The long list for the 2008 Man Booker Prize no longer has an Indian touch. It has a dominant Indian presence.
It is the first long list for the prestigious literary award to feature three Indian authors – Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Aravind Adiga.
Rushdie’s The Enchantress of Florence, Ghosh’s Sea of Poppies and Adiga’s The White Tiger, are among the 13 titles that have been selected from 112 entries. Sixty-one-year-old Rushdie is a heavyweight, after having recently won the Booker of Bookers – celebrating the award’s 40th anniversary – for Midnight’s Children. The novel had brought Rushdie his first Booker Prize in 1981.
While Ghosh has son several national and international literary awards, Adiga,is not just a first-timer on Man Booker Dozen —the list of 13 titles selected – but a first-time novelist as well. “We are happy with the mix of books: five first novels and two by former winners. The list covers an extraordinary variety of writing. Still, two qualities emerge this year: large scale narrative and the striking use of humour,” said Michael Portillo, one of the judges.
Rushdie’s The Enchantress..., about a European visitor to the 16th century Mughal court, has earned favourable reviews, with the The Daily Telegraph calling it a “post-modern triumph”. The Bookmakers Ladbrokes installed the title as the 4-1 favourite.
Other Bookmakers predicted that Rushdie’s novel and Irish author Joseph O’Neill’s book Netherland would be favourites. But Graham Sharpe from William Hill said: “Although Salman has won Booker of Bookers, that book is over 20 years old and his recent work has not won awards. However, Netherland has been creating a real buzz.”
The shortlist for the prize will be revealed on September 9 and the winner announced on October 14.