The Man Booker 13 on the 13th

August 13, 2009

Lever's debut is a surprise contender.

Lever's debut is a surprise contender. This is the U.S. cover.

I missed the end-of-July Man Booker longlist announcement.

In case you did, too, I’ve listed the 13 novels here, with links to story summaries.

It’s an enticing mix.

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is considered the U.K. version of our Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It’s awarded annually to a book written by a citizen of Britain’s Commonwealth or the Republic of Ireland.

This 2009 longlist of 13 will be cut short and announced again September 8.  (Kind of like a beauty pageant. The longlist is 12 or 13 books – the Man Booker Dozen – and the short list is 6.) The winner will be announced October 6.

Here are the current contenders for the 2009 prize.  I’ve noted U.S. publication dates, if applicable.

AS Byatt – The Children’s Book
U.S. October 6, 2009
Spans the Victorian era through the World War I years, and centers around a famous children’s book author and the passions, betrayals, and secrets that tear apart the people she loves.

JM Coetzee – Summertime
U.S. December 24, 2009.
A young English biographer is working on a book about the late writer, John Coetzee.

Adam Foulds – The Quickening Maze
A novel that delves into the madness of the little-known poet John Clare.

Sarah Hall – How to Paint a Dead Man
U.S. September 8, 2009
The lives of four individuals—a dying painter, a blind girl, a landscape artist, and an art curator—intertwine across nearly five decades.

Samantha Harvey – The Wilderness
U.S. now available
A man in his 60s struggles to hold onto his past as his Alzheimer’s grows worse.

James Lever – Me Cheeta
U.S. now available
Cheeta the chimp, star of the Tarzan films, chatters about behind-the-scenes  drama during Hollywood’s golden years.

Hilary Mantel – Wolf Hall
U.S. October 13, 2009
Thomas Cromwell gambles his life to win King Henry VIII’s favor in 1500s England.

Simon Mawer – The Glass Room
Set in Czechoslovakia in the late 1930s, the story traces events in and around a house made of steel, glass and onyx.

Ed O’Loughlin – Not Untrue & Not Unkind
U.S. April 1, 2010
Foreign correspondents in war-torn Africa in the late 1990s wrestle with friendship and betrayal.

James Scudamore – Heliopolis
A young man experiences a rags to riches journey that takes place in São Paulo.

Colm Tóibín – Brooklyn
U.S. now available
A young Irish woman crosses the ocean to make a new life for herself in Brooklyn.

William Trevor – Love and Summer
U.S. September 17, 2009
An unlikely couple falls in love in a small Irish town during one long summer.

Sarah Waters – The Little Stranger
U.S. now available
In postwar Britain, a man revisits a house he knew in childhood only to discover odd, suspicious behavior among the family members.

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