I have now read all the books on the rather wayward and eccentric longlist. I have blogged on all the books save one, Carol Birch’s book Jamrach’s Menagerie. I read this in February and wasn’t overly engaged so I have already got rid of my copy. It is set in 19th century Wapping and was recommended to me because I live near there. Like many of the novels on this year’s longlist it is a plot led novel, a young boy encounters and escaped tiger and survives, as a result he is given a jam-puff and a job helping at the menagerie, the Victorian equivalent of a zoo crossed with a pet shop.
My shortlist includes Alison Pick, Far to Go; Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending; Sebastian Barry, On Canaan’s Side; Patrick McGuiness, The Last Hundred Days; Yvvette Edwards, A Cupboard Full of Coats; and Alan Hollinghurst, A Stranger’s Child (I have always thought that this would be a shoe-in); though should this not make it after all I would replace it with Patrick DeWitt’s debut novel: