Långa listan: Man Booker prize 2016

Långa listan för Man Booker-priset 2016 har tillkännagivits. Det är 13 författare som sinsemellan är ganska olika – en nobelpristagare och en thrillerförfattare – och fördelningen mellan kvinnor (sex) och män (sju) så jämn den kan bli.

Av de 13 romanerna är sex skrivna av britter, fem av amerikaner, en kanadensare och en sydafrikan. Sydafrikanen är ingen mindre än JM Coetzee, som är den enda författaren som tilldelats priset två gånger. Han är också den författare som är överlägset mest lik Clint Eastwood, mer lik ju äldre han blir. Bristen på mångfald har kritiserats.

”The range of books is broad and the quality extremely high. Each novel provoked intense discussion and, at times, passionate debate, challenging our expectations of what a novel is and can be,” hävdade Amanda Foreman, juryns ordförande.

”From the historical to the contemporary, the satirical to the polemical, the novels in this list come from both established writers and new voices. The writing is uniformly fresh, energetic and important. It is a longlist to be relished.”

Och det finns tveklöst rader av intressanta namn och romaner med på listan. Respektive odds, satta av spelbolaget William Hill, uppges till höger om förlagsnamnen:


The Sellout, Paul Beatty (Oneworld) Saknar märkligt nog odds.

Det här ska vara samhällssatir på högsta nivå och enligt många amerikanska kritiker var det en av förra årets bästa böcker. Vinnare av National Book Critics Circle Award.


The Schooldays of Jesus, JM Coetzee (Harvill Secker) Odds: 7.00

Ur förlagets beskrivning: ”In this mesmerising allegorical tale, Coetzee deftly grapples with the big questions of growing up, of what it means to be a parent, the constant battle between intellect and emotion, and how we choose to live our lives.” Låter inte superspännande, men Coetzee är Coetzee. Romanen kommer ut i höst.

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Serious Sweet, AL Kennedy (Jonathan Cape) Odds: 5.50

Skottskan Kennedy har märkligt nog aldrig blivit nominerad, men denna hennes åttonde roman, en kärlekshistoria som utspelar sig under ett dygn, har juryn gillat. En London-roman.

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Hot MilkDeborah Levy (Hamish Hamilton) Odds: 6.00

”Perfectly crafted portrait of a relationship in crisis”
The Independent


His Bloody ProjectGraeme Macrae Burnet (Contraband) Odds: 11.00

Har beskrivits som det skotska svaret på den skandinaviska krimivågen. Det är med andra ord en sällsynt blodig historia.


The North Water, Ian McGuire (Scribner UK) Odds: 8.00

Historisk roman om valfångst. Tycker Hilary Mantel: ”Fast-paced, gripping. A tour de force of narrative tension and a masterful reconstruction of a lost world”

Hystopia - David Means

Hystopia, David Means (Faber & Faber) Odds: 13.00

David Means är novellspecialist, men den här utflippade romanen handlar om märkliga och hemska saker som hände under Vietnam-kriget. Ur recension i The Independent:

Hystopia begins with an ‘Editor’s Note’ which sets up the conceit: 22-year-old Eugene Allen, who committed suicide after returning from fighting in Vietnam, has left behind a novel which is based on his experiences as a veteran and includes a cast of troubled characters drawn from his own life. Allen’s novel is the bulk of Means’ novel; it’s merely bookended by fifty-odd pages of testimonies from people who knew Allen, suicide notes written by him and other fairly well-worn metafictional tricks.”


The ManyWyl Menmuir (Salt) Odds: 15.00

Ur förlagets beskrivning: ”Timothy Buchannan buys an abandoned house on the edge of an isolated village on the coast, sight unseen. When he sees the state of it he questions the wisdom of his move, but starts to renovate the house for his wife, Lauren to join him there. […] When the villagers see smoke rising from the chimney of the neglected house they are disturbed and intrigued by the presence of the incomer, intrigue that begins to verge on obsession. And the longer Timothy stays, the more deeply he becomes entangled in the unsettling experience of life in the small village.”

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EileenOttessa Moshfegh (Jonathan Cape) Odds: 17.00

Det här är min stora favorit, en debutroman men mer eller mindre fulländad. Även om Moshfegh inte tilldelas priset i år, har hon alla förutsättningar att bli en stor litterär stjärna. Ur förlagets beskrivning:

”Played out against the snowy landscape of coastal New England, blending true noir and the eerie, unforgettable books of Shirley Jackson and Flannery O’Connor, this mesmeric, terrifying, sublimely funny debut novel enthralls and shocks, and introduces one of the most original new voices in contemporary literature.”


Work Like Any OtherVirginia Reeves (Scribner UK) Odds: 15.00

Det här verkar vara en ganska konventionell roman:

”Alabama, 1920s: Rosco T. Martin is an electrician by trade. It’s what he loves, where his talents lie. But when his wife, Marie, inherits her father’s failing farm, he must give up his livelihood, at great cost to his sense of self, his marriage and his family.[…] Realising he might lose them all, he starts siphoning electricity from the state power lines, ushering in a brief period of bounty and happiness. Then a young man is electrocuted on Roscoe’s illegal lines and everything changes: Roscoe is arrested, the farm falls back into decay and Marie abandons him to face his twenty-year prison sentence alone.”

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My Name Is Lucy Barton, Elisabeth Strout (Viking) Odds: 6.50

Det här låter också tämligen konventionellt: ”Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable. In My Name Is Lucy Barton, one of America’s finest writers shows how a simple hospital visit illuminates the most tender relationship of all-the one between mother and daughter.”

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All That Man IsDavid Szalay (Jonathan Cape) Odds: 17.00

”From billionaire to bodyguard to father-to-be, these stories about existentially marooned men are the work of a first-rate writer.”
The Guardian


Do Not Say We Have NothingMadeleine Thien (Granta Books) Odds: 13.00

Ur recension i Financial Times: ”This is the third novel from Thien, a Canadian writer of Malaysian-Chinese heritage, and her most ambitious. It recalls the panoramic scale and domestic minutiae of the great 19th-century Russian writers, yet also references Chinese literary classics such as Romance of the Three Kingdoms. […] All the novel’s roads, real or imagined, lead to Tiananmen Square. The book’s recounting of the fateful uprisings in the early summer of 1989, of Ai-ming’s political awakening and the final reckoning for Sparrow and Kai, is its major accomplishment. It is a highly suspenseful drama; as measured, intoxicating and tragic as Zhuli’s violin playing; as courageous and far-reaching as principled resistance itself.”

Det är inte lika många stora och kända namn som det brukar vara på listan. Det stora undantaget är naturligvis Coetzee, och Beatty, Kennedy och några andra är ju om inte litterära storstjärnor så etablerade. Jag känner visserligen inte till alla författare så väl, men hoppas att Coetzee, Means, Beatty, Kennedy och Moshfegh tar sig in på den korta listan.

Den korta listan presenteras 13 september 2016.

Vinnaren presenteras 25 oktober 2016.

Hävdar arrangörerna: ”The winner receives £50,000 as well as the £2,500 awarded to each of the shortlisted authors. Both the winner and the shortlisted authors are guaranteed a worldwide readership plus an increase in book sales.”

Ola Wihlke

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