The Man Booker Prize is awarded each year for the best original novel written in English and is open to British and Commonwealth authors, and natives from Ireland and Zimbabwe.
It is a prestigious award. Authors are successful even to be nominated and making the short list is a great achievement.
The 2012 winner was announced on 16th October and the prize went to Hilary Mantel for her historical novel Bring up The Bodies, a sequel to former Booker winner Wolf Hall (2009)
This is the first time that a sequel to another Booker Prize winner has won. Hilary Mantel is working on a final part of the trilogy so it will be interesting to see if the final chapter wins as well.
All the short listed Booker nominations are definitely worth reading because they are the cream of the years literary output and most are currently available on Kindle.
Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel is an historical novel and a sequel to previous booker prizewinner Wolf Hall.
Set in the turbulent times of the life of Thomas Cromwell in the Court of Henry V111th it takes up where Wolf Hall left off and according to James Naughtie – celebrated Radio 4 presenter,
“It’s a great novel of dark and dirty passions, public and private. It is also an exploration of what still shocks us.”
If you fancy finding out what the fuss is all about and beginning the trilogy. Wolf Hall is available on kindle and sets the scene. See this on Amazon
The Booker prize Short list
The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng is set in Malaya in 1949. Yun Ling Teoh, a lawyer has survived the Japanese War camps and has helped prosecute Japanese War criminals.
Now living in the North Malayan jungle she approaches the former gardener to the emperor of Japan to help her build a garden and gets embroiled in mystery and questions about the past and the future.
See on Amazon
Swimming home by Deborah Levy is set in Nice in 1994. A family holiday is disrupted by the arrival of a young woman at their holiday villa who is then invited to stay.
She provokes a range of reactions including lust, fear, hated and affection as she becomes part of the holiday.
The most devastating secrets are the ones we keep from ourselves and the book is both profound and thrilling. See this on Amazon
The Lighthouse by Alison Moore begins on a North Sea ferry as an ordinary man Futh starts a week long walking holiday in Germany where he examines his childhood, friendships and marriages.
Meeting people along the way and drawn inexorably to replaying the abandonment of his mother, the book is melancholy and haunting with an unsettling atmosphere and beautiful prose. See this on Amazon
Umbrella by Will Self spans a century with three interwoven strands that takes the reader on a lyrical stream of consciousness journey. See this on Amazon
Maverick psychiatrist Zack Busner arrives at Friern Hospital – a Victorian mental institution and meets Audrey Dearth, incarcerated at the asylum for years after suffering from a sleeping sickness post WW1.
Bringing her back to life has unexpected repercussions. A brother can be forgotten as easily as an umbrella and which of Audrey’s brothers is still alive?
Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil is set in a Bombay Opium den and spans three decades. It is bookended by American dope head Dom Ullis who arrives in the 70s and returns some 30 years later.
The characters their stories and their lives all told through the haze of narcotics and the author’s own experiences.
We meet Dimple, the eunuch, Rashid, the opium house's owner, and Mr Lee, a former Chinese officer.
All have their own stories to tell.
The scene changes as we move towards the present day, and heroin is introduced to the environment.
Narcopolis has been described as an Indian version of Trainspotting and is a heady and powerful read. See this on Amazon