The 2010 Man Booker Prize Short List

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The 2010 Booker Prize short list has been announced.

The six books are:

Room – Emma Donoghue

The Long Song – Andrea Levy stars41

C – Tom McCarthy

In a Strange Room – Damon Galgut

Parrot and Olivier in America – Peter Carey (DNF)

The Finkler Question – Howard Jacobson (DNF)

I successfully predicted four out of six books , but am kicking myself for not predicting that the two books I didn’t manage to finish would both be short listed – that is a trend I should have spotted years ago!

My first thought when looking at the short list was: NO MITCHELL!?!

There was a lot of confusion on Twitter in the first few minutes as Amazon revealed the short list before the official Man Booker website and no one was entirely sure whether or not the list was accurate. After they eventually confirmed it was true my second thought was: NO MITCHELL!?! It seems unbelievable that he didn’t make it, but I guess it just didn’t stand up to multiple re-readings.

I am really pleased that Room made the short list as it was my favourite book on the long list. I honestly believe that it is a classic which will be enjoyed for generations to come. I really hope that it will win, but I suspect it will be beaten by a more literary book.

I think it is impossible to predict a winner from this short list and suspect the judges will have a lot of arguing/discussion before they can agree on a single book. None of the others stand out for me – I’d say anyone has a chance this year.

What do you think of the short list?

Who do you think will win?


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41 Comments

  1. Stephanie says:

    I am so happy to see the shortlist has been posted. I am still dying to read Room (and still waiting for the copies on order at my library to come in!).

    I will NOT be reading the Peter Carey book. I haven’t had any luck with him so far, not to mention your review, as well as others, turned me off of this new book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Stephanie, I think Peter Carey writes very different books. I enjoyed Oscar and Lucinda despite not being aboe to complete P&O so don’t write him off altogether.

      I hope that you get your copy of Room soon :-)

  2. Amy says:

    Congratulations on picking so many correctly! Crazy though that the last two are the two that you didn’t even finish. At least you loved 4 of them! I CANNOT wait to read ROOM. :)

    1. Jackie says:

      Amy, I wouldn’t say I loved four of them – only really loved Room. I wasn’t a big fan of In a Strange Room and while I enjoyed C and The Long Song they both had their faults. I hope you enjoy Room as much as I did.

  3. Meghan says:

    The Booker shortlist doesn’t look that exciting this year! I’m really only interested in The Long Song (which I’ve requested from the library) and Room (which I own). I might just skip the rest.

    1. Jackie says:

      Meghan, I have to agree with you – most of the best books were left on the long list. I think you’ve picked the right two to read :-)

  4. Laura says:

    I’m very disappointed that Mitchell didn’t make the cut and even though yesterday I was whingeing about wanting more women on the short list, my impression of Levy’s book (based largely on blogger reviews), is that it’s a weak entry. Sigh.

    I have a personal commitment to read the winner (and I usually read some of the short list as well), but this list makes me a bit apprehensive about that commitment!

    1. Jackie says:

      Laura, I’m really hoping that those Booker judges had a better reason than gender balance for including the Levy. I think it is the weakest on the list by a long way and am sad that Mitchell and Murray might have been excluded just so an extra woman could be added to the list. Fingers crossed that an enjoyable book wins :-)

  5. Shannon says:

    I’ve read two of the list so far – Carey and Levy. I’m not sure either of them were strong enough to be winners, but I hope I can read the others before the winner is announced.
    From what I’m reading, Room seems to be the favourite among most readers, but I don’t think I’ll ever understand how the winner gets picked!

    1. Jackie says:

      Shannon, On past experience Carey could well win – it always seems to be the ones I can’t complete that do :-)

  6. Of course, I’m thrilled Room made the shortlist. I’m a little surprised to see The Long Song there, although I quite enjoyed it. I’m pleased to see the Galgut as well. Although it wasn’t my favorite novel and isn’t terribly accessible, I do think it’s unique and intelligent. Mostly, I’m glad I managed to read three of the shortlisted novels already (I had visions of them picking six of the seven I haven’t read yet.) I’m surprised to not see Mitchell, but I think historical fiction was so well represented this year tough choices had to be made. I’m starting C later today and really looking forward to it. From a U.S. perspective, five of the six are out (well, Room comes out next Tuesday, but close enough), so it’s a very friendly list for American readers too.

    1. Jackie says:

      Carrie, It is good to know it is a US friendly list :-) I think a lot of people (me included) are surprised to see The Long Song there – I wish she’s been short listed for Small Island instead.

      I’m sure you’ll enjoy C and look forward to reading your thoughts on the rest of the list.

  7. Time for me to finally read ‘Room’ and ‘Parrot and Olivier in America’, which are sitting on my shelves. Great job at predicting and I’m sorry that your favourite, Mitchell, didn’t make the list. Guess there’s your surprise this year. ;)

    1. Jackie says:

      Susi, I said it would be hard to surprise me, but they managed it :-) Mitchell wasn’t my favourite (Room was) but I thought he was sure to make the short list. I hope you enjoy your Booker reads.

  8. LizF says:

    I must admit that some of the entries have surprised me but since I had only read three books in total and a couple of chapters of two others from the long list, I only have bloggers reviews to go on for the rest.

    I have only read The Long Song from the short list and while I enjoyed it, I’m not really sure it is strong enough to be the ultimate winner,
    After a strong year last year with a lot of readable and accessible books, it looks as though the judges are going back to old form and deliberately excluding books which might appeal to ordinary readers.

    I will read ‘Room’ (as soon as our library re-opens and I can pick up my requested copy that is) but probably not any of the others.

    1. Jackie says:

      Liz, I think the judges must be fans of the more literary books this year. As a fan of the more readable books this leaves me unable to really predict what will happen.

      I hope that you enjoy the only really accessible book on the list :-)

  9. Heheh, if you’d counted those two DNFs based on the patterning, you would have gotten all six! I’ve only read the Andrew Levy novel, which I wholly enjoyed, and some other of Emma Donoghue’s and Peter Carey’s works: not enough to make a good guess. Still, I’m enjoying the view from the sidelines.

    1. Jackie says:

      BuriedinPrint, LOL! Next year I’ll remember to do that!

      I need to read some of Emma Donoghue’s older books now – I’m a big fan :-)

  10. Steph says:

    Seems like the short-list is an interesting mix of titles, so it will be interesting to see which title snags the crown! Of all the ones listed I’m most interested in reading Room, and then probably C. Nothing else on the short-list really is calling to me, so after that I’ll probably look into some of the great long-list titles that didn’t make the cut.

    1. Jackie says:

      Steph, Sounds like a good plan. I think you’ll enjoy C (or at least find it interesting ;-) ) I really hope that you decide to pick up Skippy Dies at some point too.

  11. Sandy says:

    And what happened to The Slap? I am glad to see Room in there, but had to chuckly that those books that sounded awful (the ones you didn’t like) made it on the list. Figures.

    1. Jackie says:

      Sandy, The Slap was just too vulgar – I enjoyed it, but I imagine there was too much masturbation for some ;-)

      Perhaps next year I should wait for the short list announcement and then read all the books from the long list that failed to make it through – it seems like a good way for me to filter out enjoyable books :-)

  12. vivienne says:

    Ooh I am so pleased Room is in there. I only just purchased it, but loved the sound of it.

    1. Jackie says:

      vivienne, I’m sure you’ll love it :-)

  13. I’m looking forward to reading Room sometime, but the list doesn’t mean much to me. I mean, where’s Mitchell? Enough said.

  14. Kathleen says:

    I’m so glad that Room made the short list and can’t wait to read it!

    1. Jackie says:

      Kathleen, Me to :-) I hope it brings it to a much wider audience.

  15. Karen says:

    I have only read one book from the short list so far (the Peter Carey – which I really enjoyed!) but I am going to try and read them all before the prize is announced – if only so I can try and work out what goes into making a Booker winner in the eyes of the judges!!

    1. Jackie says:

      Karen, I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to work out what makes a Booker winner, but I wish you luck with your challenge :-)

  16. Stujallen says:

    well I was stunned by mitchell missing ,gone try and read as many as I can before actual day ,before reading I fancy C to win but is favourite ,as dark horse Jacobson ,but on reading them that may change ,all the best stu

    1. Jackie says:

      Stu, I think you might be right about C. If Room doesn’t win then i really hope C does. Good luck with the short list :-)

  17. I am just getting reading to read ROOM so this is so cool that it made the list. I have not read any of the others here.

    1. Jackie says:

      Shelia, I’ve very happy that Room made it :-)

  18. NancyO says:

    Thanks for your post.

    Actually, I was very disappointed that Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies wasn’t on the shortlist. I loved that book. And I know I’m in the minority, but I didn’t embrace Room as one of my favorites or a choice for the shortlist!

    1. Jackie says:

      Nancy, I agree with you – I thought Skippy Dies deserved to make the short list and am surprised it didn’t given its universal appeal.

      I don’t think you’re in the minority in not loving Room – there seems to be a very even split between those that love it and those that don’t. I don’t think you need to worry about it winning though ;-)

      1. Tomcat says:

        Yeah, ‘Room’ def. seems to be the most divisive of the books on the shortlist. I enjoyed it, but I can understand how its overt sentimentality could put-off a lot of readers. I just liked its self-aware compairson to plato’s ‘allegory of the cave’ as well as the fact that Jack spends the book carrying out a highly unusual literary criticism of Alice in Wonderland.

  19. Tomcat says:

    I’ve been reading the entire longlist (in no particular order) and by an incredible freak of fate, the first 6 books I’ve read have been nominated to the shortlist. Which is frustrating, as now I have no motivation to read the other 7. I’m still going to try though.

    I’d like to see either C or The Finkler Question win.

    http://tomcatintheredroom.wordpress.com/

    1. Jackie says:

      TomCat, Congratulations on reading the shortlist :-) I recommend reading some of the long list (especially Skippy Dies) as many of the best books failed to make the cut.

  20. Hmm, I’m ambivalent about the shortlist. Only read two of the books on it, albeit one was left unfinished (The Long Song). I’ve read that the Peter Carey isn’t great as well, and much as I loved Room, did it really deserve a place on the shortlist ahead of Skippy Dies and the David Mitchell?

    With my luck, the winner’s going to be The Long Song!

    1. Jackie says:

      anothercookiecrumbles, I’m almost agreeing with you, but I’d really rather not discuss removing Room from the short list to allow Mitchell or Murray on. Can we not agree to remove the Carey and the Levy instead?!!

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