Man Booker Prize Short List 2015

While my attention has been elsewhere diverted, the short list for the annual Man Booker Prize 2015 was announced.

MB logoIf you hadn’t seen the long list, which for me with all literature prizes is often where I am likely to find titles that will appeal to me, you can read about it here:

Man Booker Prize Long Lost 2015

On the six titles and authors that made the shortlist, the judges had this to say:

The judges remarked on the variety of writing styles, cultural heritage and literary backgrounds of the writers on the shortlist, which includes new authors alongside established names. Two authors come from the United Kingdom, two from the United States and one apiece from Jamaica and Nigeria.

The six titles on the 2015 shortlist are:

ManBooker Shortlist 2015A Brief History of Seven Killings , by Marlon James (Jamaica) – explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 70s.

Satin Island, by Tom McCarthy, (UK) – postmodern philosophical novel of ideas on how we experience our world.

The Fishermen, by Chigozie Obioma (Nigeria) – 4 brothers encounter a madman whose prophecy unleashes a family crisis.

The Year of the Runaways, by Sunjeev Sahota (UK) – migrant workers in a Sheffield house, all fleeing India in desperate search of a new life.

A Spool of Blue Thread, by Anne Tyler (US) – three generations of the Whitshank family, their stories, secrets and longings.

A Little Life , by Hanya Yanagihara (US) – epic saga of friendship, self-destructive behaviour and a lot of misery, the bookish version of an addictive TV series?


I have only read one title from the list, Anne Tyler’s book and with my predilection for literature that crosses cultures and enters other worlds, the titles that attract me most are Chigozie Obioma’s The Fishermen and Marlon James A Brief History of Seven Killings, although there are other titles on the long list such as Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account that sound interesting as well.

The Winner! 

The authors will be reading at the SouthBank Centre in London on 12 October and the winner will be announced on Tuesday 13 October.

Do you have a favourite to win? Have you read any of the shortlisted titles?

MB Prize

17 thoughts on “Man Booker Prize Short List 2015

  1. I just finished The Moor’s Account. I didn’t know it was on the short list. I found it a great read, intriguing – not sure whether I’d put it on my personal prize list (if I had one) but it was definitely a 5-star read.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m on my fourth of the shortlist. I love Anne Tyler’s novels but I’m really not sure why this one’s listed. It has brilliant moments but as a whole the structure didn’t work for me.

    Satin Island’s pretentious. Again there are great moments but ultimately it goes nowhere (which is part of the point but very difficult to pull off).

    The Fishermen I’m reading at the moment (2/3 in). I’ve warmed to it, it’s cleverly done but I’m admiring it rather than loving it.

    A Little Life, as you know I absolutely loved – I’m still thinking about it nearly three months later. Currently my favourite to win but I’ve saved The Year of the Runaways and A Brief History of Seven Killings for last as reports from other people suggest I’m going to love them both.

    Over all, though, I do think this is an exciting list for once.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Read Anne Tyler’s book and agree with Namoifrisby….not my choice for the shortlist.
    I’m missing B. Clegg’s book. Read ‘A Little Life’ and it took the wind out of my sails. Moments of abuse were at times hard to read (..skimmed some scenes) but I’m convinced this will win the prize. In a few weeks, we will know!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I read a second Anne Tyler after reading this one,and preferred the second novel, there’s no dount she’s a literary talent, but I guess I’m looking for more than that in a read, but always intersted to see what floats to the top of the Booker judges pile. 😉


  4. I would definitely call Satin Island, like the rest of McCarthy’s work, modernist, and not post-modern. He was robbed in 2010 when ‘C’ didn’t win, so he’s my fave so far.

    But I fully expect A Little Life to win. It’s just so conventionally Booker-esque. I liked it fine; it’s a perfectly good example of a type of unexperimental, hyper-realist literary styling that I’m not really interested in myself (you know, one of those books that adheres to 19th-Century notions of consistency etc, as if modernism never happened, and which is so en-vogue in lit fic right now). But I can see why people love it so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that clarification Tom, great to hear from you, I’d love to read your thoughts on both Satin Island and A Little Life, I like how you are able to identify them within literary definition, giving voice to the underlying influences, which may go some way towards explaining why they attract or repel readers.

      Both books you mention seem to be attracting the either love it or hate it phenomena in reviews I’ve read (a non-literary assessment), which is fascinating in itself. A Little Life certainly wins the most popular/talked about vote. Would you put Donna Tarrt’s The Goldfinch in that same category? It certainly spawned similar reactions and then went on to win the Pulitzer.


  5. I seem to have lost my usual interest in the Booker maybe it broke for me when they changed the rules. I still haven’t read last year’s winner although I have had on my kindle for almost a year. Of the six titles only three interest me at all (though not enough to rush immediately and buy them) A Spool of Blue Thread, The Fishermen and A Brief History of Seven Killings. I will watch the result with interest as my book group will be reading it in November. Although there are a couple there I might just resolutely refuse to read.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I enjoy watching and reading the reviews and commentary, but similarly nothing has made me want to rush out and get any of the titles in advance of the prize announcement. I have so many books to read, and haven’t bought anything for ages, but did splash out this weekend, as you know on Edmund De Waal’s The White Road, because he is a fascinating character with a wonderful obsession and I like following his research lead obsessions that put him in account with interesting people around the world. It will be interesting to see if it gets nominated for any awards in due course.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading A Brief History (awesome!). Read Sleeping on Jupiter and thought it was ok. Was a little disappointed because I expected more. Hoping to read The Fishermen, The Year of the Runaways(looking forward to this one), and A spool of Blue Thread. Evidently I won’t finish them all before the 12th but it doesn’t matter at this point. That’s what I want to read from the list. As for A Little Life I tried to read the first 200 pages and I wasn’t overwhelmed. Maybe will try to pick it up around Christmas time when I have more free time to read. I have to say this is one of the most interesting Man Booker shortlists I’ve seen in a while.


        • I really have no idea who will win, but I’d like to hear that it went to A Brief History or The Fishermen, just to change the landscape and get us all reading elsewhere. As soon as I started seeing A Little Life being tweeted and reviewed, it went into the “hyped” category for me, which is always a turn off. And despite the fact that it has touched many, I’m not really attracted to it at all. Not even for my next summer chunkster 😉

          I think this DeWaal may be a bit slow going compared to his last, but I prefer a slow pilgrimage through China in search of white earth than an all revealing descent into the hell of humanity, for now anyway.


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