Two Debut Novelists on the 2011 Booker Shortlist

September 6, 2011 | 5 books mentioned 4

Well-known, established writer (and now four-time shortlister) Julian Barnes is likely the early favorite on the 2011 Booker shortlist, while Stephen Kelman and A.D. Miller make the list with their first novels. Alan Hollinghurst is probably the biggest surprise not to make it through to the next round. The longlist was offered here with some excerpts a month ago, but since you might not have gotten around to them then, we’ll offer the same with the shortlist below.


Let us know if you’ve read any of these – and if you think any deserve to win.

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


  1. I read Sisters Brothers and was badly disappointed. I found it pointless. Thin characters, the story did not resolve itself, the characters were neither likable nor detestable and therefore boring. A long while since I’ve been so let down by a book.

  2. I’ve read three of the 6 – The Sense of an Ending Jamrach’s Menagerie ,
    and The Sisters Brothers. I enjoyed all three but thought Carol Birch’s book was head and shoulders above the others in ambition and achievement.

  3. I’ve read them all, except Half Blood Blues, which I’m currently reading. I’m finding it hard to pick a winner; I was so sure Hollinghurst had it in the bag that it’s hard to pick an alternative winner. Julian Barnes is the likely winner, but I think the book I enjoyed the most was The Sisters Brothers.

  4. I read Pigeon English and found it weak and inauthentic. I also read The Sisters Brothers which was a riot – a Coen brothers movie in book form, if that makes sense. Highly recommended.

    Jamrach’s Menagerie is up next.

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