Yep, it's that time of the year again; time for the annual Man Booker Prize, celebrating the best in literature published in the British Commonwealth or Ireland, considered by many to be the most prestigious literary award on the planet. The longlist for the 2008 award was just announced, in fact; the nominees include the following (and thanks to litblog "The Millions," by the way, for originally bringing this to my attention)...
The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga
Girl in a Blue Dress, by Gaynor Arnold
The Secret Scripture, by Sebastian Barry
From A to X, by John Berger
The Lost Dog, by Michelle de Kretser
Sea of Poppies, by Amitav Ghosh
The Clothes on Their Backs, by Linda Grant
A Case of Exploding Mangoes, by Mohammed Hanif
The Northern Clemency, by Philip Hensher
Netherland, by Joseph O'Neill
The Enchantress of Florence, by Salman Rushdie
Child 44, by Tom Rob Smith
A Fraction of the Whole, by Steve Toltz
No, I haven't read a single damn one of these! Which is pretty astounding, I think, considering I've read over a hundred contemporary novels in the last year; you'd think I'd have accidentally read at least one of the Booker nominees after such a large number. Anyway, that means I have some work ahead of me; because just like last year, this summer and fall I will be attempting to read and review as many of these titles as possible, before the winner is officially announced on October 14th in London. We'll see how many I get through, right? That's always the problem with the Booker, after all; each year, some of the nominees are so obscure that no one's even bothered publishing them in the US, meaning Americans can't even check out the book and determine whether it should win or not.
Anyway, I hope you're looking forward to this series of reviews, coming sporadically over the next four months; and of course if you've read any of these nominees yourself, and wish to do a little handicapping for the award (a great tradition over in the UK itself; this is one of the bigger betting events of the year over there, in fact), do feel free to leave a comment below.