The 2014 Booker Longlist

The BookDepository

The longlist for the 2014 Booker Prize has just been announced. I’m impressed by the selection as it appears to be a nice mixture of themes and styles and some are new to me. Five books aren’t published until September, so we’ll have to wait a while for those. 

The 2014 Booker Longlist:

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Five words from the blurb: Burma, prisoner, camp, starvation, letter

The Blazing World

The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt

Five words from the blurb: female, artist, experiment, conceals, identity
The Bone Clocks

The Bone Clocks by David Mitchell

Five words from the blurb: teenage, runaway, asylum, Metaphysical, shadows 

 History of the Rain

History of the Rain by Niall Williams

Five words from the blurb: Ireland, twin, hopeful, ancestors, farming

The Lives of Others

The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee

Five words from the blurb: saga, Bengali, society, fractures, family


Us by David Nicholls

Five words from the blurb: family, husbands, wives, parents, children


Orfeo by Richard Powers

Five words from the blurb: composer, police, experiment, music, fugitive

The Dog by Joseph O’Neill

(no cover or blurb available)

How to be both

How to be both by Ali Smith

Five words from the blurb: art, versatility, love, playful, mysterious

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

Five words from the blurb: sister, vanished, unique, trouble, story

The Wake

The Wake by Paul Kingsnorth

Five words from the blurb: battle, Hastings, Norman, resistance, fighters

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris

Five words from the blurb: New York, dentist, privacy, Facebook, sanity


J by Howard Jacobson

Five words from the blurb: love, questions, brutality, suspicion, denial

My thoughts

I’ve only tried three of them:

The Narrow Road to the Deep North was an impressive book, with fantastic writing, but I’m afraid I abandoned it as the subject matter was too dark. 

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves was a lovely book, but it was ruined for me as I accidentally discovered the spoiler in advance and I think the magic of this book is lost if you know the twist

Blazing World was an impressive book – see my review

Of those that I haven’t tried I’m most looking forward to reading Orfeo and The Wake. I haven’t had much success with novels by Howard Jacobson (don’t get his humour), Joshua Ferris (too experimental) or Ali Smith (too experimental) in the past and so may give them a miss unless someone can convince me they are vastly different/better than their previous novels. The rest look interesting and I look forward to trying them, but I’m in no rush, especially as most aren’t even out yet.

What do you think of the longlist?

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  1. Ellie says:

    Your approach makes them sound much more inticing. I’m not sure I’ll be running out to read any of these soon though.

    1. Jackie says:

      Ellie, Thank you! I find it helps me to get an idea about whether or not I’ll like a book – long blurbs can be intimidating :-)

  2. kimbofo says:

    Delighted to see Flanagan on there. It’s by far my favourite book of the year. The story of how it came to be written / the research he did is almost more impressive (and as heartbreaking) than the actual book — and that’s saying a lot.

    I read History of the Rain earlier in the year and quite liked it, but I wouldn’t peg it as the winner.

    1. Jackie says:

      Kim, I haven’t heard the story about how he came to write it, other than the brief note on the blurb. I’ll have to keep an eye out for an author talk from him because I’d love to hear the background information.

      I’ve a copy of History of the Rain here, but I’m not that excited about it. Perhaps it will exceed my expectations?

  3. Joe says:

    Thanks to blog a longer know what books are worth reading. First they buy a History of the Rain.

    1. Jackie says:

      Joe, Glad I was of help :-)

  4. It’s such a great list this year! I’m currently on publishing work experience and have been working closely with the editor of one of the longlisted books that’s not out until September, and it’s so exciting to see the way the company adapts to accommodate the longlist. Thanks for this post on the keywords – I’m really wanting to read The Bone Clocks and Orfeo now. x

    1. Jackie says:

      Tamsin, Yes, it must be very exciting when a book in your company is longlisted. I hope everything goes well for it :-)

      The Bone Clocks and Orfeo are top of my list too. I hope they live up to expectations!

  5. I was so thrilled to see the Karen Joy Fowler book on there — I loved it. And I’m sad that you weren’t able to enjoy it! I hope I wasn’t the one who spoiled it for you. I know I wasn’t super careful about spoilers on that one, because I was spoiled well in advance (the twist was the reason I was interested in the book in the first place), and I still thought the book was absolutely fantastic.

    1. Jackie says:

      Jenny, No, don’t worry – it wasn’t you! It was actually the Guardian newspaper on Twitter. They started a whole conversation about the spoiler :-( It turned into a big debate about whether or not it was right to reveal it, but it lasted several hours and I’m sure it led to many people finding it out. Such a shame.

  6. Nicola says:

    I’d love to see Karen Joy Fowler win it. I discovered the twist before I read it (there was so much in the media you couldn’t avoid it!) but I loved the narrator. Brilliant book.

    1. Jackie says:

      Nicola, It’s good to hear that you enjoyed it, despite knowing the twist. I can’t see it winning, but you never know!

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