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The 2013 Man Booker Prize Longlist

The longlist for the 2013 Booker Prize was announced earlier today. I wasn’t surprised that I managed to predict so few of the contenders – it is such a strange year for fiction! Nothing seems to be outstanding so far, but as many of the longlist haven’t been publihsed yet I’m hopeful that there are a few gems to be discoverd.

The 2013 Man Booker Prize Longlist:

Five Star Billionaire

Five Star Billionaire by Tash Aw

Five words from the blurb: migrant, workers, Shanghai, Malaysia, adventure

Perfect for fans of Maps for Lost Lovers by Nadeem Aslam

We Need New Names

We Need New Names by NoViolet Bulawayo

Five words from the blurb: shanty, Zimbabwe, mischeif, dreams, challenges

Perfect for fans of The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin

The Luminaries

The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton

Five words from the blurb: New Zealand, crimes, vanished, historical, mystery

Perfect for fans of C by Tom McCarthy


Harvest by Jim Crace

Five words from the blurb: village, outsiders, fire, witchcraft, scattered

Perfect for fans of The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman

The Marrying of Chani Kaufman by Eve Harris

Five words from the blurb: Jewish, community, London, stranger, secrets

Perfect for fans of The Finkler Question by Howard Jacobson

The Kills

The Kills by Richard House

Five words from the blurb: crime, conspiracy, continents, multimedia, body

Perfect for fans of The Ipcress File by Len Deighton

The Lowland

The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri

Five words from the blurb: Calcutta, childhood, tragedy, rebellion, transformed

Perfect for fans of Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph


Unexploded by Alison MacLeod

Five words from the blurb: Brighton, war, boys, Jewish, news

Perfect for fans of Ignorance by Michèle Roberts


TransAtlantic by Colum McCann

Five words from the blurb: airmen, flight, Ireland, agreement, free

Perfect for fans of The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver

Almost English

Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson

Five words from the blurb:: London, mother, Hungarian, secrets, traditions

Perfect for fans of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian by Marina Lewycka

A Tale for the Time Being

A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki

Five words from the blurb: diary, girl, tsunami, change, life

Perfect for fans of Hard-Boiled Wonderland And The End Of The World by Haruki Murakami

The Spinning Heart

The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan

Five words from the blurb: Ireland, crash, tensions, violence, generations

Perfect for fans of The Aftermath by Rhidian Brook

The Testament of Mary

The Testament of Mary by Colm Tóibín

Five words from the blurb: grief, lost, myth, religion, lifetime

Perfect for fans of The Infinities by John Banville

My thoughts on the longlist

I’ve only read one book from this list: A Tale for the Time Being by Ruth Ozeki. I thought it was excellent and I can see it appealing to a wide cross section of people. I also abandoned The Kills (a spy story that failed to hold my attention) and TransAtlantic (you can read my thoughts on McCann’s novel in this post).

It is hard to comment on the rest of the choices as I haven’t read them, but I love the fact that so many are new to me. I hope to try them all over the next month or two and will let you know my thoughts.

What do you think of the longlist?

If you’ve read any of the books do you agree with my “perfect for fans of” selections? 

14 replies on “The 2013 Man Booker Prize Longlist”

I’ve read Ozeki’s (loved it) and Crace’s (didn’t care much for it) and that’s it. I’m surprised at how many of them aren’t in my library database yet, not even on order. More than the past few years, it will be interesting to see how many I get to read before the prize is awarded.

Shan, Yes, very few are in my library system either. I think this must be a record year for number of books that haven’t even been published yet. It does make it hard to form an opinion before the shortlist is announced 🙁

The Luminaries was one of my recent Waiting on Wednesday picks, it just sounds so fantastic. I love a good, huge book and that totally fits the bill. I’ve heard so many great things about Ruth Ozeki’s book, it looks like I definitely have to squeeze it in now.

I happy with the long list because it’s so diverse! I’ve only read two of them. I really enjoyed A Tale for the Time Being. We Need New Names was SO good. Incredibly powerful.

Jennifer, Yes, it is lovely to see so much diversity! It is great to have another endorsement for ‘We Need New Names’ – I look forward to trying it soon.

For the first time in a few years I find this an attractive longlist, and one that doesn’t seem (on first glance) to have an agenda. No shocking omissions either, since this year hasn’t for me produced any stand-outs as yet. I still don’t plan on reading them all but I’m certainly looking forward to a few of the forthcoming ones (Catton, Lahiri, MacLeod).
So far I’ve read only two: ‘Harvest’ I liked a lot and it reminded me a bit of Barry Unsworth’s wonderful ‘Morality Play’. It isn’t, however, even remotely like Elizabeth Strout’s ‘The Burgess Boys’! I also read ‘The Testament of Mary’ when it came out last year and of the 160 books I read in 2012 I’d have ranked it 160th – I just didn’t like his approach at all.

David, This is the best longlist I’ve seen in a while too, although I worry that might be due to the fact I haven’t read many (and neither has anyone else!) so it is harder to know if there are any duds.

Thanks for letting me know about ‘The Burgess Boys’ I haven’t read it, but thought Crace’s writing was similar to ‘Olive Kitteridge’ and ‘The Burgess Boys’ sounded like a more similar premise. I’ll change it to your suggestion.

I’m currently struggling with “Transatlantic” which surprises me since I loved “Let the Great World Spin.”

I was a bit surprised to see that “Americanah” was not on the list, but was delighted to see “We Need New Names” on it. Violet Bulawayo is a talented new voice, and I actually preferred her book to Adichie’s.

I am impressed by the variety in the list this year – so I am hoping I get a chance to read at least a couple before the announcement. I loved Let The Great World Spin so have been looking forward to Transatlantic (hoping I enjoy it more than you did!). Five Star Billionaire, The Spinning Heart and A Tale for the Time Being really appeal to me also.

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