Saturday, September 13, 2014
2014 Man Booker Prize shortlist
The Man Booker Prize recognizes the best in fiction writing by a citizen of the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland or the Commonwealth countries and its purpose is "to encourage the widest possible readership for the best in literary fiction".
To Rise Again at a Decent Hour by Joshua Ferris
"Paul O'Rourke is a man made of contradictions: he loves the world, but doesn't know how to live in it. He's a Luddite addicted to his iPhone, a dentist with a nicotine habit, a rabid Red Sox fan devastated by their victories, and an atheist not quite willing to let go of God. Then someone begins to impersonate Paul online, and he watches in horror as a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account are created in his name. What begins as an outrageous violation of his privacy soon becomes something more soul-frightening: the possibility that the online "Paul" might be a better version of the real thing." Publisher
We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler
"Meet the Cooke family: Mother and Dad, brother Lowell, sister Fern, and our narrator, Rosemary, who begins her story in the middle. She has her reasons. “I spent the first eighteen years of my life defined by this one fact: that I was raised with a chimpanzee,” she tells us. “It’s never going to be the first thing I share with someone. I tell you Fern was a chimp and already you aren’t thinking of her as my sister. But until Fern’s expulsion, I’d scarcely known a moment alone. She was my twin, my funhouse mirror, my whirlwind other half, and I loved her as a sister.” Rosemary was not yet six when Fern was removed. Over the years, she’s managed to block a lot of memories. ... Stripping off the protective masks that have hidden truths too painful to acknowledge, in the end, “Rosemary” truly is for remembrance."
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
"August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. His life is a daily struggle to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from pitiless beatings. Until he receives a letter that will change him forever. Moving deftly from the POW camp to contemporary Australia, from the experiences of Dorrigo and his comrades to those of the Japanese guards, this savagely beautiful novel tells a story of love, death, and family, exploring the many forms of good and evil, war and truth, guilt and transcendence, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost." Publisher
J by Howard Jacobson
"Kevern doesn’t know why his father made him put two finger across his lips whenever he began a word with a J. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, the time or place for asking questions. Ailinn, too, has grown up in the dark about who she is and where she comes from. The past is a dangerous country, not to be visited or talked about. She is new to the village; Kevern has lived here, in half-hiding, all his life. They feel a surge of protectiveness for each other the moment they meet. On their first date, Kevern kisses the bruises under her eyes. He doesn’t ask who did it. Brutality has grown commonplace. They aren’t sure whether they have fallen in love of their own accord or whether they’ve been pushed into each other’s arms. But who would have pushed them, and why? " Publisher
The Lives of Others by Neel Mukherjee
"Calcutta, 1967. Unnoticed by his family, Supratik has become dangerously involved in extremist political activism. Compelled by an idealistic desire to change his life and the world around him, all he leaves behind before disappearing is this note. The ageing patriarch and matriarch of his family, the Ghoshes, preside over their large household, unaware that beneath the barely ruffled surface of their lives the sands are shifting. More than poisonous rivalries among sisters-in-law, destructive secrets, and the implosion of the family business, this is a family unravelling as the society around it fractures. For this is a moment of turbulence, of inevitable and unstoppable change: the chasm between the generations, and between those who have and those who have not, has never been wider." Publisher
How to be Both by Ali Smith
"How to be both is a novel all about the versatility of art. Borrowing from painting’s fresco technique to make an original literary double-take, it’s a fast-moving, genre-bending conversation among forms, times, truths, and fictions. There’s a Renaissance artist of the 1460s. There’s the child of a child of the 1960s. Two tales of love and injustice twist into a singular yarn where time gets timeless, structure gets playful, knowing gets mysterious, fictional gets real—and all life’s “givens” get a second chance. " Publisher