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Who Will Be Longlisted for the 2015 Booker Prize?

The Booker longlist will be announced on Wednesday 29 July. For the last few months I’ve been studying the contenders. It’s a pretty average year for fiction and there are no obvious front-runners for the prize, so it will be interesting to see which titles are selected.

My personal favourite is I Am Radar by Reif Larsen as I thought it pushed the boundaries of both literature and science in new directions – something the majority of other books fail to do, no matter how insightful or well-written they are. I’d also be happy to see The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber do well, especially as it is a fantasy novel – a genre often ignored by the prize committee.

After much deliberation I’ve chosen 13 books that deserve a place on the Booker longlist. I hope that you like my selection!

I predict that these books will be selected for the Booker longlist:


The Book of Strange New ThingsOne Third of ParadiseLila

The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber

One Third of Paradise by Julietta Harvey

Lila by Marilynne Robinson

I Am RadarThe Mark and the VoidA Little Life

I Am Radar by Reif Larsen

The Mark and the Void by Paul Murray

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

A Spool of Blue ThreadQuicksandAll Involved

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

All Involved by Ryan Gattis

The Green RoadA God in RuinsPuritymiller

The Green Road by Anne Enright

A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson

The Crossing by Andrew Miller

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

What do you think of my choices?

Who would you like to see on the Booker longlist?


36 replies on “Who Will Be Longlisted for the 2015 Booker Prize?”

An interesting list, Jackie, though for once I hope you’re miles out as it isn’t a longlist that would inspire me! Fortunately I don’ think ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ is eligible (first published in the UK May 2014) – I thought it was vastly over-rated and a terrible choice for the Pulitzer. I’m not a fan of Franzen or Enright either (nearly at the end of ‘The Green Road’ and although I prefer it to her last two novels I can’t say I’m enjoying it much) and the Faber is probably my least favourite book of the past few years.
I haven’t read enough new (eligible) books this year to come up with my own list, though, based on reviews, I reckon you’ll be right with ‘A Little Life’ and ‘All Involved’.
I don’t know what Jonathan Buckley’s new novel is like, but I always think he’s an author who gets unfairly overlooked by the prizes – I especially loved his last one, ‘Nostalgia’ and the direction he was going in which he seems to be continuing along with ‘The River is the River’. I’m also very much looking forward to Pat Barker’s ‘Noonday’, and after all she has form for winning with the third part of a trilogy!

David, Thanks for pointing out my mistake with Doerr’s book – I think I got mixed up when checking and looked at the paperback release date 🙁 I’ll have to decide which book to replace it with.

I haven’t read anything written by Jonathan Buckley – I’ll head down to the library later and see if I can pick up one of his books as I’m intrigued now.

I’m not a big fan of Enright, but those who love her books are saying this one is her best. I’ll take their word for it!

I was reluctant to add Barker to the list as books at the end of a trilogy/series often struggle with prizes (I ignored Flood of Fire by Amitav Ghosh for the same reason) I’ll be interested to see if you’re right.

I hope I’m wrong too – it would be lovely to discover a few wonderful, new books 🙂

Re: Enright – I know, I’ve heard nothing but good things even from people who didn’t like The Gathering which is why I decided to give it a go, but even though the writing is good it is doing nothing for me. Feels like a story I’ve read many times before filled with stock characters (the alcoholic one, the gay one, the fat one…) and given this is supposed to be her most upbeat book she still seems to be almost glorifying gloom.
And re: Buckley – I’ve only read three of his books, all of them good, but if the library has Nostalgia do get that one. The best way I can think to describe it is as a cabinet of curiosities.

David, “a cabinet of curiosities”? Sounds good! I’ll let you know what I make of it.

I thought The Gathering was quite good, but her “glorifying gloom” (great phrase!) isn’t really for me so I’ve made the decision not to try her again. I’m trying only to read things that I think I have a good chance of loving. There are too many books out there to waste time reading OK things 🙂

The list is interesting, but I will include Chigozie Obioma’s “The Fishermen” on this list. It is the best book of 2015 without doubt. The Enright novel is marvelous too and might make the cut.

I hope too. I was just going to vote on the not-the-booker when I saw your page about the Booker predictions. I recommend that novel highly. I had a hard time deciding to read it given that a debut can be so highly praised from literally everyone from the NYTimes to the New Yorker, and Bookriot kept shouting about it, including it in their best 8 books of the year so far. But it deserves everything, my best book of the year so far!

Many thanks to David for pointing out my error in including ‘All the Light We Cannot See’. It took a while for me to decide which book I should switch it with – should it be The Buried Giant – a book that divides opinion? Or The Wolf Border or The Seed Collectors? – books some people rave about, but I found disappointing? No, in the end I decided to add The Crossing by Andrew Miller. It isn’t out yet, so it is difficult to judge how good it is, but I’ve loved almost all of Miller’s books and is writing is consistently of a very high standard. I hope it is as good as it sounds.

The extent to which I want to read A Little Life is growing every time I see someone mention it – I haven’t read many of the books on your list but I definitely intend to!

Who I’d like to see and who I expect to see are often quite varying lists, although as I’m not very good at keeping up with contemporary fiction I don’t think my opinion normally counts for much. I would, though, expect Ishiguro to be on the long-list this year. Opinion is divided enough that The Buried Giant isn’t the safest bet and I don’t expect it to be a serious contender, but after 10 years without a novel out, I think Ish is enough of an establishment figure to get the nod (that and I think the book’s good).

Matthew, I agree that who I’d like to see and who will be there are two completely different things – I didn’t enjoy many of the books on my list, but know I have a different taste to most. The Buried Giant will be an interesting test for the judges. I wasn’t a fan, but I know some people love it. I look forward to finding out if it makes the cut 🙂

Some interesting choices. I’ve heard that Paul Murray’s new one got poor reviews, but have not seen them/it. In our Shiny New Books poll, I plumped for Salman Rushdie which is spec.fiction meets Arabian nights and Patrick DeWitt’s new one – neither of which are published yet. I’ve not actually read any of your choices, although I own four (Atkinson, Toltz, Larsen and Faber).

Annabel, I’ve not read it (as it hasn’t been released yet) but I have only seen glowing comments for Murray’s book on twitter. Salman Rushdie’s new book is a great choice, although I haven’t actually seen any feedback on it, either positive or negative, yet. I look forward to finding out all about it.

An interesting list. I’ve just read Susan’s on A Life in Books and see you only have the Tyler book in common. I haven’t read any on your list yet but will add a few titles to my mountainous tbr list.

Helen, My Internet access has been very patchy recently so I haven’t seen anyone else’s predictions yet – will head over to Susan’s as soon as I can as I’d love to know what others are thinking.

One I hadn’t realised until today was even published in the UK (I read it last year in the Canadian edition) is Michael Crummey’s ‘Sweetland’. Although judges probably pick books miles away from what they themselves would write, it is quite John Burnside-ish. Anyway, I’d love to see that one on the longlist.
Also looking forward to seeing what Petina Gappah’s first novel is like – her story collection ‘An Elegy for Easterly’ was fantastic, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see that one longlisted if she writes as well in the longer form.

I totally agree with you, David. Sweetland was my favourite book of the year, and I am hoping it is also longlisted (I think it definitely has the power to be shortlisted as well). My fingers are crossed for Michael Crummey!

David, I haven’t read Sweetland, but I have been impressed byCrummey’s writing in the past. You never hear of him in the UK literary scene so I wonder if he will be submitted, but it would be nice for him to reach a wider British audience.

I am hoping Jane Smiley’s Some Luck makes the cut. It is so excellent. According to Amazon UK, it was published there in November 2014, so qualifies.

I don’t think I’ve read enough books eligible for this year’s Prize to compile my own wishlist but I definitely want to see The Book of Strange New Things on the longlist. I still think about it a lot even though I read it nearly a year ago when I got an ARC.

I hope that The Book of Strange New Things gets something! I loved it; it was so unusual, so fresh, so full of what I believe. Not many books have the courage to incorporate the Bible accurately.

I haven’t read any of the books on this list yet – but there are several that I’ll be adding to my to-read list (which is so long it’s turned into a multi-page to-read list that I had to get a folder for.)

The one on your list I’ve read and enjoyed is Julietta Harvey, One Third of Paradise. I reviewed it over at my place. Sequel to ‘Familiar wars’ 28 years earlier! Very different in tone, content and style – more brooding. Both are good.

It’s so hard – I’m planning to get to All Involved pretty soon though, as crime (and associated) is my kind of area. As I said to Simon Savidge, there’s always a few expected, always a few ones you don’t recognise. And the judges can sometimes have a bearing too…

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