What a list! What a surprise not to see Kazuo Ishiguro, Amitav Ghosh even Jane Smiley. But nevertheless a host of treats. Anne Tyler I predicted would appear and not one of the others.
There are some huge, fat books: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara at 720 pages, a novel of New York students; A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, a Jamaican author who has written a novel about an attempted assassination of Bob Marley, this weighs in with 686 pages (so you have to wonder what brevity actually means here?) and then there is a slightly shorter novel by Sunjeev Sahota The Year of the Runaways, only 468 pages about three young men who travel from India to England.
So far, the competition for shortest is between Tom McCarthy Satin Island and Marianne Robinson Lila – Lila is the final (possibly) part of a trilogy which started with Gilead, followed by Home, so I am awarding that accolade to Mr McCarthy whose novel is only 173 pages. Tom McCarthy has been on a Man Booker longlist before, Marianne Robinson has only recently qualified, since it is only the second year that this prize was opened up to any book written in English – thereby letting in the Americans.
Finally, falling between two stools there is the new novel by Andrew O’Hagan The Illuminations, an author twice nominated for the Man Booker and Anne Enright The Green Road. Anne Enright has actually won the prize with a previous novel The Gathering in 2007.
There are five more titles to come, these are the only ones that have been published to date. I am saving the pictures for the relevant posts, but here is Anne Tyler‘s novel A Spool of Blue Thread which appeared in my post Two Literary Giants on 1st May 2015 as a postscript prediction that she would be on the long list, with Kazuo Ishiguro (one right, one wrong!) Expect regular posts from now until the shortlist is published on 15th September, with my usual wild predictions – though in the history of the prize I have only been right twice, so do not put any money on them!!