Booker Season

September 13, 2004 | 8 books mentioned

We are swiftly approaching the announcement of the Booker Prize. Britain’s highest award for fiction, the award is fussed over endlessly by the gossip-hungry British press, and, for the winner, the rewards are plentiful, often turning a book into a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond. Take Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, for example. This year’s Longlist has been out for a while and the Shortlist will be out in a week. The winner will be crowned on October 19th. For the American reader, it is worth mentioning that this is the first year that American authors are eligible for the Booker. Still, as is often the case, the Longlist includes books that are not currently available in the States, though others have been bestsellers and award winners here. Here are the ones that have excerpts available:

The Island Walkers by John Bemroseexcerpt
Havoc, in Its Third Year by Ronan Bennettexcerpt
A Blade of Grass by Lewis Desotoexcerpt
The Honeymoon by Justin Haytheexcerpt
The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzardexcerpt, my review
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchellexcerpt
The Master by Colm Toibinexcerpt

The Brits love to bet, and the bookmakers over there actually come up with odds and take bets on the Booker each year. According to them Cloud Atlas is the big favourite. And if you don’t believe me when I tell you that the Brits (and the whole of the Commonwealth) get really saucy over the Booker, check out The Bluffer’s Guide to the Booker or better yet, Tibor Fischer’s tell-all about being a Booker Judge.

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created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.

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