Booker Prize Other

Who will win the 2012 Booker Prize?

Who will win the 2012 Booker Prize? I don’t know! For the first time in several years there isn’t a clear front runner and I wouldn’t be surprised to see any of the books win. That isn’t a bad thing – I think it is wonderful that all the books on the shortlist have their own merits. Trying to decide which of the books, each with their own different style and function, should take the top spot is a tricky decision, but that doesn’t stop me trying!

Here’s how I’d order the shortlist:

6. The Lighthouse by Alison Moore

The Lighthouse (Salt Modern Fiction)

This book was actually my second favourite from the shortlist, but I found the symbolism a bit heavy-handed. It is a fantastic book club choice, but I don’t think it has the originality or power to win the Booker.

My rating:

5. Bring up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel

Bring up the Bodies

I admit that I didn’t even try this one. Having abandoned Wolf Hall I know that Mantel’s style isn’t for me, but I think the judges would have to be very brave to give an author a second Booker Prize. The book would have to be outstanding and there would have to be unanimous agreement that it was head and shoulders above the other contenders. I don’t think that is the case. This book may be more focused and enjoyable to read, but with a shortlist this strong I can’t see justification for it winning.

My rating: Did not start

4. Umbrella by Will Self


I abandoned this one. I struggle with stream-of-consciousness at the best of times, but found this impenetrable. The majority of people seem to agree so I can’t see it receiving enough love for an entire panel of people to vote it into the top position.

My rating: Did not finish

3. Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil


This book was wonderfully atmospheric, but the dream-like, hallucinogenic nature of the writing didn’t appeal to me. I abandoned it, but can see that the star quality of the writing could easily justify a Booker win. This could be a surprise winner.

My rating: Did not finish

 2. Swimming Home by Deboragh Levy

Swimming Home

I found this book too skeletal, but as a reflection on the last century of literature it is genius. There are so many little references for fiction lovers to spot and I know this appeals to more scholarly people (Booker judges?). I wouldn’t be surprised to see this win.

 My rating:

1. The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

The Garden of Evening Mists

This book has everything I like to see in a Booker winner. It has an outstanding quality of writing, the depth and complexity to sustain multiple re-readings, and is clever without being pretentious. The fact it sheds light on a different culture is an added bonus. I can’t think of any reason why it shouldn’t be awarded the prize. I’m keeping all my fingers and toes crossed for it.

My rating:


Who do you think will win the Booker Prize?

What do you think of the order I have the books in?





20 replies on “Who will win the 2012 Booker Prize?”

I’m working my way through Wolf Hall at the moment and absolutely love it. However, agree with your view that it’s unlikely Mantel will be given the award again (making her the first Brit to win twice).

My favourite was Ned Beauman’s “The Teleportation Accident” which fell at the first hurdle…so in it’s absence I’m plumping for The Lighthouse!

The Willoughby Book Club, The Lighthouse is one of the most memorable books I’ve read this year, but it did irritate me at times. I guess any book that provokes an emotion is doing well though! I’d be surprised to see The Lighthouse win, but Booker judges can be unpredictable sometimes 🙂

it’s a bit of a conundrum this year. I suspect that Will Self will win because dense stream of consciousness reveals more with each read and the judges will have read this at least 3 times. Not that I’m likely to read it even once. So that puts Umbrella at joint 6th with Narcopolis, the other I won’t be reading.

Swimming Home is 4th in my list. A great read but slightly too lean for me.

The Lighthouse is 3rd. A brilliant book, which circles itself around its motifs and symbols just as the protagonist circles his way round Germany. I do wonder though whether that those repetitions will begin to grate after multiple readings.

Which brings me to The Gift of Rain and Bring Up the Bodies. There is no doubt that Mantel is – if not head and shoulders – then definitely a head above the competition. Thing is BUTB is not as good as Wolf Hall. But I shouldn’t really mark the greatest living novelist in English against herself and I was really annoyed when the Orange Judges didn’t award her the Orange Prize for Wolf Hall because they wanted someone else to have a shot.

These are all reasons for awarding Mantel the prize but the downfall of Anne Boleyn is so familiar and such a depressing episode. Eng’s novel, however, is not only written beautifully but each page is a constant surprise. Plus, and I don’t think I nailed the reasons why in my review yesterday, the novel left me feeling strangely uplifted despite the cruelties of the second world war and it’s for that affirmation of the human spirit that I’m placing my vote in the same box as yours.

Lizzy, Thank you for the lovely long comment! It is good to read your thoughts and to see that we are broadly in agreement. It is also good to see that you end up picking the same winner as me. I’m getting more and more tempted to put a bet on at 6/1!

Agree with you on the number one choice jackie for me it’s between that and the self novel .There is just something about the eng that reminds me of old writers his style is quite old fashioned but wonderfully done and reason this years list is better than last couple books like garden of evening mist is what I initially loved about the booker all the best stu

Stu, I hope you’re wrong about Self, but agree with all your comments on Evening Mists. It is quite an old fashioned story, but I think it has many original aspects and surprises. I can’t find any fault with it – something unusual to experience with an entire book!

Arti, I can’t wait to find out! I wish I was a fly on the wall in the judging chamber as I bet they have the most interesting literary debate there’s been in recent years.

I’m just writing up my thoughts and I agree it’s a strangely balanced list this year with no real breakaway winner as they’re good but very different in style and scope. Personally I’d love to see Self’s novel win but I suspect the judges are tired of hearing it’s a foregone conclusion and will be contrary…

Alex, I see that you agree with Tony and think The Lighthouse may win. I have to say that would be a big surprise for me, but I’ve been surprised before!

I’ve only read the Mantel and I loved it 🙂 I’m waiting for the Tan Twan Eng to come from my library and I’m hoping to enjoy it. I definitely want to read all the books on the shortlist!

Narcopolis is the only one I’ve read, and while I liked it, I can’t see it as a Booker winner either. But then, having not read the other books, I don’t have a basis for comparison. I do want to read Garden of Evening Mists and Swimming Home, and I’ve been hearing a lot about the latter. I’m curious to see who will win.

Athira, Swimming Home does seem to be getting a lot of attention. I think that is because it divides opinion and people always like discussing those types of books. Evening Mists seems to be ignored a bit, but that is because everyone loves it and so there is no arguement to be had!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *