Harry Thompson – This Thing Of Darkness
William Wall – This Is The Country

The BBC have provided a helpful little synopsis of all the listed titles here.

Marina Lewycka makes the cut with A Short History Of Tractors In Ukrainian, but the chances of an Orange Prize runner-up ever winning the Booker are almost certainly zero; and, of the two I’ve read thus far, I don’t feel I’m sticking my neck out when I say that I can’t see Ishiguro’s book being in the running. So I won’t be taking my cue from Stephanie Merritt and rushing over to Ladbrokes to back him at 20-1. On the other hand, the odds of 7-1 against Julian Barnes, currently being offered by William Hill, are quite tempting.

Predictably, the bookies (who, it has to be said, are usually wrong about the Booker Prize) make McEwan the favourite, despite Saturday being described as ‘dismayingly bad’ by fellow longlisted author John Banville in a review for The New York Review Of Books.

With JM Coetzee (the only person to win the prize twice) and Salman Rushdie (winner of the Booker of Bookers for Midnight’s Children) also being in the field, it’s not surprising that even the judges themselves were debating whether this is the strongest year in the prize’s history – comparing it with the titanic battle between Anthony Burgess (Earthly Powers) and William Golding (Rites of Passage) in 1980. Personally I rate the 1984 shortlist as the strongest: that year Anita Brookner’s Hotel du Lac beat JG Ballard (Empire of the Sun), Julian Barnes (Flaubert’s Parrot), Anita Desai (In Custody), Penelope Lively (According To Mark) and David Lodge (Small World).

Shortlist Prediction:
At this stage (having only read two of them) trying to predict the shortlist is whistling in the dark, but what the heck, I’ll go for these:

Julian Barnes – Arthur and George
Sebastian Barry – A Long Long Way
Hilary Mantel – Beyond Black
Ian McEwan – Saturday
Salman Rushdie – Shalimar The Clown
Harry Thompson – This Thing Of Darkness

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The Man Booker Prize 2005: Contenders Accio Coetzee

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