The gems of the Booker trove: 2019 longlist

This year’s Booker Prize longlist includes two former winners as well as an international array of acclaimed fiction.
The gems of the Booker trove: 2019 longlist(@bookerprizes/Instagram)
The gems of the Booker trove: 2019 longlist(@bookerprizes/Instagram)
Updated on Aug 09, 2019 12:01 PM IST
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ByTHE GUARDIAN

This year’s Booker Prize longlist includes two former winners as well as an international array of acclaimed fiction. “If you only read one book this year, make a leap. Read all 12 of these. There are Nobel candidates and debutants on this list. There are no favourites; all are credible winners,” said Peter Florence, founder and director of Hay Festival, who chaired the panel of judges. From previous winner, Margaret Atwood, who releases her work after three long years, to the Booker of Bookers winner, Salman Rushdie, we list 12 longlisted books and what they’re about.

 

THE TESTAMENTS BY MARGARET ATWOOD

Arguably the most awaited novel, The Testaments is set 15 years after the end of The Handmaid’s Tale and follows the lives of three women in Gilead.

NIGHT BOAT TO TANGIER BY KEVIN BARRY

Late at night in the Spanish port of Algeciras, two ageing Irish gangsters, Charlie and Maurice, are waiting on the boat from Tangier so they can continue their search for Charlie’s daughter. What happens next forms the crux of the story.

MY SISTER, THE SERIAL KILLER BY OYINKAN BRAITHWAITE

A Nigerian woman is forced to clean up after her younger sister develops a taste for killing her boyfriends.

GIRL, WOMAN, OTHER BY BERNARDINE EVARISTO

The novel follows 12 characters, most of them black British women, some living in different decades while others overlap. There’s Amma, a lesbian socialist playwright; non-binary Morgan, who uses the internet to navigate gender identity; and Winsome, an unhappily married migrant from Barbados. There is no overarching story, but the book is more importantly about the connections that can be made between disparate humans.

THE MAN WHO SAW EVERYTHING BY DEBORAH LEVY

The novel uses an interesting technique where two versions of the same story are interwoven — in 1989, Saul is hit by a car on the Abbey Road crossing, but gets up and goes to see his girlfriend, travels to East Germany and buries his father. And the other time is 2016, when Saul is hit by a car on the Abbey Road crossing and is rushed to the hospital, spending the following days in and out of consciousness as his father sits by his bedside.

THE WALL BY JOHN LANCHESTER

Set in Britain in the not-toodistant future after a climatic event known as “the Change”, movement between countries is outlawed. A young conscript patrols ‘the Wall’, a barrier built along the British coastline, looking for ‘others’ who might appear at any moment from the sea.

LOST CHILDREN ARCHIVE BY VALERIA LUISELLI

As a young family leaves New York, USA, to go on a road trip to the southern border, several Mexican children start their journey and attempt to cross into the USA.

 

10 MINUTES 38 SECONDS IN THIS STRANGE WORLD BY ELIF SHAFAK

On the outskirts of Istanbul, Turkey, a sex worker is murdered and her body is dumped in a garbage bin. As her brain shuts down — over 10 minutes, 38 seconds — key moments and memories from her life play out over the pages.

AN ORCHESTRA OF MINORITIES BY CHIGOZIE OBIOMA

Narrated by a chi, a guardian spirit in Igbo myth, this novel follows Nonso, an ambitious Nigerian graduate who is trapped in Cyprus after falling for an education scam.

LANNY BY MAX PORTER

Set around the disappearance of a small boy after he summons a strange presence to his commuter village, Lanny experiments with voices and typography and taps into the strangeness of English folklore.

 

FRANKISSSTEIN BY JEANETTE WINTERSON

A playful imagination of Mary Shelly’s 1818 classic, Frankenstein. This novel tells the story of Ry Shelley, a transgender doctor who describes herself as a ‘hybrid’. When Shelly meets Victor Stein, a celebrated professor, he sees transhuman possibilities in Ry’s body. “You aligned your physical reality with the mental impression of yourself,” he tells Ry. “Wouldn’t it be a good thing if we could all do that?” she responds.

QUICHOTTE BY SALMAN RUSHDIE

A modern-day reimagination of Miguel de Cervantes’ Don Quixote that follows a salesman travelling across the United States. The story tells the tale of an Indian origin man, who is infatuated by an American talk-show host, Salma R. This makes him set out in search of her.

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Saturday, May 28, 2022