The OF Blog: Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker Prize, I rank the Booker finalists, and the National Book Awards shortlists

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Richard Flanagan wins 2014 Man Booker Prize, I rank the Booker finalists, and the National Book Awards shortlists

Lots of literary news over the past 24 hours to cover briefly.  Yesterday afternoon, Australian writer Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  It is a very good novel, one that is well-deserving of this honor, but having read 11/13 of the longlist (still have The Dog and Us to read; the latter hasn't yet been released in the US) and 6/6 of the shortlist, it wasn't my personal favorite.  This is not to say that I didn't like it quite a bit, because I did, but there were some other outstanding books on those lists that appealed to me just a tiny bit more.  So for those of you who like lists and rankings, if I had to file a preferential voting system ballot for the Booker Prize shortlist, it would have gone like this:

1.  Ali Smith, How to be Both 

2.  Richard Flanagan, The Narrow Road to the Deep North 

3.  Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves 

4.  Neel Mukherjee, The Lives of Others

5.  Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour

6.  Howard Jacobson, J 


If I were to employ star/number rating systems, the difference between the Smith and the Jacobson would be somewhere between .5 and 1, as I do consider the Jacobson to be well above the average, if not quite outstanding or excellent.  All in all, while I would have considered several other books instead of/in addition to these, this was an enjoyable shortlist (and by extension, longlist) to read.

Earlier today, the National Book Awards released their five book shortlists for Young People's Literature, Poetry, Non-Fiction, and Fiction.  I own/have reviewed some of the YPL, Poetry, and Fiction finalists and will try to review as many of these over the next month as possible.


Young People's Literature:


Jacqueline Woodson, Brown Girl Dreaming (currently reading; excellent so far)

John Corey Whaley, Noggin

Steve Sheinkin, The Port Chicago 50

Deborah Wiles, Revolution

Eliot Schrefer, Threatened


Poetry:


Claudia Rankine, Citizen

Louise Glück, Faithful and Virtuous Night 

Fred Moten, The Feel Trio

Fanny Howe, Second Childhood

Maureen N. McClane, This Blue


Non-Fiction:


Evan Osnos, Age of Ambition:  Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China

Roz Chast, Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant?

Edward O. Wilson, The Meaning of Human Existence 

Anand Gopal, No Good Men Among the Living:  America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes

John Lahr, Tennessee Williams:  Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh


Fiction:


Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See 

Rabih Alameddine, An Unnecessary Woman 

Marilynne Robinson, Lila

Phil Klay, Redeployment 

Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven



1 comment:

Ray Garraty said...

In my rating the Flanagan wouldn't be that high on the list. My vote would go to the novel which didn't make the short-list, The Dog.

 
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