Child 44

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A Booker’s Dozen: The 2008 Booker Longlist

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So long as the Booker Prize keeps longlisting 13 titles, I’m going to keep making that joke. The Booker season is underway with the unveiling of 2008’s longlist. As is often the case, it is a mix of exciting new names, relative unknowns and old standbys. In the later category is Salman Rushdie who, as the recent winner of the Best of the Booker, was essentially named the quintessential Booker author and would have thus seemed an odd omission, despite the tepid notices The Enchantress of Florence has received.Perhaps worthy of more excitement is Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland, which was the subject of dueling reviews from Garth and Kevin here at The Millions. The active commenting on Kevin’s review in particular underlines the enthusiasm that this novel has generated. Tom Rob Smith’s Child 44 has also generated quite a bit of enthusiasm this year. In December, Dan Kois of the New York magazine blog Vulture featured it in a contribution to our Year in Reading series. As always, the bookmakers have their own favorites: “Bookmakers William Hill have put Mr O’Neill as favourite to win the prestigious prize at 3/1, while Sir Salman has odds of 4/1.”All the Booker Prize longlisters are below (with excerpts where available):The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (excerpt)Girl in a Blue Dress by Gaynor ArnoldThe Secret Scripture by Sebastian Barry (excerpt)From A to X by John BergerThe Lost Dog by Michelle de Kretser (excerpt)Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh (excerpt)The Clothes on Their Backs by Linda Grant (excerpt pdf)A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (excerpt)The Northern Clemency by Philip HensherNetherland by Joseph O’Neill (excerpt)The Enchantress of Florence by Salman Rushdie (excerpt)Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith (excerpt)A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (excerpt)

A Year in Reading: Dan Kois


Dan Kois edits Vulture, New York magazine’s arts and culture blog.Like many people who work in publishing, feed off of publishing, or report on publishing, I’m constantly reading months or even years ahead. So my 2007 reading experience was unlike that of many of your correspondents; rarely could I find time to dip into the past. When I did, it was to re-read works that had given me great pleasure: the funny and sad novels of Tom Drury, for a profile I still swear to God I will eventually write; Harry Potter and His Dark Materials, in preparation for the final volume of the former and the film of the latter. I read comics systematically and comprehensively this year for the first time, and loved dozens and dozens of them, sometimes feeling like a reading cheater in my ability to rip through an entire satisfying story in an hour or less. But the best book I read all this year is a book that isn’t even coming out until next year: Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith, a thriller set in the darkest days of Stalinist Russia, one of the finest intersections of historical setting and propulsive plot I’ve read in a long time. It’s a book that transcends the serial killer genre and becomes a difficult, complicated work of art in its own right.More from A Year in Reading 2007

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