Man Booker Prize 2015 long list

The long list for the Man Booker Prize 2015 was announced today, Wednesday 29 July.

The ‘Booker Dozen’ 13 novels feature three British writers, five US writers and one each from the Republic of Ireland, New Zealand, India, Nigeria and Jamaica.

Marlon James, who currently lives in Minneapolis, is the first Jamaican-born author to be nominated for the prize. Laila Lalami, now based in Santa Monica but born in Rabat, is the first Moroccan-born. There are three debut novelists, the literary agent Bill Clegg, Nigerian Chigozie Obioma and New Zealand author Anna Smail.

The longlist is:

Bill Clegg (US) – Did You Ever Have a Family

– On the eve of her daughter’s wedding, June’s life is devastated when a disaster takes the lives of her entire family, all gone in a moment. June is the only survivor.

The Green RoadAnne Enright (Ireland) – The Green Road

– Spans 30 years, 3 continents and narrates the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the dysfunctional Irish Madigan family and her four children. Sounds promising.

Marlon James (Jamaica) – A Brief History of Seven Killings

– a fictional exploration of the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s, featuring assassins, journalists, drug dealers, and even ghosts.

Tom McCarthy (UK) – Satin Island

– A “corporate ethnographer,” narrator, U. is tasked with writing the “Great Report,” an all-encompassing document that would sum up our era. A big essay of a novel.

The Moor's AccountLaila Lalami (US) – The Moor’s Account

– the imagined memoirs of the first black explorer of America, a Moroccan slave whose testimony was left out of the official record, historical fiction from 1527.

Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – The Fishermen

– In a Nigerian town in the mid 1990’s, four brothers encounter a madman whose mystic prophecy of violence threatens the core of their close-knit family.

Andrew O’Hagan (UK) – The Illuminations

– Anne battles dementia, her grandson Luke is in Afghanistan, on his return they set out for an old guest house where they witness the annual illuminations, dazzling artificial lights that brighten the seaside resort town as the season turns to winter. Love, memory, war and fact.

Marilynne Robinson (US) – Lila

– Revisiting characters and setting of Gilead and Home; Lila, homeless and alone after years of roaming the countryside, steps inside a small-town Iowa church—the only available shelter from the rain—and ignites a romance and a debate that will reshape her life.

Anuradha Roy (India) – Sleeping on Jupiter 

– a young girl ends up in an orphanage run by an internationally renowned spiritual guru, before being adopted abroad, haunted by memories, she returns to the temple town of Jarmuli to tie up loose ends and keep promises made long ago, intertwined with the stories of three women she meets on the train.

Sunjeev Sahota (UK) – The Year of the Runaways

– an unlikely family thrown together by circumstance, three men – Tochi, Randeep and Avtar – live together with other migrant workers in a house in Sheffield, all fleeing India and in desperate search of a new life, the woman, Narindar, is married to Randeep but barely knows him and lives in a separate flat.

The ChimesAnna Smaill (New Zealand) – The Chimes

– set in a reimagined London, a world where people cannot form new memories, the written word forbidden and destroyed. In the absence of both memory and writing is music. Simon Wythern has a gift that could change all that.

Anne Tyler (US) – A Spool of Blue Thread  (see review)

Hanya Yanagihara (US) – A Little Life

– follows the complicated relationships of four young men over decades in New York City, their joys and burdens, Jude’s journey to stability, having been scarred by a horrific childhood with its prolonged physical and emotional effects.


The only one I have read is Anne Tyler’s A Spool of Blue Thread, the book I’ve been hearing the most about recently, is Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (albeit in a big fat book), a little too hyped for me and I’m already committed to my #chunkster for summer, which I started today, Chilean Roberto Bolano’s epic 2666.

One of the titles that intrigues me most from the list, that I have also read a few excellent reviews of recently is debut novelist Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen.

I’ve also listened to Anne Enright being interviewed and I’m sure The Green Road will be a great read. Based on the blurb alone, I like the sound of Laila Lalami’s historical novel, The Moor’s Account, particularly being a voice and perspective from outside the established literary quarters.

No predictions, but the shortlist of six books will be announced on Tuesday 15 September and the winner on Tuesday 13 October.

So which of these titles appeals to you, or  would you like to read?


42 thoughts on “Man Booker Prize 2015 long list

  1. I have been hearing a lot of good things about Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life (+700 pages), but just like you I’m trying to get my TBR down to zero before 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I was almost tempted by it, but now there are so many reading it, there’s less mystery and I’m reluctant to comitt to 2 chunksters for the summer, with my stack of #WIT Women in Translation books tempting me. I’m reading all the old ones off the TBR for now, like you. Bonne Courage!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Can’t say enough times, I know the hype’s off-putting but A Little Life is one of the best books I’ve ever read. I honestly think it’s shifted what ‘the Great American Novel’ is/can be. I’d love to see it win.

        Liked by 3 people

    • It’s a great list and good to see new names, but it doesn’t really change my reading plans, not with #WIT (Women in Translation) Month coming up in August! I have a stack to read and content with the choices, but I’ll be looking out for reviews of some of these new voices.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hrm. I don’t have enough time to read the long list by October 13… maybe the shortlist? 🙂
    Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant completely sold me on Anne Tyler; A Spool of Blue Thread sounds like a good place to start. I’d like to read The Green Road too… so many of these sound interesting this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I never read the long or short lists, but like to pick and choose from the long list, which is where I’m more likely to find something that appeals to me.

      It’s a great selection indeed, seems a little more eclectic this year, good to see some new voices and countries represented.


  3. I’ve got A Little Life waiting for me on my ereader but am reluctant to start, knowing it’s a) chunky and b) depressing. I haven’t read any of the others, but The Chimes and The Year of the Runaways intrigue me. I’m sad about Kate Atkinson (not that I’ve read A God in Ruins, but I just love her writing).
    Have fun and pace yourself with the Bolano!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I decided not to be swayed by all the tempting reviews of A Little Life and stick to my Bolano plan. The Chimes doesn sound unusual and interesting, I remember Susan reviewing it, must go back and reread her review, I should be supporting the NZ entry after all.

      I think Kate Atkinson is a great writer, but something of a renegade, which in some years is revered and in others panned. I haven’t read it either, but have read of the grand reader deception within it, which may have divided judges. Who knows?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t know about this grand reader deception. Intriguing. I thought it was written from the viewpoint of another character in Life After Life? Maybe I’m wrong. Loved that book but wasn’t excited about reading yet another version.


        • I haven’t read it either and yes it is told from the perspective of Teddy I believe, but you know how playful Kate Atkinson can be!

          As one reviewer notes

          The book ends with a breathtaking volte-face which will infuriate some readers and delight others, forcing us to reconsider how we understand fiction and the uses of the imagination.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm… there’s quite a few I’d like to read, and several I really wouldn’t. I haven’t read a single one this year – quite unusual. The ones I most fancy are The Green Road, The Moor’s Account, The Fishermen, Sleeping on Jupiter, The Year of the Runaways, The Chimes and The Spool of Blue Thread. Lila appeals too but I still haven’t got around to reading Gilead yet, though it’s been on the TBR for over a year. An interesting list – quite varied, and I’m glad to see some Commonwealth writers on there. Thanks for the round-up, Claire!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve just replied to loads of comments – sorry, I’m overexcited about this year’s list for the first time ever. Seven women, six writers of colour, it’s as though the Booker Prize has caught up with the rest of the world! I’ve read four of the books and intend to read as many of the others as I can manage bar maybe the O’Hagan. My tip for the win is A Little Life, I think it’s an extraordinary achievement. I’m most keen to read the Marlon James and the Sunjeev Sahota. Nice to be excited about books by male writers for once!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know exactly what you mean Naomi, last year I was uninspired to write a post on the Man Booker, this year it feels a lot more diverse, with a great mix of knowns and unknowns, local and international talent, that’s why I decided to make an effort and write a little summary on each one, as there’s something in here for everyone.

      Loved your review and interview of The Chimes, I remember reading it when you first wrote it and thinking it sounded like a unique concept and voice. Thanks for the encouragement of A Little Life, I might make it my summer chunkster for next year! By then there’ll be plenty of copies available I’m sure.

      I hope you’re going to be putting a few reviews up for us or at least tweeting about them!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks, Claire. I’ve put a short post up with my take on this year’s list with links to the three I’ve reviewed so far. I’ll definitely be reviewing the other books by women on the list and tweeting about any by the men. It’s nice to be looking forward to reading them all!

        Liked by 1 person

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    • There are loads of great looking titles in this collection, I can’t wait to read the reviews, I agree The Moor’s Account sounds excellent, I actually have Lila, so should get on with that, although committed to #WIT for August.

      2666 is intriguing to begin with, heart breaking in it’s relentless middle and a marathon of a book that seems to have been written with multiple purposes in mind. It’s hard not to look at it, without taking into consideration that they are the words of a dying man who wished to leave a legacy to his family, one who had a colourful life across countries before he settled down with his wife. I really had little idea what I was getting into before starting it, now I persevere, despite the horrors it describes.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I actually marked ‘The Illuminations’ as a book to read on Goodreads a few months ago, so I’m really excited to see it on this list – it reaffirms that I should read it!
    I hadn’t heard of ‘The Chimes’ but I really like the description of it, so I think I’ll be giving this a go as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Chimes does sound an interesting and musical oeuvre, it will be interesting to see which books make the shortlist and also that of the new Shadow Jury that has just popped up, saying they will read all the novels before mid September!


  8. I’m a fan of Marilyn Robinson’s and I’ve had Lila on my kindle for months now. Time I got to it, I think. “The Moor’s Account” sounds particularly fascinating. Interesting to see another NZer on the long list as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Thanks so much for the introduction to the books on the list, Claire, and have been reading everyone’s comments – it’s making me want to drop everything and pick quite a few of the contenders up – just not enough time available, argh ……….. but all so very very tempting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Isn’t it great when a longlist inspires us to want to read more, I love the contribution from all the comments, and the reviews of others blogging. Also great to see a shadow jury pop up, promising to read them all before the next announcement. Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

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