The longlist, or ‘Man Booker Dozen’, for the £50,000 Man Booker Prize has been announced.
This year’s longlist was chosen by a panel of five judges that included philosopher Kwame Anthony Appiah (Chair); crime writer Val McDermid; cultural critic Leo Robson; feminist writer and critic Jacqueline Rose; and artist and graphic novelist Leanne Shapton.
The list was chosen from 171 submission, the highest number of titles put forward in the prize’s 50-year-history.
This is the first year that novels published in Ireland are eligible for the prize, following a change in rules announced at the start of 2018 that recognised the special relationship between the UK and Irish publishing markets.
Here is the Man Booker Prize 2018 longlist:
Belinda Bauer (UK) - Snap (Bantam Press)
On a stifling summer's day, eleven-year-old Jack and his two sisters sit in their broken-down car, waiting for their mother to come back and rescue them. Jack's in charge, she'd said. I won't be long.
But she doesn't come back. She never comes back. And life as the children know it is changed forever. Three years later, Jack is still in charge – of his sisters, of supporting them all, of making sure nobody knows they're alone in the house, and - quite suddenly - of finding out the truth about what happened to his mother. . .
Anna Burns (UK) - Milkman (Faber & Faber)
In this unnamed city, to be interesting is dangerous. Middle sister, our protagonist, is busy attempting to keep her mother from discovering her maybe-boyfriend and to keep everyone in the dark about her encounter with Milkman. But when first brother-in-law sniffs out her struggle, and rumours start to swell, middle sister becomes ‘interesting’. The last thing she ever wanted to be. To be interesting is to be noticed and to be noticed is dangerous…
Milkman is a tale of gossip and hearsay, silence and deliberate deafness. It is the story of inaction with enormous consequences.
Nick Drnaso (USA) - Sabrina (Granta Books)
Where is Sabrina? The answer is hidden on a videotape, a tape which is en route to several news outlets, and about to go viral.
Sabrina is the story of what happens when an intimate, ‘everyday’ tragedy collides with the appetites of the 24-hour news cycle; when somebody’s lived trauma becomes another person’s gossip; when it becomes fodder for social media, fake news, conspiracy theorists, maniacs, the bored.
Esi Edugyan (Canada) - Washington Black (Serpent’s Tail)
Escape is only the beginning. From the brutal cane plantations of Barbados to the icy wastes of the Canadian Arctic, from the mud-filled streets of London to the eerie deserts of Morocco, Washington Black is the tale – inspired by a true story – of a world destroyed and the search to make it whole again.
Guy Gunaratne (UK) - In Our Mad And Furious City (Tinder Press)
For Selvon, Ardan and Yusuf, growing up under the towers of Stones Estate, summer means what it does anywhere: football, music, freedom. But now, after the killing of a British soldier, riots are spreading across the city, and nowhere is safe.
While the fury swirls around them, Selvon and Ardan remain focused on their own obsessions, girls and grime. Their friend Yusuf is caught up in a different tide, a wave of radicalism surging through his local mosque, threatening to carry his troubled brother, Irfan, with it.
Daisy Johnson (UK) - Everything Under (Jonathan Cape)
Words are important to Gretel, always have been. As a child, she lived on a canal boat with her mother, and together they invented a language that was just their own. She hasn't seen her mother since the age of sixteen, though – almost a lifetime ago – and those memories have faded.
Now Gretel works as a lexicographer, updating dictionary entries, which suits her solitary nature. A phone call from the hospital interrupts Gretel's isolation and throws up questions from long ago. She begins to remember the private vocabulary of her childhood. She remembers other things, too: the wild years spent on the river; the strange, lonely boy who came to stay on the boat one winter; and the creature in the water – a canal thief? – swimming upstream, getting ever closer. In the end there will be nothing for Gretel to do but go back.
Sophie Mackintosh (UK) - The Water Cure (Hamish Hamilton)
Imagine a world very close to our own: where women are not safe in their bodies, where desperate measures are required to raise a daughter. This is the story of Grace, Lia and Sky, kept apart from the world for their own good and taught the terrible things that every woman must learn about love. And it is the story of the men who come to find them – three strangers washed up by the sea, their gazes hungry and insistent, trailing desire and destruction in their wake.
The Water Cure is a fever dream, a blazing vision of suffering, sisterhood and transformation. Sophie Mackintosh brings us face to face with the brutality of love, demanding to know the price of survival in a hostile world.
Michael Ondaatje (Canada) - Warlight (Jonathan Cape)
It is 1945, and London is still reeling from the Blitz and years of war. 14-year-old Nathaniel and his sister, Rachel, are apparently abandoned by their parents, left in the care of an enigmatic figure named The Moth. They suspect he might be a criminal, and grow both more convinced and less concerned as they get to know his eccentric crew of friends: men and women with a shared history, all of whom seem determined now to protect, and educate (in rather unusual ways) Rachel and Nathaniel. But are they really what and who they claim to be? A dozen years later, Nathaniel begins to uncover all he didn’t know or understand in that time, and it is this journey – through reality, recollection, and imagination – that is told in this magnificent novel.
Richard Powers (USA) - The Overstory (Willian Heinemann)
Nine strangers, each in different ways, become summoned by trees, brought together in a last stand to save the continent’s few remaining acres of virgin forest.
The Overstory unfolds in concentric rings of interlocking fable, ranging from antebellum New York to the late-twentieth-century Timber Wars of the Pacific Northwest and beyond, revealing a world alongside our own – vast, slow, resourceful, magnificently inventive and almost invisible to us. This is the story of a handful of people who learn how to see that world, and who are drawn up into its unfolding catastrophe.
Robin Robertson (UK) - The Long Take (Picador)
Walker is a D-Day veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder; he can’t return home to rural Nova Scotia, and looks instead to the city for freedom, anonymity and repair. As he moves from New York to Los Angeles and San Francisco we witness a crucial period of fracture in American history, one that also allowed film noir to flourish
While Walker tries to piece his life together, America is beginning to come apart: deeply paranoid, doubting its own certainties, driven by social and racial division, spiralling corruption and the collapse of the inner cities. The Long Take is about a good man, brutalised by war, haunted by violence and apparently doomed to return to it – yet resolved to find kindness again, in the world and in himself.
Sally Rooney (Ireland) - Normal People (Faber & Faber)
In school Connell and Marianne affect not to know each other. People know that Marianne lives in the white mansion with the driveway and that Connell’s mother is a cleaner, but no one knows of the special relationship between these facts. Despite these social tangles, a connection grows between them and when they both get places to study at Trinity College in Dublin it lasts long into the following years.
Normal People is a love story about how a person can change another person’s life – a simple yet profound realisation that unfolds beautifully over the course of the novel. It tells us how difficult it is to talk about how we feel and it tells us – blazingly – about cycles of domination, legitimacy and privilege.
Donal Ryan (Ireland) - From A Low And Quiet Sea (Doubleday Ireland)
The refugee. The dreamer. The penitent. From war-torn Syria to small-town Ireland, three men, scarred by all they have loved and lost, are searching for some version of home. Each is drawn towards a powerful reckoning, one that will bring them together in the most unexpected of ways.
Rachel Kushner (Jonathan Cape) – The Mars Room (Vintage)
Romy Hall is at the start of two consecutive life sentences, plus six years, at Stanville Women’s Correctional Facility. Outside is the world from which she has been permanently severed: the San Francisco of her youth, changed almost beyond recognition. The Mars Room strip club where she once gave lap dances for a living. And her seven-year-old son, Jackson, now in the care of Romy’s estranged mother.
Romy sees the future stretch out ahead of her in a long, unwavering line – until news from outside brings a ferocious urgency to her existence, challenging her to escape her own destiny....